Creative Dundee

Mass Assembly Dundee


A one day forum exploring the future of collective working for creatives and the places they are based.

On Thursday 26 May, Mass Assembly brought together those who are part of creative hubs, collectives, networks and clusters from all locations, rural and urban. The forum aimed to build stronger connections across Scotland and beyond, during the inaugural four day Dundee Design Festival, running 25 – 28 May 2016, at West Ward Works.

Read about the Live Audit and the findings here.

Canan Marasligil: 

View Canan Marasligil’s presentation here.

Steve Hamm:

View the notes from Steve Hamm’s presentation in a post on Medium here.

Alix Zacharias:

Content from Mass Assembly 2016:

Storify: Social stories can be found here.

Mass Assembly Photography by: Justina Smile – view album here and Graham Black – view album here.

Pecha Kucha Night Photography by: Justina Smile – view album here and Graham Black – view album here

About Mass Assembly 2016:

Creative networks act as catalysts, contributing to place-making, society and the economy – beyond supporting and creating opportunities/benefits for their direct networks. Mass Assembly will showcase and celebrate the growing influence of creative networks to a wider audience and encourage those leading or involved in hubs, networks and collectives to come together and share their knowledge, skills and advice with peers.


The day will include dedicated time for cross network introductions and skills exchange, discussions around the important role of networks to our places, exploring the impacts they make, and present an opportunity to hear from leading international experts about the future of the collaborative economy. It is also a unique setting for key influencers to hear about the intrinsic value and impact of hubs, with an insider’s guide to their activities, business models, and the ways they support the growth of the creative and wider economies. The forum will act a starting point with ambition to spark future collaborations.


Throughout the forum there will also be a live open audit – visualising the current creative hub landscape across Scotland. Details of the full programme, running 10am – 5pm, and speaker details can be found below, with more to follow. As there are limited spaces please do book in advance. Read on for our speaker details and exciting evening plans…

Have a read of our recent blog about why we’re running this forum and what we’re most looking forward to: ‘Collective growth mass assembly‘. Thanks to Ryan Macleod of Slurpp for the Mass Assembly design work.

Our Speakers


Alix Zacharias is a Founding Team Member at August, a New York based consulting firm that builds high-performing teams for the world’s most meaningful missions. Previously, Alix was head of Operations and Experience at Undercurrent and prior to that she led recruiting, experience and leadership support for the NY location of global design firm IDEO.

Alix has been building experiences since “opening” her first restaurant in her parent’s living room at age 6. After starting her career in hotel and restaurant management, she has leveraged her passion for experience design to identify strategies that incorporate hospitality into corporate environments and operations processes. Alix excels at knowing how to create a thriving company culture that drives employee engagement and performance.

You can read more about Alix and August on Medium, Our Commitment to the Future of Work, access their public drive, view and add to their great Women in Tech speaker list and find them on Twitter: @augustpublic

Steve Hamm has worked with Swarm, the creative collaboration company, since its inception in 2012. He helps to drive Swarm projects forward by looking at new and creative ways to frame problems, conduct research, fundraise and measure impact. The great thing about Swarm for Steve, is that it is a constant experiment in crafting new forms of collaboration between an often unlikely cast of characters looking to solve big challenges. 

Steve took a pretty meandering route to get here, having worked in social enterprise, international development, consulting and venture capital. In addition to Swarm, he’s currently looking to get a refugee news project off the ground and working on a project called Civic, which aims to activate community spaces. Steve live in London with his wife Laura and daughter, Vesta. 

You can find Steve Hamm on LinkedInMedium and Twitter: @SteveRHamm

Canan_JosyaneCanan Marasligil is a freelance writer, literary translator, editor and curator based in Amsterdam. She works internationally with arts and cultural organisations such as the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam), MitOst (Berlin), Europalia (Brussels) and with a wide range of project partners from Turkey, the UK and other European countries. Her interest is in challenging official narratives and advocating freedom of expression through a wide range of creative activities. 

Whether she works on a comics project, curates a literature programme, translates a book or supports cultural organisations in telling their stories online, the thread running throughout her work is her belief that the arts and culture can have a positive impact on our societies. Canan has also participated to residencies: as translator in residence at the Free Word Centre in London (2013), as a cultural journalist at WAAW in Senegal (2015) and at Copenhagen University to start working on “City in Translation”, her ongoing exploration of languages and multilingualism in urban spaces. 

Find out more about Canan at and, and on Twitter: @Ayserin

Josyane Franc is the Head of international affairs for the Cité du Design and Saint-Etienne School of Art and Design (ESADSE). She has set up an international network of exchanges among sixty institutions around the world for the ESADSE. She was part of the founding committee of the International Design Biennial Saint-Etienne in 1998. She is the official representative of the Cité du Design and ESADSE in various international networks: ELIA, CUMULUS, BEDA, Design for all Europe, UNESCO Creative Cities, Centre Jacques Cartier and she coordinates their participation in numerous European and international collaborative projects.

She has co-curated several international traveling exhibitions (French Year in Brazil 2009 ; Tallinn-Riga-Helsinki-Bratislava 2011-2012 ; Graz 2014 ; Gwangju 2015). She also co-curated and coordinated international exhibtions for the Saint-Etienne Biennial (EmpathiCITY in 2013 ; Seoul honour guest exhibition “Vitality, beyond Craft and Design in 2015). She led Saint-Etienne application towards the designation as UNESCO Creative City of Design, and she coordinates its activities since its adhesion in November 2010. She is the Project coordinator for the European project Human Cities_ Challenging the City scale led by Cité du design for 2014-2018. Find Josyane on

Unfortunately Aleksandra Savanović from Belgrade is no longer able to make it because a visa didn’t come through in time, and whilst we are really disappointed by this situation we have run an interview with Aleksandra about Nova Iskra’s story and shared this here.

Steven Drost who is leading our live audit, will speak about ‘Start ups and creatives – some thoughts’. Steven will introduce the audit and encourage us all to get involved.

Mass Assembly Programme:

10.00am – 11.00am: Morning Gathering – meet your Mass network over a tea or coffee.

11.00am – 11.15pm: Welcome and introduction to Mass Assembly – Janine Matheson, Creative Edinburgh and Gillian Easson, Creative Dundee.

11.15am – 12.15pm:  International perspectives on the importance of building strong communities: Speakers include Canan Marasligil and Josyane Franc. Followed by Question Time – a fireside panel chat with above speakers, hosted by Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland, Clive Gillman.

12.15pm – 1.00pm: Start ups and creatives – some thoughts. A talk by Steven Drost who is leading our live audit, and who will introduce this and encourage us all to get involved.

1.00pm – 1.50pm: Light lunch provided – and a chance to explore the Dundee Design Festival exhibition also within West Ward Works.

1.50pm – 3.20pm: International perspectives on the business models and approaches to collective working – working globally for collective impact. Speakers include Steve Hamm and Alix Zacharias. Followed by Question Time – a fireside panel chat with above speakers, hosted by Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland, Clive Gillman.

3.20pm – 3.30pm: Pass the mic – an opportunity for any attendees to briefly shout out their opportunities, events or activities, to share info, knowledge and connections.

3.30pm – 4.50pm: Collective breakout sessions: Four breakout discussion sessions focused on key areas for creative hubs and their networks. All attendees will have the opportunity to take part in two of the four sessions – sign-up sheets will be available on the day.

1. Building local partnerships – a conversation with two Local Authorities about:
– How can creative hubs deliver to meet the needs of local area priorities – economic, social and cultural?
– What are the motivations and ways to influence and build the case for support in resource-constrained times?

2. Developing the hub’s business model – a conversation about the approaches to developing viable livelihoods for our hubs/areas:
– What models are hubs developing to create sustainable ways of operating?
– How can creative hubs learn from other’s organisations? Can this be done better in future to enable people to be more confident in stepping up?

3. Building trust and loyalty with your networks – a conversation about how what creative hubs can offer and how they do it:
– What’s your programme and who is it for? Crossing disciplines, generations, career stages.
– How do you develop the language, communication and tone with your network?

4. Becoming super connectors – a conversation exploring the values skills hub leaders/members need:
– How to build relationships with people outside of your direct network – cross sector, internationally.
– Ways to pass it forward, how to share knowledge and skills to increase individual’s confidence within your network.

4.50pm – 5.00pm: Wrap Up and close!

Travel Support

We are keen to see hubs and collectives across Scotland join us at the forum, so are delighted to have a number of travel grants available for hub leaders and members – physical or digital places where people convene. Simply tell us why attending this forum would be beneficial to you and the community you support; and describe how you will share the experiences and learning gained. Please note to be eligible you must be based in Scotland; the support is for travel expenses only – you will be required to pay for your own forum ticket/any additional living expenses; and travel fares will be reimbursed after the event on receipt of travel details/receipts.

The deadline has now closed.


Pecha Kucha Night Vol 15

In the evening, 7pm – 10pm, Pecha Kucha Night Dundee will focus on the theme of design and collective working. With regular audiences of 350+ people attending, and a popular live stream, this next event will be the perfect ending to the Mass Assembly forum.

Standard Pecha Kucha Night tickets will be available as usual closer to the time, sign up for our free monthly news mail out to receive details of tickets first.

This event is being produced in collaboration by Creative Dundee and Creative Edinburgh, it builds on their work developing the Creative HubKit for the British Council – a flexible resource to support the development of diverse types of hubs. The HubKit is now being used to assist the fast paced growth of creative hubs globally.

Mass Assembly is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.


TIME / DATE: 10am – 5pm, Thursday 26th May 2016. (Pecha Kucha Night – 7pm – 10pm). With light lunch/refreshments provided.

LOCATION: West Ward Works, Guthrie Street, Dundee.

TICKETS: Must be booked in advance via: – £10 Mass Assembly forum day / £5 Pecha Kucha Night evening.

FOLLOW: #Mass16

Pecha Kucha Night. Volume 14. Stephanie Fulke. 88

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