Turncoats: the Gender Agenda

Are feminist debates only being used for networking opportunities? The fifth in a series of debates rugby tackling six fundamental issues facing contemporary practice


06:30pm, Thursday, 11 February 2016


09:30pm, Thursday, 11 February 2016


U+I, 74 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1DZ 


Free, but booking is essential.



This is a past event

Turncoats is a project by Phineas Harper, Robert Mull and Maria Smith and supported by the Architecture Foundation.

This debate is one in a series created by Maria Smith, Phineas Harper and Robert Mull. Each is theatrically provocative presenting combative propositions challenging six aspects of architectural practice.

The Proposition

Women in architecture debates are conservative, traditionalist and infantilising. Widespread conflation of womanhood and parenthood coupled with the irresponsible propagation of flawed statistics has led to a cynical debate whose only use is as a vehicle to manufacture networking and commercial opportunities in the name of progress. It is time to call time on this crass crusade before a generation of young women are pushed into an anachronistic gender war that bears little relevance to their experience or values.

The Debators

Ella Whelan is a writer on politics and liberty. She is a regular contributor to Spiked and a freelance journalist for the Spectator.

Vere Van Gool is Editor at Ideas City at the New Museum in New York. In 2013 she co-founded MISS, a mobile centre devoted to making space for women in the arts.
Farshid Moussavi is an international architect and Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard. She has written extensively on ornament, form and style in her Function Books series and was co-founder of Foreign Office Architects.
Alison Brooks moved to the UK from her native Canada in 1989 to form a seven year partnership at Ron Arad Associates. In 1996 she founded Alison Brooks Architects Ltd which won many awards, including the Stirling Prize for Accordia Cambridge, the Manser Medal for Salt House and the Stephen Lawrence Prize for Wrap House.


Shumi Bose is a Founding Director of the REAL Foundation whose bi-monthly magazine, The Real Review, presents independent architectural editorial to a general readership. Shumi teaches at AA and Central Saint Martins, is contributing editor for Blueprint magazine and is to curate the British Pavilion at the 15th Venice architecture biennale.