Monday, December 12, 2016

When's it going to be?

So when is the 2017 sale going to be.  No idea.  However we might get a clue from Dubai art week which is in mid march (13-18th).  Of course last year the London sale didn't coincide with Dubai but the previous year it did.  So... who knows.

I check the RCA website every so often and will keep doing so.  When I hear something you will be the first to know.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A few thoughts about the new sale process

Now the dust has settled I thought I might set out a few thoughts on the new sale process.

Firstly what worked.  I think having the sale open for longer was a definite winner.  I wasn't convinced about it all at the start but the fact is that more people got to come and see and buy.  I think I was won over when I popped in on the last day of the sale and talked to a mother and daughter who had just bought a card for the daughters bedroom and were so delighted with their purchase.

The one day bun fight just seems so far removed from this.

I think the college were brave to try some different things but some of them didn't work.  The main sale day was far too early.  I think that's the reason the queue was the shortest it's ever been.  There wasn't enough time for people to come to view.  No late night opening before the sale started, only 2 days within which to come.  The fact that the sale was on Sunday morning, with all the transport issues on a Sunday was a really bad idea as well.

To balance the good and the bad I would suggest next year the college open the exhibition earlier, say Monday or Tuesday, have the exhibition and raffle sales on all that week.  Start the sale on the Saturday morning and then keep the sale going for the next 4 or 5 days.

I'm also not convinced that collection day worked.  It felt very flat for me not getting the cards you bought there and then.  There was also no press because there was no opportunity to show pictures of people holding their cards.  Plus it must have been a lot of extra work for the college.

So what about the fewer cards?  I'm not sure why the college decided to send out fewer cards to each artist.  The gallery could easily have housed another 600 to 700 cards as it has in the past.  More cards means more choice and more funds raised.  

So a mixed bag really but I think some of the criticism directed at the college is a little unfair.  They tried something different and it didn't all work but fair play for trying it.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What do you think of the show so far?

Well it looks like only around 300 cards are left from the sale which I think could be said to be a success for the college.  That and the money raised from the raffle must mean that the show has brought in around £90,000.  Not bad at all and hopefully lots of money for future bursaries.  I did feel that the changes didn't all work and will probably post a bit about this when I do my own round up, but once the cards were online and doors opened RCA secret totally worked it's magic on me again.

Still just under 2 days left to go and buy one of the cards remaining which the college have said includes very well known musicians (Damon Albarn maybe?) and other fine artists. 

See you on collection day!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Interview with James R Ford

We caught up with one of the blogs favourite rca secret artists James R Ford for a second interview (the first one was way back in 2011).

You almost missed out on donating cards this year, you must be pleased that is now sorted?

Definitely! I look forward to the cards each year. It’s my chance to give something back and test out ideas in (now) foreign waters. I normally use the cards as a way to experiment with new work.

What's your view on how RCA secret has changed over the years - the sponsorship, the new venue in Dubai etc.

It’s definitely grown and developed, but the core principles remain. I’m unsure of the new delay in collection of the cards - flipping it over and seeing the artist’s name and signature after hours of waiting was part of the experience.

We assume that now you're based in New Zealand you don't have much chance to see the show in the flesh. Will you be logging on in April to look at the cards online?

That’s very true - I haven’t seen it in the flesh in over 7 years! I always have a look at the cards online and try to guess the famous artists. It’s a form of window shopping.

What card or cards that you've done in previous years are you most pleased with?

I’m struggling to remember them all. I liked the ones I did last year - they were simple drawings using pen and colour pencil and were very punny.

How old was Elvis Presley when he died ;) ?
Haha 42! Those cards of mine were from 2 or 3 years ago. An example of an idea for a series of works that has yet to manifest...

Any clues as to this year's donations?

The biggest clue I can give you is that my donations this year could potentially be a multitude of things.

What projects are in the pipeline for you?  Might we see a show in the UK anytime soon?
I showed in a couple of group exhibitions in London last year at/curated by FourFold and Ferreira Projects. I have a solo show coming up in early May in Wellington at The Young gallery. It will feature a suite of new drawings, a ghost full of holes and a text installation.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Interview with Sarah Kudirka

In advance of the show opening tomorrow we caught up with artist Sarah Kudirka who has a busy week.  You can see Sarah's work in the show but also you can go and see (and buy) her work at the other art fair.

Tell us about your work and influences.  We guess that your current work, given that it starts small scale, is perfect for RCA secret?

I am a painter whose work is about objects, buildings and words. The shapes and edges of ordinary stuff marked by traces of experience, have long held a fascination for me and that's what I make work about. I love cities and architecture and since the city where I live and work. They are about looking up at the sky through the gaps between urban buildings. A simple idea but a compelling project. Having now made over 400 individual images in the series (they look amazing en masse) my intention is to extend the project to other cities.

You've been donating to RCA Secret for some years now. What is it that you like about the show ?

I have contributed cards to the RCA Secret show every year since 2004 [back then I was Sarah Davenport, I was Kudirka Davenport for a while, and now I am called Sarah Kudirka (my husband's family came from Lithuania to east London in the 20s)]. I like the way it is a group show including lots of big name artists, but is kind of sweet and understated. I mean it is put on in an egalitarian way, with each work perching modestly on the neat, long, shallow shelves.

What do you think about the hard-core fans who queue overnight or even for days to buy work at the show ?

I think the hard-core fans who queue for days and camp out to get cards on their wishlist at RCA Secret are great. A little crazy too perhaps, but I admire their dedication. I loved meeting a few recently at The Other Art Fair - such long-standing enthusiasm for the show is wonderful!


Do you like looking round the postcards yourself?  What work appeals to you?

Sorry no, I haven't actually made it along to see the show for a couple of years.

Have you ever bought something or queued ?

I have never queued or bought any myself, but the other day I found a list of the ones (just the numbers) my husband and I liked when we last went to see the show, it read like a secret code.

Do you have a favourite card that you have donated to a previous sale?

I think my favourites are those where the buyer of my card has got in touch with me afterwards, as new collectors of my work. That's probably the best bit for me as an artist. I usually put in something that relates closely to what is in my head and my studio right then. I usually forget to photograph them before I pop them in the post, so I often have no record of what I've sent in (stupidly). So if you get mine this year, do email me a shot of it on your wall please.

Have you got any projects on the go at the moment?  What can we look forward to?

I am painting now, in parallel with my London series, over Polaroids I took in Berlin and I may show there later this year. I would love to be commissioned to work in/on other cities too. I have been asked to make a series in Beirut so that may happen further down the line. I have travelled to some amazing places in the Far East, Australia and the US that I'd love to revisit with my Polaroid, and part of my childhood was spent in Nairobi: there are lots of places on my list for making work!


Monday, April 04, 2016

First 50 raffle after all!

After all the speculation the college confirmed in an email to its mailing list on Friday that the first 50 raffle will happen this year.  Further details have also now been published on the rca secret Facebook page

"And so the First Fifty Raffle returns!!
Come on down on Friday 8 or Saturday 9 and try your luck on the first fifty raffle to be in for a chance of winning a place in Sunday's first fifty sale day queue!
Tickets are priced at £2 each and all proceeds go to providing scholarships and bursaries for future RCA students. Sales are limited to a maximum of 10 tickets per person and payment must be made in cash.
Winners will be notified by 8pm on Saturday 9th and will be required to arrive at 7am for the sale on Sunday 10th April!
Good luck! 🌟🌟🌟🏃🏃🏃"

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Emma paolozzi and theo fennell also contributors

This piece in Luxury London has a slightly different contributor list to others.  Not long to go now!

Mention in the Nigerian guardian here about Yinka Shonibare's involvement

Thursday, March 31, 2016

RIP Zaha Hadid

Very sorry to hear about the sad death of award winning architect, designed of the Olympic aquatic stadium and regular RCA secret contributor Zaha Hadid.  Apparently she died of a heart attack today.  RIP Zaha. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Grayson Perry and John Baldessari named as contibutors

An email from the college to their RCA secret mailing list has confirmed the news we were all hoping for - that Grayson Perry has again contributed to RCA secret.  After a break last year it is such wonderful news to have Grayson Perry back, not least because of the care and love he puts into every card he makes for the show.   I know Grayson gets asks to do loads of charity gigs and he does contribute art to lots of different causes but his support of RCA secret has been immense over the years.

I count myself very lucky to have a couple of cards by Grayson in my collection.  Fingers crossed for this year too.

John Baldessari has also donated works to the exhibition on a number of occasions before and his presence is again extremely welcome.  When you add in the previously announced Sir Peter Blake, Paula Rego, Yinka Shonibare and Jeremy Deller it's certainly looking like a very exciting year.

If there is to be no raffle this year you have to wander what the queue is going to be like come sale day with such big names present.  The lack of raffle will certainly add a new dimension come queue time.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Contributor news and some images

These two articles feature contributor news and some images of cards from this years sale.

Some great new contributors to get interested in - Damon Albarn, Steve McQueen, Thomas Heatherwick and William Orbit plus some now familiar favourites.

Watch this space for more contributor news and also we've got some artist interviews coming up shortly as well....

It's nice that

The Royal College of Art has revealed further details of the RCA Secret 2016 show, including the participating artist and designers contributing anonymous postcard-sized artworks for this year’s event. Almost 2,000 works have been created for the show, now in its 22nd year. Names from the star-studded line-up include Peter Blake, Margaret Calvert, Jeremy Deller, Lawrence Weiner, Steve McQueen, Thomas Heatherwick and musicians Damon Albarn, William Orbit and Pete Fowler. Each of the postcards will be sold for a fixed price of £55, with the maker’s identity only revealed once their work has been bought, and all profits support emerging artists and designers through the RCA Fund.
RCA Secret 2016 exhibition in on 8 – 15 April at the Royal College of Art in London.

Design week

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is set to hold its annual secret postcard exhibition, and has revealed that Margaret Calvert and Peter Blake will be contributing.
Stewarts Law RCA Secret 2016, now in its 22nd year, will be taking place in April and will feature roughly 2,000 postcard-sized designs that will be exhibited and sold anonymously.

Spanning all professions

Makers of the postcards will span professions including designers, cartoonists, illustrators, ceramicists, sculptors, artists, and musicians, as well as alumni and current students at the RCA.
Designers will include Peter Blake, Margaret Calvert, Steve McQueen, Alison Wilding, Yinka Shonibare, Joseph Kosuth, Thomas Heatherwick, James Dyson, David Bailey, Zandra Rhodes and Pete Fowler.
Musicians Damon Albarn and William Orbit will also be taking part, alongside up-and-coming designers.

Buyers encouraged to “crack secret”

All postcards will be exhibited together and sold at a fixed price of £55 per artwork. Buyers will only find out the identity of the designer once they’ve bought a postcard, with the RCA encouraging art collectors to “take the challenge to crack the secret”.
Alongside these, there will also be a series of 23 limited edition Shakespeare-based prints, as part of Shakespeare Lives: a yearlong selection of events organised by the British Council to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
These will be available at a steeper £350 each, and the RCA will also donate a set of these prints to the British Council Collection.

Funds raised go to training young designers

All profits from the exhibition and sale will go to the RCA Fund, which aims to support emerging artists and designers through scholarships to the college.
Running alongside London’s RCA Secret 2016, will also be an exhibition and sale in Dubai, now in its second year. Postcard artworks will be available to buy for 500 AED.

Stewarts Law RCA Secret 2016 will take place at London’s Royal College of Art, Kensington, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU from 8-15 April.  
RCA Secret with Art Dubai will take place at Alserkal Avenue, Dubai on 14 March and at Art Dubai on 17 March.
Some of this year’s anonymous postcards – can you guess the designer?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Paula Rego a contributor

Paula Rego has announced on her Facebook page that she is again a contributor to RCA secret.  Absolutely fantastic news!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Damon Albarn a contributor

The college have strongly hinted on Twitter that Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur, is a contributor to the sale this year.  Albarn joins a long list of musicians who have contributed to the sale in the past including David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Jarvis Cocker, John Squire, Paul Simonon, George Melly and Brian Eno amongst many others.  Exciting stuff!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Who is Candra Cassini?

For many years, since about 2003 I reckon, there has been an artist given the name Candra Cassini who has donated up to 6 paintings each year to RCA Secret.

In modern life to be a successful artist, in common with most other professions, you need to promote yourself or have others (gallerists or publicists) promote you on your behalf.   Virtually every artist will have their own website or at the very least a page on Saatchi arts.   Most will have a facebook page, an Instagram feed, a twitter profile.  Those signed with a gallery will also have the benefit of that galleries promotional activity. 
Yet Candra Cassini has none of this.  We know nothing about her.  Her cards have attracted a lot of attention over the years.  Buyers have been attracted to her meticulous, almost photorealistic little paintings.  Others have commented favourably and less favourably about her contributions in the press (see for example the comments by Grayson Perry in this article - Cassini's painting was the one of the queen below).    

But if you google Candra Cassini all you get is RCA Secret references, many to this blog, and one old auction result of a painting that was sold by Chiswick Auctions in 2014 of Chelsea pensioners.  It seems that the auctioneers of this painting didn’t know who Candra Cassini was either describing her as “21st Century British School.”  Given the subject matters of all of these paintings is she really likely to be Italian?

In 2004 I emailed the college to ask them about who Cassini was and got back this response:

"Candra was privately tutored in the style of the old masters by an unnamed tutor, whose works are mounted in the Louvre, Paris.  As far as I know she had not taken part in any other group shows or solo shows...

Her small statement read:

Some of my paintings have featured on Satellite television, my paintings have been published in magazines.  His Holiness Pope John Paul II has one of my paintings in the Vatican.  Presently, I'm completing a Biblical oil painting by Christmas for a church in Rome"
But of course in those days the internet was in its infancy.  Only a few artists had websites.  It is more extraordinary now that we know so little about her.

My best guess, and this is guess – Candra Cassini is an alias or a nom de plume if you like for someone else.  Possibly a member of staff at the college who for many years has been anonymously donating these cards to RCA secret and seeing what feedback he or she gets. 
What do you think?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fewer cards this year?

The college is sending out three cards to most contributing artists this year - 2 for London and 1 for Dubai.  Generally most artists have been sent 3 cards for London in the last few years.  Apparently according to the college on Facebook space is tighter in the Kensington gallery. So maybe we won't see as many cards for sale this year....

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tactics shmactics

Well the colleges announcement about the changes to RCA secret has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons hasn't it.

Like all these things there are I think good points and bad points.  Let's start with my view about the good points

1) the sale is back in Kensington.  I think this is just because of the many years of shared memories about Kensington and the years of camping but for me Kensington will always be RCA secret's home.  I do really like the site in battersea and it's actually much more convenient for me but the lack of a tube station near it may well have affected attendance in the last 3 years.

2) the later sale date means it should be a bit warmer.  Here's hoping

3) the sale lasts longer than a day.  I've been saying for some time that the college should make the sale last for more than 1 day to maximise sales.  This makes total sense.

Now the negatives:

1) no raffle - this will I think inevitably mean much longer queues for the start of the sale depending on what happens with drip feeding in cards later in the week.

2) the drip feeding of cards - instinctively this feels unfair especially when combined with a set limit of 4 cards per person (see below).  It will be very hard on people who don't live in London and are travelling in.  When do they come?  And for all of us - do you queue from the start or do you take a risk and buy later into the week knowing that your favourite cards might be gone?  An element of chance has been introduced that simply doesn't feel like cricket.

3) the limit of four cards per person.  By all means limit the first sale on Sunday to four cards per person but once that is done, especially with the drip feeding of cards, why not let buyers buy another four cards later on in the week?  I really can't see any downside to this and it would increase the colleges revenue as well.

4) collection later.  I want to buy my cards, turn them over and find out who did them.  I don't want someone else telling me who they are by.  I like the big reveal, it's a major, major part of the excitement for me.  I like seeing all my friends immediately after the sale and showing them what I bought and seeing what they got.  I like holding my card and looking at them, working out how the artist made them.  I want to do that after the sale not in a weeks time when I have to make a special trip just to collect.  And I certainly don't want to have to trust my hard won masterpieces to the vagaries of Royal Mail.

What's everyone else's thoughts? 

Friday, January 15, 2016

RCA secret press release

Here is the RCA secret 2016 press, published yesterday and taken from the college's website:

Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU
Exhibition: 8–15 April 2016 (Friday 8 – Saturday 9 April exhibition only; sale begins Sunday 10 April. Collection day will be Saturday 16 April).  Please see notes to editors for timings.
Press view: 7 April 2016 

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is pleased to announce details of the eagerly awaited annual RCA Secret exhibition and sale, sponsored by Stewarts Law.
From 8 April 2016, RCA Secret will open at the Royal College of Art’s Kensington campus. The exhibition will feature over 2,000 postcard-sized drawings, collages, photographs and sculptures by some of the world’s most celebrated artists and designers, as well as by promising students from the College.
RCA Secret attracts high-profile art collectors and passionate art lovers. Each of the postcards on display is sold anonymously for £55, with the identity of the maker revealed only when the purchase is complete. All profits from the sale go towards the RCA Student Award Fund, which helps emerging artists at a formative stage in their careers by funding scholarships to the College.
The postcard-sized contributions to RCA Secret are donated by invited students as well as leading international artists and designers. Every contribution is an original artwork, produced with the same rigour as any other work in the makers’ repertoire. Last year, participating artists included: David Bailey, Margaret Calvert, Jeremy Deller, Sir James Dyson, Zaha Hadid, Maggi Hambling, Susan Hiller, Lubaina Himid, Eley Kishimoto, Mike Leigh, Richard Long, Chris Orr, Cathie Pilkington, Laure Prouvost, Paula Rego, Zandra Rhodes, Jim Shaw, Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith, Gavin Turk, Lawrence Weiner, Alison Wilding and Rose Wylie.
In response to a new curatorial vision that builds on the increasing popularity of RCA Secret over the past two decades, this year, new postcards will be added during the exhibition itself. Buyers will be able to buy their chosen postcards from Sunday 10 April.
This new approach provides more opportunities to buyers; visitors will be able to marvel at the diverse array of images as all the postcards remain on display until the end of the exhibition. Buyers will also be able to collect their postcards in person on the collection day, or arrange for them to be posted once the exhibition has closed.
RCA Secret started in 1994 and is London’s original postcard exhibition and sale. For the second year, RCA Secret with Art Dubai will exhibit from 16 to 19 March 2016. As in London bespoke, postcard sized artworks from the world’s leading creatives as well as RCA alumni, students and local artists and designers will be available to buy for 500 AED each.
Dr Paul Thompson, Rector RCA, said, ‘The annual RCA Secret exhibition provides a rare art-world moment, when a small part of the global contemporary art market is made accessible to everyone. It is thanks to the artists and designers who donate their work to this much-needed cause that we are able to stage this wonderful exhibition. In doing so, they and the buyers provide opportunities to the emerging artists and designers of the future, who – as students – are often stretched to their limits financially.’
For further information or images please contact Bethany Bull, RCA Press Office on t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e:, or
Notes to Editors
RCA Secret Dubai website:
Exhibition location: Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU                                                        

Thursday 7 April: Press View only
Friday 8 – Saturday 9 April: Public exhibition open (no sales) 11.00 – 18.00
Sunday 10th April - Sale open 8.00 – 18.00
Monday 11th - Friday 15th April: Sale open 11.00 – 18.00 (late openings on Wednesday and Friday when more cards are added. Close at 20.00)
Friday 15 April - Exhibition closes at 20.00
Saturday 16th April - Collection day for all buyers to collect their postcards only 9.00 – 17.00
(NB buyers who make a purchase on the Friday only will also be able to take their postcards away with them there and then to save them having to return again on the Saturday to collect)
Buses: 9, 10, 52, 70, 360, 452

Thursday 7 April: Press View only
Free admission                                                                                                         
Nearest Tube: South Kensington / Gloucester Road
To purchase a postcard, buyers must register for a buyer’s ID from the RCA website
Buyers will be able to purchase up to 4 cards each.
The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at Number One in the 2015 QS World University Rankings. Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the disciplines of applied art, fine art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 1,500 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 1,000 professionals interacting with them – including scholars, art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisers and distinguished visitors.
Stewarts Law Stewarts Law LLP is the proud to sponsor the RCA Secret Exhibition in their 25th Anniversary Year practicing law. Stewarts Law is one of the UK’s leading litigation law firms.  They have built a strong reputation for innovative and ground breaking dispute practice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

David Bowie and RCA Secret

How strange that the last post in this blog should reference a David Bowie song so shortly before his sad death.

An awful lot has been written about David Bowie this week but most has understandably focused on the huge contribution he has made to music since the release of Starman in 1972.  But Bowie’s contribution to culture in the UK goes way beyond music.   His commitment to visual arts, in particular digital art, was huge. 
New devotees of RCA secret may also not appreciate that Bowie made a huge contribution to the early years of the sale.  Not only was he a regular contributor to the sale (in the year 2000 the Evening Standard ran a competition where readers could win one of his postcards) but his website was also the sponsor of the sale in the period between 2000 and 2003.  Bowie was an early adopter of the internet and it was through his website that the college first started publishing images of the cards online in 2002. 
How far the world has come since then.   RIP David.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Ch ch ch ch changes.....

It appears that RCA Secret is changing in 2016.  The RCA secret website has been updated so firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the sale in London will apparently take place in April.  We hear, although this is not confirmed yet, that the exhibition will be between 7 and 15 April with presumably the sale on the following day?   The sale in Dubai is still in March (16th to 19th to be precise) so this opens up all sorts of possibilities for collectors.  Will anyone be tempted to fly to Dubai to buy cards there, then return to London for a second set?  It wouldn’t surprise me if some committed collectors do just that.  No mention of the potential Hong Kong sale.   
Secondly there is a bald statement on the website that RCA secret is “changing” with “more chances for collectors to snap up the cards they love”.  What do we think this might mean?  One change which appears to be taking place is that it appears that RCA secret is back in the Gulbenkian Galleries in Kensington, rather than it’s recent home in Battersea.  But that isn’t a change that gives collectors more chances to snap up the cards they want….
Well this blog wouldn’t be this blog without indulging in some mindless speculation.  I can assure you that none of this comes with any inside knowledge at all.  Here are some possibilities we have thought of:
1)      The sale is extended.  I’ve been saying for some time that given the number of cards in the sale and the fact that the number of purchasers has reduced over the last couple of years it would sensible for the college to increase the number of days that the cards are on sale, perhaps combining this with (2) below.  This would give those who can’t attend on the sale day (or  either can’t or don’t have the inclination to queue) to pitch up on day 2 and buy without all the hassle.
2)      After, say, 12noon on sale day, collectors are allowed to purchase any more cards they want – I totally agree that the limit of four cards gives everyone the chance of buying what they like but once the queues have died down it makes sense to relax those limits and allow collectors to buy more cards if they want.  Everyone is a winner from this and I can’t see any downside.
3)      Sales of cards is split.  Day 1 of the sale is for cards numbered 1 to 1500 and day 2 for cards number 1501 to 3000.   Can’t see this working in practice and it would be a nightmare managing 2 queues.
4)      After the sale is finished unsold cards are sold online on a first come first served basis – again there would seem to be no downside to this provided the college can set up a suitable online purchasing solution and have the resources to manage sending the cards out to purchasers.  Collectors who are overseas get the chance to buy cards they wouldn’t ordinarily get and the college sells more of the artwork.  They could even put on sale unsold cards from previous years.
5)      Unsold cards from Dubai get imported into the London sale – this would seem to make sense give the difference in dates between the two.  Again very little downside.
6)      Some cards sold by auction method rather than flat price– I for one would be totally against such a proposition.  Whilst it may prove a money spinner for the college it flies in the face of everything the sale stands for.  Contributing artists I suspect wouldn’t like this either. 
7)      Places in the raffle are auctioned off – again I would be against this for all the reasons in (6) above.
8)      Raffle tickets are sold online – this is probably inevitable at some point however it would be essential to ensure that (9) below is followed as much as possible.
9)      The raffle is better policed – there have been numerous stories about people buying multiple sets of raffle tickets under one buyer number or even turning up and holding themselves out as a raffle winner when they are not the name of the registered buyer.  To stop this the college should ensure that only one set of raffle tickets can be bought against one buyer number – this shouldn’t be too hard to do in this computerised age.  In order to buy those tickets you should have to produce photographic ID that matches your buyer name.  They should also insist that raffle winners turn up with photographic ID.  If their ID doesn’t match the name of the registered buyer then they should be refused admission.  No exceptions. 
10)   Other changes to the raffle – bigger number of raffle winners, more chances to buy tickets, places offered to sponsors, on social media etc.  Apart from (9) above I think the raffle works well and should be kept.
So there you go a few thoughts that occurred.  Maybe you will have others or thoughts on the suggestions above?