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ZAG2 Conference

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Thenon-conformist Conference

There’s always another way.

2 February 2023 | 4pm - 7pm Union House, Edinburgh

You are too late - Register for ZAG 2024
Z letter illustration

ZAG2 Conference

zag logo

Generosity in a time of greed

Register your interest

8th February 2024 | 4pm - 7pm Union House, Edinburgh

ZAG is for those who don’t zig. This year’s theme is all about generosity. Is it on the wane? Are social media and unethical politics eroding our values? Have we lost our way a little after COVID-19 or has our faith in humanity never been stronger? ZAG is brought to you by The Union.

This is our second ZAG conference. The first one focused on non-conformity and why an idea, coming from an unexpected place, can change everything. You can also read about last year’s event.

Our speakers

Each of our four speakers has taken a selfless stance for the benefit of others. Over the course of the evening they will share their respective stories and help you decide whether we, as a society, have misplaced our moral compass.

Ewan Aitken

Ewan is CEO of Cyrenians, a charity tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. A former Convener of Education and Leader of Edinburgh City Council and CoSLA spokesperson on Education, Ewan has over 30 years’ experience in the Public and 3rd sectors. He founded the National Prison Visitor Centre Steering group, The Ripple, and two Credit Unions. Ewan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Chair of SHAPE, the Edinburgh collaborative of homelessness organisations, and a member of the Scottish Governments Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans Delivery Group.

Ewan Aitken

John Dower

John is a director of films, television and games with over 30 years' experience. His life changed in 2016, when he discovered his ancestors had received financial compensation for having 'owned' 1,004 enslaved people. Shocked by this revelation, he began planning and eventually convening a family apology. On 27th February 2023 he presented the letter signed by 104 family members to Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell at a Grenada Reparations Commission alongside his cousin Laura Trevelyan John is a founding member of www.heirsofslavery.org

John Dower

Kirsty McIntosh

Kirsty McIntosh is Head of Partnerships for the Scottish Tech Army, the organisation that supports charities with digital challenges using an extensive network of skilled tech volunteers. Kirsty leads its external engagement, developing the partnerships needed to catalyse scalable social impact. A key responsibility is developing its UK wide initiative, the Tech for Good Alliance, which provides a framework for skilled volunteering opportunities for tech and tech-related corporates. She is an Ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance, the UK wide movement to close the digital divide for all.

Kirsty McIntosh

Hannah Crawford

Hannah is a theatre producer and coach based in Hampstead, north London. Hannah loves people and problem-solving and has spent her life so far ignoring all the rules about most things. She graduated with a music degree from Kings College London in 2018 and then set up Thistle And Rose Arts to produce theatre which would amplify the stories of others, and became a business coach to help people at every age and stage be the main characters of their own stories. At the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, Hannah produced and fundraised for five plays and musicals, pioneering a revolutionary new Host An Artist scheme to accommodate theatre professionals with local residents during the festival.

Hannah Crawford

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What to expect

We hope that ZAG inspires and motivates you to think a little differently. The event will include refreshments and a panel Q&A with our speakers. We hope you can join us.


How can I get a ticket?

We will only be releasing 120 tickets so you’ll need to be quick. You can use our registration form below to secure your place at ZAG now.

Where is the event taking place?

It’s all happening at Union House, the HQ of The Union. It’s a neo-classicist church (impossible to miss) at 18 Inverleith Terrace, Edinburgh EH3 5NS, just opposite the Botanics.

What time should I arrive?

Please be at Union House for 4pm. The conference begins at 4.15pm, so we would like everyone to be seated before then.

Will there be refreshments?

Yes, we will be providing a modest selection of potable goodies. There will also be the opportunity to network from 7pm (on completion of the panel) which will also be accompanied by drinks.

Who will be there?

We will release a delegate list once all tickets have been claimed. We’re hoping to attract as wide and diverse an audience as possible.

Who are The Union?

We are an integrated marketing agency based in Edinburgh. This is the second ZAG conference we’ve hosted. Find out more about who we are and what we do.

Is ZAG a one-off conference?

No, we plan on hosting ZAG every year. The venue won’t change but the theme will always be topical, and sometimes, controversial.

Do you have a code of conduct?

We want everyone attending ZAG to be inspired and have fun. That's why we're committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment where everyone is treated with respect. We do not tolerate inappropriate behaviour or harassment of attendees, speakers or event staff in any form, including inappropriate online conduct such as comments or responses to talks on social media.

What do I do if I have a problem while at ZAG?

If you experience anything that causes distress or makes you feel unsafe while attending ZAG, please report it to our event staff who will attempt to resolve the matter.

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