Shaking off the confines of its industrial past, Dundee has recently transformed itself into a dynamic cultural hub, bustling with creativity and innovation. Having lately made the move from such a large city as Glasgow, I have to say I was overwhelmed by the scope of Dundee’s lively and enterprising community. There’s so much going on in terms of entrepreneurship, design, social innovation and events. It’s been so exciting to get involved with some fantastic projects and watch the city develop before my very eyes. There’s a palpable feeling of promise and innovation in the air, and living by the city’s animated waterfront, I’ve been privileged enough to experience this on a daily basis. 2018 is going to be a transformational year for Dundee, I can tell.
I’ve been a keen photographer for a while and I found myself trawling through old photos of what Dundee used to be like—it’s incredible to see how the city has evolved and how they have completely built out the waterfront. The transformation over the last 10 years alone is almost unbelievable.
The V&A is going to be an amazing addition to Dundee: it will inspire a new generation of designers, celebrating the work of creatives in and around the city, whilst acting as a budding source of tourism for our little city. It seems a more than fitting addition to the regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront, particularly for a city that is so dynamically immersed in design culture.
But there’s so much more than the V&A happening in Dundee. The Centre of Entrepreneurship at Dundee University has also been an amazing addition to both the city and the uni, with big things happening here in 2018. The facility is one of the first entrepreneurial centres in the world using a design-led approach for the start-up and scale-up of businesses. Not to mention Creative Dundee which raises the profile of the city and supports local creative talent.
The Never Settle Podcast has been our first project sharing the stories of some of the incredible individuals affiliated with our community and it’s been a fantastic journey so far.
There are some amazing people in Dundee right now who are breaking barriers, some of whom we’ve had the privilege of getting to know and work closely with. Col Gray, brand expert and YouTuber from Pixels Ink is educating people on design and branding through his successful YouTube channel. The city also hosts Professors Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daeid, world leaders in forensics, who are carrying out innovative research at the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, based at the University of Dundee. Service designers and our good friends Mike Press & Hazel White have recently founded Scotland’s first ever Service Design Academy at Dundee and Angus College, providing flexible, accredited training in service design for individuals and organisations. And Rod Mountain, one of the V&A Dundee’s Design Champions is also transforming the city through his pioneering work of design-led care. He is championing an ‘interdisciplinary collaboration between art, science, engineering, design and the humanities’ to positively shape the future of health and social care. And this is just a small cross-section of all the amazing individuals shaping the future of our local community and Scotland more widely.
Dundee has also been the home to many incredibly talented individuals in the past: Mary Shelley, Mary Ann Baxter and Brian Cox, to name a few. And that’s barely scratching the surface. With many talented people currently contributing to its future, the city continues to be a hotbed for innovation, creativity and diversity, prized as a UNESCO City of Design and recently named one of the top global travel destinations by Wall Street Journal.
I knew I wanted to somehow document all these incredible things, pay homage to Dundee’s rich heritage and share the stories this diverse city has to tell. I was walking through Slessor Gardens on my way to the office one morning, and the thought popped into my head that someone needs to document this coming year for Dundee.
In generations to come, people will look back at Scotland’s history to the year when the country’s first ever V&A design museum opened, not to mention all the other incredible projects that will develop and come to fruition in the coming months. I asked myself how I could tell the untold stories of Dundee’s transformation and growth; the story of how the city evolved itself and with my camera in my hands, the answer was obvious: a photo every day for the whole of 2018. This is Dundee in 2018.
We’ll be posting the images daily on Twitter & Instagram – we’ll update the website at the end of every month.
Twitter – twitter.com/dundeein2018
Instagram – instagram.com/dundeein2018
Website – www.dundeein2018.com