Dundee International Design Festival

Visual & Performing Arts

Dundee is a dynamic city with a strong cultural identity and a history of innovation and creativity.

It has a population of 147,000 but serves a wider travel to work area of 500,000. The city has, time and again, reinvented itself, focusing on design and creativity to promote economic growth. In the 19th century, it was the world centre of the jute textile industry, resulting in rapid industrial development. It was also a major centre for shipbuilding and machine tool manufacturing. Over the last 30 years, the city has become home to a dynamic digital media industry, respected higher-education institutions and vibrant design and creative industries.

Dundee has used culture and creativity as key drivers of social and economic regeneration. The city has a major waterfront regeneration strategy with the new V&A Museum of Design. Dundee still faces significant challenges with the collapse of its traditional industrial base, the legacy of long-term, inter-generational unemployment, and serious social, health and economic problems, but is tackling these through partnership strategies to create jobs, increase confidence and raise aspirations.

Dundee will contribute something different and valuable to the UNESCO Creative City Network – the perspective of a medium-size world city.

As a Creative City of Design, Dundee envisages:

  • using design as a cornerstone in addressing both social inequalities and opportunities that exist in the city;
  • sharing experiences and knowledge about digital design, including links between game design and the arts and sciences as well as contemporary art and design;
  • setting up collaborative projects on interdisciplinary design, combining multiple design approaches to solve social challenges;
  • focusing on social design, redesigning public service and community engagement; and
  • fostering public discourse on the place and contribution of design in contemporary society.

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