Doors open for Dundee Design Festival

To mark Dundee becoming the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design in 2014, a former print works has been transformed into a temporary venue for four stimulating days of design-focused exhibitions, talks and workshops.

 Over 200 primary school children were the first to preview the Dundee Design Festival (Wednesday 25th May) before the doors at West Ward Works open to the public on Thursday 26th May. 

 The vast industrial space contains three galleries of inspiring objects and ideas from a host of Dundee-based and Scottish designers working in the disciplines of architecture, textiles, social design, digital imaging and gaming.

 The festival theme, ‘Place. Work. Folk. Design’ focuses on design for health and wellbeing and will explore the potential of design to connect communities and improve everyday lives.

 Several design led research projects will take centre-stage at the festival from designing prosthetic hands for amputees to re-designing smoke alarms.

 On the closing day of the design festival, Dr Niamh Nic Daeid, Professor of Forensic Science at the University of Dundee working with Dave Coss, a Derbyshire fire fighter involved in the 2014 Philpott case where six children died in a fatal house fire will talk about the extraordinary research behind re-designing domestic smoke alarms. And for the first time, reveal a new 10-second alarm that has had a 90% success rate in waking children.

 The announcement of the ‘Redesigning Smoke Alarms Design Challenge’ will invite Scotland’s design community to take on a design challenge that may be the first step to saving more lives.

 Visitors can also expect to see Prospect North, the Scottish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale compressed into a campervan, exhibitions from V&A Dundee, Design in Action and Maggie’s Centre.

 Other Design Festival activities include withdrawing a limited edition Dundee ‘bank note’ from NCR’s state-of-the art cash machines installed at the venue and trying out workshops in gaming, screen printing, weaving, jewellery and comic book designing.

 Visitors can also shop at the Pop-up Design Shop selling limited edition screen prints from DCA Print Studio and eat at the Jamie Scott Pop-up café serving sensational food from a MasterChef Professional at café prices.

 Some of the world’s leading design thinkers from Amsterdam, Berlin, Belgrade, Helsinki, London and New York along with international UNESCO City of Design cities Graz, Shenzen and Saint.Etienne will travel to Dundee to participate in the inaugural Dundee Design Festival.

 Dundee Design Festival is programmed as part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The primary school workshops were supported by Festival of Architecture 2016.

 Sion Parkinson, Producer of Dundee Design Festival said: Dundee Design Festival will tell stories of local design with global impact, stories about what design can do when we join forces. The festival has captured a moment, where in a city the size of Dundee, people are coming together from across studios, campuses, cities and nations to help frame problems and find solutions.”

 Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Dundee Design Festival is a great celebration of the city’s status as a hub for design and innovation, and we are delighted to be supporting the event in its first year. It is fitting that in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design that the festival will exhibit works by some of the finest designers and makers in Scotland, and will also showcase projects from world-renowned names in a diverse programme that will no doubt attract many visitors from the local area and further afield.”

 Clive Gillman, Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland said: “The Dundee Design Festival provides a unique opportunity for local residents and visitors to the city to celebrate Scotland’s designers and makers and appreciate some of the world’s leading design thinkers. The festival will further strengthen Dundee in its role as UNESCO City of Design and is a major contribution to the programme for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. This is an exciting time for the city of Dundee, a dynamic city with a strong cultural identity and a history of innovation and creativity”

For the full programme visit

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