Discovery Walk


Kelly Marr and Suzanne Scott are the driving forces of a unique project launched in Dundee today. Discovery Walk is a series of bronzed plaques commemorating the innovators and social reformers of Dundee’s past, set into a paved area right in the heart of the city’s new waterfront development. Here is a video of the launch event.

A booklet detailing the project and including profiles of the ten prominent Dundonians featured accompanied the launch. I was honoured to be asked to write the Foreward. This is what I wrote:

It has been said that people make their own history – they explore and define alternative futures based on their hopes and aspirations. These are also given form by the ideas and inspiration transmitted to us from the past. We build on the history of others to create a new future for ourselves.

Right now in Dundee we have the opportunity of creating a bold, inclusive and ambitious future for our city, focused around the transformation of the waterfront with its world class design museum, new civic spaces and striking new architecture. We can be proud of the vision behind this and the impact it will have on Dundee’s future, but we also face some profound challenges of social deprivation and economic decline in too many of our communities.

The problems we face will not be solved by new museums, inward investors or urban planners (vital though all of these are). If history teaches us anything it is that cities are created, sustained and given new futures by the people who live in them – people who believe that things can be done better, people who focus their creative thinking on discovering new ways of doing things, people who come from all walks of life.

Discovery Walk connects us directly with some Dundonians from our past, all of whom had a significant impact on their own fields and especially on the city that they were a vital part of. Their work laid the foundations of those enterprises and activities that will take us into our future, such as the life sciences, medical research, education and the creative industries. The achievements of these ten remarkable individuals will be a source of inspiration for all of us.

We need to encourage and enable the city’s young people to be the scientists, social reformers, creative pioneers, technologists, educators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and the involvement of so many young people in the Discovery Walk project so far, is hugely propitious in terms of how this project can help to kindle future ambitions.

For Dundee and its people, this is no time to think small; no time for an austerity of aspiration. The people celebrated in this Walk took on big problems and big challenges, they took risks and embraced a sense of wonder. They dared to try something new.

Discovery Walk captures this spirit and embeds it permanently in the very fabric of Dundee.




Design in Dundee – Autumn’s highlights


Dundee really is living up to its designation as the UK’s sole UNESCO City of Design. Even in just the next few weeks there’s is a whole host of events and activities that embrace design.

  • Friday 9th October 2015 – I am chairing ‘Design Experts in Discussion’ at the Vision Building, and we have some amazing design people taking part. It’s free but you need a ticket in advance.
  • Friday and Saturday – Scotland Re:designed, a new dedicated showcase of Scottish Interiors – within which the experts discussion is taking place – created for designers and makers to exhibit, gain mentoring, support and provide business opportunities, as well as an opportunity for design enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the best of Scottish design. There will be a unique pop-up shop to purchase beautiful design that may not be readily available on the high street. Again, free – but get a ticket. Details for both here:
  • For just this week (up to 10th October) Stagecoach is running an old Routemaster bus on the 73 route between Ninewells and Arbroath. This bus, that entered use in London during 1956, is a design classic. It was the first bus to use lightweight aluminium construction using methods developed from the aircraft industry.
  • The next Make/Share event takes place on Wed 14th October from 7-8.30pm at Dundee MakerSpace, also down at the Vision building. This time around, four speakers will give short informal talks about their experience, thoughts, inspirations around Collaborative Working. These include ex-DJCAD jewellery designer Scarlett Erskine, independent game designer Malath Abbas, and Becca Clark and Ruth Aitken who collaborate as a duo, Bhuntang Marmalade.
  • Make Works, a factory finding platform for artists, designers and makers and Creative Dundee are bringing Maker Speed Dater to Dundee on Thursday 22nd October. The event provides an opportunity for 20 designers and 20 manufacturers to have a conversation and learn about what can be made in Dundee. A bit like speed dating, but for finding new projects and contacts to work with locally. Tickets are £6, and worth every penny.
  • During Dundee Literary Festival I will be hosting one of the lunchbox talks session entitled Designing Stories and will be in conversation with Holly Scanlan, Dundee born hairstylist and author of popular blog GGBOBSHERHAIR. The focus is very much on blogging. Tickets are £5, but that includes lunch. Dinner and a show. What’s not to like? The whole Festival has some great stuff going on including Nick Frost and Jeanette Winterson. A preview of some of the best bits here.
  • Dundee’s Wasps Open Studios takes place at Meadow Mill on 24th & 25th October. In addition to going around and meeting the designers, makers and artists who work there, you can also attend workshops. These include: Design Demonstrations with Judith McDowall, Introduction to Sand Casting with Robin Bell, and a Drop in and Draw session. Details here.
  • The Pecha Kucha tickets for 10 November have gone on sale for £5 each – a great evening of talks! Details here.
  • Then of course there’s the Internet Yami-­ichi – a flea market where people gather and exchange “Internet­-ish” things in real life. Launched in Tokyo in 2012, since then it has travelled to Berlin, Sapporo, Brussels and Amsterdam. Now it will be in Dundee on 14 November. Book a stall and sell your internet-related things.
  • We are also just finalising plans for the next Dundee Touchpoint – an evening of creative service design open to anyone for free! Details will be posted on our Facebook page.