Creative Dundee by Emma Richardson

Creative Dundee is an organisation that supports creative talent. It does this by providing opportunities for local artists and designers to communicate with the public about their projects and ideas. They aim to ‘Connect, Amplify and Collaborate’ so that they can showcase why Dundee is such a great place to live, study and work. The events they hold show us that Dundee is a creative hub and that there is so much talent in our little city. Events such as Make/Share introduce us to the innovative minds behind so many designs that we see across Scotland; whether it be product or service design. It gives the public a chance to understand and meet the many speakers who present at Make/Share; and for students it is an opportunity to really find out what is going on in the UNESCO City of Design and be inspired.
On South Tay street between the Repertory Theatre and Dundee Contemporary Arts sits The Beer Kitchen; inside you will find cosy lighting, table booths and a wide range of craft beers. I find myself here on the second Wednesday of each month to see what Creative Dundee’s Make/Share event is all about. Walking into the warmth of a full and chattering bar and leaving the cold outside, it seems only right that once inside I was greeted with a token to a free beer (or soft drink!).
I have been to two Make/Share events so far and found them to be very interesting. At each event we heard from four designers and makers who each told us a bit about themselves and their projects. I am a design student so to hear from other creative thinkers who are making their ideas or products come to life is inspiring to me, these events are a great way to learn about other people’s processes and to get advice on how to go from being a student to a self directed artist or designer.
This is a list of advice/tips given to the audience which are particularly useful for students:
  • Travel, meet amazing people, and have amazing experiences. A sense of adventure helps you to become more entrepreneurial
  • Shout from the rooftops about what you do
  • Be clear about what you do and what your message is
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people
  • Be confident and believe in what you want to do
  • Learn from other people
  • Say yes to opportunities that come your way
Creative Dundee do a brilliant job of highlighting the creative scene in our city, not only do they host Make/Share but they also host Pecha Kucha.
Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “chit-chat” and these events are held in nine hundred cities across the World. Dundee’s is hosted three times a year, this was it’s fifth year running and it was as successful as ever. It is highly anticipated each time, Pecha Kucha brings in an audience of around more than three hundred people. The night is fast-paced and fun, each speaker has twenty slides to talk about and only twenty seconds for each slide. The speakers can decide what they want to talk about whether it be their work or things that they enjoy doing. There were around twelve speakers this month, so we heard a lot of inspiring ideas and views on a wide range of topics, and because of the fast-paced format it was kept fresh and interesting as each speaker had only roughly seven minutes to talk on stage.¬†
Creative Dundee launched Amps at this month’s Pecha Kucha. It is a new project aiming to create a better way to build Dundee’s local creative scene. The focus is to create a Community Ideas Fund; local people (Amps) will come up with projects that will benefit the community and the people who join (and fund) can choose which project they want the cash award to go to. If you have a project idea you can also put it forward to try and win the funding. This project is a great way to celebrate the creativity in Dundee because¬†not only does it produce great ideas, it gives back to the community by resolving problems. Amps will help to build a stronger city for everyone and give Dundee an even brighter future.
Creative Dundee’s events have further reminded people how important it is to get yourself out there and talk about what you do. Making use of social media is a great tool, it enables you to show your work, processes and ideas through a range of different styles. Being in a room full of like-minded people helped me to recognise that design is very important and it is good to surround yourself with people within the creative community. Not only do you learn about them, it gives other people the chance to learn about you. Social media will inform you of the events going on in Dundee, and going to these events will help you to meet people, get advice and make connections.
Overall, both events have been very thought provoking. Everyone I’ve encountered has been very friendly and encouraged the audiences to join the conversation and ask questions. Dundee’s creative scene is on the up and with so many events going on all over the city, it is so easy to get involved and see what is going on. You can learn more about what’s going on in Dundee by visiting Creative Dundee’s website.
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