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The Independent Culture
Following the success of the first series of RIBA Architecture Centre public talks in collaboration with the Independent, a new programme begins in May. Entitled "The Pulse of a City", speakers will consider London's position as a leading cultural and leisure capital. Are the galleries, restaurants and shops that comprise so much of the life and soul of London a match for continental rivals? Do Londoners have more fun? And, if they do, how will they fare in the next century? Three decision-makers offer you their views:

2 May Making Space for Art - What does the Public Want?

Charles Saumarez Smith, director of the National Portrait Gallery, about to embark on a major development of the gallery, considers how museums and galleries are changing with the advent of Lottery funding and increased visitor expectations.

9 May Cafe Society

Sir Terence Conran, designer, restaurateur and entrepreneur, discusses with Jonathan Glancey the current explosion in the growth of new places to eat in London; has the capital finally become a part of continental Europe's "cafe society"? Is this the way forward?

6 June Streets Ahead - London, shopping capital of the world

Paul Smith, a very British retailer internationally renowned, considers London's position as a shopping metropolis. How does London differ from other capitals and how will it keep its lead?

Lectures start 6.30pm, Jarvis Hall, RIBA Architecture Centre, 66 Portland Place, London W1. Tickets pounds 5.50 (pounds 3 concession); call 0171-631 0460 Monday to Friday, 1pm to 5pm, or in person at RIBA Bookshop (address as above)