There is an increasing demand for architects to adjust to new modes of operating: enforcing or stimulating collaborations with others, and demanding real action at the very tangible face of societal change. A bewildering acceleration in the sophistication of information systems and manufacturing processes has evolved specialisations - of processes, products and services - that threatens to marginalise the profession of architecture. But architects are rising to these challenges, rejecting the detached gaze, rolling their sleeves up and fighting back. This is operational across a range of agendas, from the social and political, to manufacturing and making, to procurement and finance, to urbanism.

Lateral approaches rather than a perpetuation of the status quo characterise these new overlaps and collaborations in practice. Improvisation is a critical component, making a virtue of constraint, limited budgets and intractable problems. Contingency rules. In this morass of compromise and complexity lies the seed of innovation. Sorting it out becomes the modus operandi. Rather than seeing this as hopeless concession, constraint becomes profoundly transformational and modesty becomes a mechanism of change.

This conference will consider a range of these collaborations across a variety of disciplines, showcasing practitioners who are opening up fresh possibilities and definitions of practice that start to dissolve the binary distinction between client and architects, process and product. We will reveal a renewed enthusiasm for operating from the bottom up, addressing complex issues with opportunistic precision and physical action. These practitioners are inventing their own projects and systems of operating: they don't wait for conventional clients, commissions or budget but instead see opportunity or necessity as their client. The results are often innovative, ground breaking and profoundly useful; their strength lies in resolving ordinary problems in extraordinary ways.