Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm – a new exhibition of sustainable fashion exploring the role of tartan in Scottish trad dance

We are delighted to announce not one but two trad dance exhibitions curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland as part of Pomegranates 2024 festival of international traditional dance – Dance Around the World 3–30 April 2024 at Edinburgh Central Library and Vengefully Changed Allegiance 23–30 April 2024 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, both exhibitions are free and open to all, as well as accompanied by workshops, shows and tours. Read on to find out about Vengefully Changed Allegiance. 


Vengefully Changed Allegiance is the first solo exhibition in a public institution by fashion designer Alison Harm, the founder of Edinburgh’s own Psychomoda brand, who has been challenging our opinions for the last 30 years on who can wear what and where by mixing different tartan patterns together and upcycling industry scraps, vintage cloth and broken jewellery.

Curated specifically for the Pomegranates 2024 festival, this exhibition of sustainable fashion also challenges the living tradition of the tartan cloth still used for the Highland Dress dance costume and the kilt with all its accessories. By tradition, we are supposed to choose tartan patterns according to our clan name without mixing the tartan patterns in the way daring designers like Alison Harm do. Featuring a collection of garments displayed on mannequins and on models, as captured in the new photography by Amanda Roberston, the exhibition also poses the question of safeguarding and innovating the intangible cultural heritage of both the Highland Dance and the Scottish tartan.

In the artist’s own words: 

“Fashion is cyclic. Today we might wear clothing and styles from the 1980s to show our allegiance to a musical, political or cultural theme from the past. As a young designer I trained in the Punk Rock environment of the 1980s when the tartan fabric became part of the symbolism of that cultural movement. This new collection of garments in the exhibition is also my unique homage to the Jacobite revivalist movement of the 1880s, during the reign of Queen Victoria, which instigated a renewed romanticised interest in the Scottish tartan textiles and fashion styles.”  Alison Harm

The exhibition includes free, drop-in, on-demand artists’s and curator’s guided tours daily 23-30 April 2024. In addition, there is a fully-booked preview with the artist Alison Harm and curators Iliyana Nedkova and Wendy Timmons accompanied by a new dance and fashion show featuring the models and garments presented in the exhibition and Highland dance artist Abby-May Shearer, a guest-piper and live music courtesy of Castle Rock Jazz Band – Pomegranates 2024 festival resident musicians.


Established in 2022, Pomegranates is Scotland’s springtime festival of world traditional dance. Initiated and produced by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in an ongoing partnership with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries, Dance Base and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This year, the festival features artists’ residencies and social dance sessions, exhibitions and tours, shows and workshops, plus the first Pomegranates Family Sunday. Find out more about Pomegranates festival here:

Vengefully Changed Allegiance is part of Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and TRACS programme of events showcasing Scotland’s traditional arts and cultural heritage. TRACS has been recently appointed as an advisor to UNESCO on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland and this exhibition showcases ICH in practice through highlighting the sustainability in the fashion industry while exploring the role of tartan in Scottish trad dance.


All production shots featured here © Amanda Robertson are from the photo session for the exhibition Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm