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ZAG 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

ZAG 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. It’s an in-person conference that aims to inspire everyone to think about how we approach problem-solving in our working and personal lives, and prove that non-conformity can be a valuable driver for change. 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 different tack to meet a challenge or highlight an issue. Over the course of the evening they will share their respective stories and show how an idea, coming from a seemingly unconventional place, can gain traction.

Karyn McCluskey

Karyn McCluskey leads the Community Justice Scotland team and has overall responsibility for raising awareness of the value that community justice brings to individuals and communities. She has spent 21 years working with the police and helped establish the Violence Reduction Unit in 2003 with a Public Health approach to preventing violence. Karyn has faced historic gang violence head-on, through unearthing a new and unexplored approach of tackling gang culture at the source and to swerve young people's adoption of violence.

Karyn McCluskey

Yong-Chin Breslin

Yong-chin Breslin is a London based professional make-up artist. Her background and degree in fashion design has followed a natural progression into editorial and creative make up. In 2022, she was crowned the winner of BBC Three's make-up focused reality show Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star, as viewers of the show were awestruck by the sheer innovation and unique perspective on make-up. Her goal is to push the restraints of commercial beauty and originate an ethical direction for cross-disciplinary brands.

Yong-Chin Breslin

David Finlay

David Finlay is a sustainably focused farmer who has publicly challenged the unethical and environmentally damaging standards of the current dairy industry. Surrounded by intensive, zero grazing farming systems which pay little more than lip service to the environmental and welfare crises, David Finlay and his wife Wilma set up The Ethical Dairy. Their organic farm is comprised of 340 hectares of mixed woodland, scrubs and rough grazing. With many dairy producers taking calves away from mothers minutes after birth, The Ethical Dairy is choosing a more empathetic approach, letting calves naturally wean with their mothers. David and Wilma have proved ethical farming practices and profitability can work hand in hand.

David Finlay

Len Pennie

Len Pennie is a poet who writes predominantly in the Scots language. Her work focuses on human rights, the destigmatisation of mental illness and empowering survivors of abuse. She is the poet laureate for the St Andrews Society of Los Angeles, and was Scots performer of the year 2021. Len is in the process of writing her first poetry collection, and is the engagement officer for the Scots Language Centre.

Len Pennie

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What to expect

We hope that ZAG inspires and motivates you to eschew zigging just once in a while. The event, rather conventionally, 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 agency based in Edinburgh. This is our second conference but the first time we will be revealing ZAG to the world. Find out more about who we are and what we do.

Will ZAG be streamed live?

No, but we will film each speaker and share the content on our website and social channels at a later date.

Is ZAG a one-off conference?

Now there’s a question. We hope it’s successful. If we believe it fulfils its objective and there’s an appetite to do it again, we surely will.

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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Register your interest for ZAG