Bored of Biennales

7:00pm, Thursday 26th March 20

More than 200 architecture festivals swamp the global design world with a slew of under funded navel gazing ego-centric love-ins. Often impenetrable, frequently more concerned with press than participants and always pretentious.

Meanwhile a cacophony of galleries compete for attention and funding, obsessing over the quantity rather than quality of their audiences. The curatorial models of the art world are dragging architecture in a discursive cul-de-sac ruled by hype and high brow intellectualisation, separating it from prosaic realities of construction, engineering and ordinary people.

The era of the international architecture festival, the jet-setting celebrity curator and architecture’s love affair with the trappings of gallery culture must end. Let Venice sink!

The Panel

  • Brendan Cormier is senior design curator of the V&A.

  • Rob Dickens is a music executive. He Signings have include Prince, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Sex Pistols and the Madness. He is now chair of the RIBA Trust where he established The Architects' Underground.

  • Siobhain Forde is Senior Architect at Stallan-Brand in Glasgow. She has previously worked with Reiach and Hall and RMJM.

  • Lee Ivett is course leader in architecture at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. He is founder of Baxendale Studio and co-curated the Scottish Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

  • Hettie O'Brien is Assistant Opinion Editor at The Guardian.

Hoxton Docks Laburnum Street


Turncoats is a provocative global debating society turning public discourse on its head, shaking and serving over ice. It is off the record, offline and riddled with devil’s advocates hiding in plain sight.  Prepare for big arguments from surprising places, where the only allegiances are to the spirit of the fight.

Turncoats is a project founded by Phineas Harper and Maria Smith with the support of Robert Mull and the Architecture Foundation. For all enquiries write to

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