Countdown to first Dundee Design Festival 25-28 May 2016

Dundee, the UK's only UNESCO City of Design, is hosting the first Design Festival from 25-28 May cementing the city's position as a leader in Design and Design thinking.

A former print works in the once industrial heart of the city will play host to an ambitious programme of design activity including an exhibition featuring some of the most innovative design in the country.

Focusing on design for health and wellbeing and including the best of digital, games, textiles, healthcare, social design and architecture, this ground-breaking-work will examine how design involves everyone, connects everything and makes anything possible.

There will be a series of talks and events that echo the themes – social design, design for all, health and textiles and is part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The theme for the first Dundee Design Festival is “Place. Work. Folk. Design”,  exploring the potential of design to connect the city’s communities and improve our every day lives.

The exhibition will feature projects by architecture and design agency Lateral North, models by Frank Gehry and Kengo Kuma, objects selected by Maggie’s Centre architects including Rem Koolhaas, Richard Murphy and Zaha Hadid, fashion design by Hayley Scanlan and Kerrie Aldo, games by Space Budgie, Guerilla Tea and Fox Wot I Drew, digital design by Slurrp and eeGeo, medical animation by Vivomotion plus Hands of X – a participatory project that brings amputees together with designers and makers to create prototypes of simple hand designs.

Siôn Parkinson, producer of the Dundee Design Festival says, “The amazing opportunity this festival gives us is that we can be totally reactive to the design activity around us. As well as showcasing the brilliant designers and makers in the city, we can examine how Dundee is framing problems and finding solutions. This includes using brand new research from the University of Dundee, Abertay Universtiy and DJCAD, as well as techniques from the medical schools, looking at science that is just happening.”

“And so the exhibition will focus on some of the great design stories emerging from Dundee right now, stories about what design can do. For example, you’ll see interactive designers working with amputees to create prototypes of prosthetic hands. You’ll see surgeons and pathologists working with medical designers to create bespoke, 3D-printed radiology masks. You’ll see game designers and animators working with cancer research charities to design games to process genetic data. You’ll see forensic scientists working with product designers to create smoke alarms designed to wake up kids in deep sleep. You’ll see landscape designers working with mental health patients to design community gardens. We’re showcasing how a city the size of Dundee makes collaboration and co-design possible.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, added: 

“The Dundee Design Festival perfectly showcases Scotland’s heritage and innovation in the field, and we are delighted to support the event in its inaugural year. As Scotland celebrates the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the festival’s wide-ranging programme of exhibitions, talks, demonstrations and workshops present a fantastic opportunity for visitors and locals to experience the city’s vibrant culture and creativity.”

The festival also features exhibitions by V&A Museum of Design Dundee, Design in Action, as well as playing host to Scottish Jewellery Week, a showcase of the best jewellers and silversmiths in the country.

Highlight events include :

Design economy and the effect of design on business is the focus on the first day of the festival Wednesday 25th May. The Design Revolution event jointly organised by V&A Dundee will showcase how design can support business innovation and economic growth, bringing international experts to Dundee to share their knowledge.Speakers including Ulrich Weinberg (School of Design Thinking, Hasso Plattner Institute, Potsdam) and Stephen Miller (The Design Council).

On Thursday 26 May, Mass Assembly will bring together those who are part of creative hubs, collectives, networks and clusters from all locations, rural and urban. The forum aims to build stronger connections across Scotland and beyond, offer inspiration and practical insights to creative practitioners and producers.

On Friday 27th May the Director of Maggie’s Centre Dundee, Lesley Howells will examine how the healing power of architecture can work whilst a team from Helsinki will discuss how design brought about social change in Finland.

On Saturday 28th May visitors can learn from Maria Maclennan, a forensic jeweller, who spends her days examining how objects can piece together stories after death or disaster.

There’s time in the programme to get your hands dirty with design too, including a weaving workshop with Cally Booker, a service design workshop that will help participants think about the city of Dundee and its tourism future. The Wearable Art team will be encouraging participants to design new items of clothing.

On Saturday 28th May the workshops are aimed at the youngest in the design community, with workshops in screen printing, comic creation and designing a new game.

On site during the festival will be a pop-up café, with locally sourced food available all day, provided by Masterchef winner, Jamie Scott.

Visit for the full four-day programme line up.

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