Turncoats

Scotland

Architectural debates are rubbish.
We've all been there: a panel of similar designers with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of debates will rugby tackle fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to foment open and critical discussion, turning conventional consensus on its head.

Test Unit Presents

Pop Up? Piss Off!

6.30pm, Friday 23 June, Glasgow

Pop-up food, booze, fashion and architecture. Whats next?

As our collective attention span is diminishing to the point of no return how much more can we take? Advocates suggest temporary & pop-up architecture is an agile way of testing ideas in an urban context, but really it just an exploitative phenomenon that saps creativity and creates quick wins for those with capital interests in contested sites To round off our day of collective back-slapping on the advantages of ‘prototyping ideas’ we face up up to the truth behind this ubiquitous and ridiculous trend in urban development.

The Panel


  • Jonathan Charley, Director of Cultural Studies - University of Strathclyde. Jonathan studied architecture in Portsmouth, London and Moscow, and subsequently worked in community architecture for seven years. He has lived in Glasgow for nearly thirty years, is currently Director of Cultural Studies at the University of Strathclyde and is currently working on two new books: The Monologues of City X, (2018), takes the reader on a journey into the heart of the capitalist city through four fictional narratives, capital, machine, nature and utopia. The second is the Routledge Companion for Architecture, Literature and The City, (2017)

  • Penny Lewis, Lecturer - University of Dundee. Penny teaches at the Architecture and Urban Planning department of the University of Dundee and on a joint UoD and Wuhan University course in China. She has been teaching for the past 10 years. Prior to that she was the editor of Prospect the Scottish architectural journal and she continues to write for the architectural press. She is a founding member of the AE Foundation (aefoundation.co.uk).

  • Diarmaid Lawlor, Director of Place - Architecture & Design Scotland - A&DS. Diarmaid is an urbanist, with a multi disciplinary background. He has almost 20 years’ experience of helping clients make well informed decisions about complex, connected urban policy and investment challenges. His experience has been gained from project, programme and policy working with clients in Ireland, the UK and Europe, for the public, private and tertiary sectors. Diarmaid is an educator, communicator and collaborator who writes and speaks on creative approaches to making better places.

  • Phineas Harper, is a critic and designer based in London. He is Deputy Director of think tank, the Architecture Foundation, a columnist for Dezeen and former Deputy Editor of the Architectural Review. He is also the author of A People's History of Woodcraft Folk and writes widely on the intersection of architecture and politics.

  • Chaired by Ambrose Gillick - BAXENDALE. Ambrose is a researcher and lecturer at the GSA. Ambrose recently facilitated the Back to the City conference - examining the move back towards the re-densification of post-industrial & post slum urban landscapes within the inner cities
  • 6.30pm
  • Friday 23 June
  • Tickets are free. Booking essential.
  • Civic House
  • 26 Civic Street
  • Glasgow G4 9SS
  • Scotland

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ArchiFringe and Creative Dundee present

The Glamour Chase

7.00pm, Thursday 29 September

Is Dundee losing itself in the chase for glamour? What is the cultural future of Dundee beyond razzamatazz. As the new waterfront emerges into the sunshine are the city's industrial hinterlands being left behind to decay and demolition? What areas of the city and what specific buildings within them are crucial for Dundee's future? What strategic infrastructure does the city need to nurture, both culturally and spatially, to position itself locally, nationally and internationally? Blending humour with critical thought, join us to share your views as we move towards the halfway-point of Dundee's biggest urban transformation yet.

  • 7.00pm
  • Thursday 29 September
  • Tickets are free. Booking essential.
  • Dundee Contemporary Arts
  • 152 Nethergate
  • Dundee DD1
  • Scotland

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Sorry about tomorrow

7.00pm, Thursday 21 July

The built environment is increasingly irrelevant. Modern society is built around digital space and online networks. Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is ‘liked’ more often on Instagram than in damp, chilly reality. Nightclubs are no longer required, when friendship and flirtation is available at a swipe with Tinder, Grindr and Snapchat.

Two Edinburghs now exist in parallel, and the relationship between the physical and virtual versions grows ever-more distant. Good! It's time for us all to step away from the crumbling street and inhabit an instantaneous, clean, energy-rich and aesthetically pleasing augmented reality, all together, online. *Like!*

The Panel


  • Leah Lockhart, Director of Relate Lab and former Digital Engagement Manager for the Scottish Government

  • Chris Speed, Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh

  • Nicholas Hotham, Head of Outreach & Advocacy at Edinburgh World Heritage Trust
  • Andy Summers (Chair) co-creator of the Archifringe festival
  • 7.00pm
  • Thursday 7 July
  • Tickets are free. Booking essential.
  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • Lauriston Place
  • Edinburgh EH3 9DF
  • Scotland

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Rip it up and start again

7.00pm, Thursday 7 July

Local authorities across Scotland wield wrecking ball and dynamite prefering social cleansing to mindful mending of our working class and marginal neighbourhoods. The destruction of these communities, left to rot and degrade by successive generations of politicians, is luridly feted as a calculated process of gentrification-by-force dilutes people and place. Architects have become complicit in a one-size-fits-all strategy intrinsically weighted towards return-on-investment rather than acting as facilitators for a thoughtful process of social, cultural and economic self-generated development of community.

The Panel


  • Rebecca Davies is a participatory artist deeply integrated with the community of Elephant & Castle who are facing redevelopment of their area. Homepage

  • Paul Stallan is a founder of Stallan Brand Architects are currently working on the student development in Speirs Locks, as well as the recent masterplan for Laurieston. Paul was also a contributor for the recent Land Art Generator Initiative competition.
  • Gerry Hassan is a writer, academic and research fellow in cultural policy and producer of Imagination: Scotland’s Festival of Ideas. Homepage
  • 7.00pm
  • Thursday 7 July
  • Tickets are free. Booking essential.
  • The Glue Factory
  • 22 Farnell Street
  • Glasgow, G4 9SE
  • Scotland

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WTF!?

Turncoats Scotland is part of the Architecture Fringe festival

Any group of people with a thirst for intellectual mischief can join the Society of Turncoats and form a chapter in their city. Membership is of the society is free. Once a member your chapter can use and improve the format to host official Turncoats events. It began with Architecture, but can be transposed to other disciplines in need of an alternative format to niggle into the depths of difficult issues.

Membership entitles chapters to

  • Turncoats enamel badges plus the design files to produce more
  • Access to the source code of the Turncoats website to use for your events
  • A big bundle of images, logos, fonts and templates to help launch events
  • Access to the Turncoats network
  • A printed guide to running a Turncoats event plus digital copy
  • Support from chapters around the word

Email hello@turncoats.world about setting up a chapter