Creative Dundee

Dundee Design Festival Full Programme

Dundee Design Festival is back next week running 25 – 29 May 2017 and the brilliant West Ward Works venue is going to be jammed with activity as the UNESCO City of Design team plays with the theme of factory. What does the factory of tomorrow look like? How do people work now? With a nod to the heritage of the building and the importance of factories to Dundee and Scotland.


Visit the main Gallery 1 anytime over the Festival which is given over to a large exhibition, celebrating makers, materials and machines. Featuring designers from across the globe including Annika Fry from Germany and Thing Thing from Detroit who work across ceramics, furniture, interiors, jewellery, product, textiles, and healthcare design. What connects their work is a shared curiosity to test materials and explore new techniques.

The exhibition marks a moment where designers are busy mixing forms of production, combining craft and industrial processes in a hybrid of the very old and the very new. Playful, raw, and hugely inspiring, Factory Floor invites you to explore some of the most inspiring objects and ideas emerging from studios, workshops and factories around the world.

Factory Floor features: Annika Frye, Ariane Prin, Chalk, Dawn Youll, Florence Dwyer, Foldability, Hilary Grant, James Rigler, Lynne MacLachlan, Studio Glithero, Studio Silo, Thing Thing and Trakke. Find out more about the exhibition here.


In Gallery 2, Print Festival Scotland – a partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), invites you to enter a world of pure imagination – and a lot of print. Print City will be a monumental, immersive installation built from hundreds of large-scale, hand-printed cardboard building blocks that come together to form an abstract cityscape. The work is being fabricated on site in line with the ‘Factory Floor’ theme of this year’s event.

Visitors will be able to see the city’s buildings being printed and constructed throughout the festival. The Print City team will create a factory production line in the former D.C. Thomson’s printworks, to print striking monochrome designs and patterns onto the hundreds of cardboard surfaces that will form this evolving and dazzling spectacle. As the city takes shape, audiences will be able to participate in the production and interact with the artists. They will be able to walk through its streets, sit in its park or watch boats in the harbour – and maybe even help to print a building or two. The work in its entirety is also intended as a platform or backdrop for further interaction and activity – and to this end, there will be several interventions taking place by other artists and artists groups.

Find out more about Print City here.


Back in Gallery 1, WRKSHP is a practical work base, maker space and demonstration studio. Co-designed and produced by Creative Dundee, WRKSHP provides workbenches and desktops for you to drop in and work from, as well as a programme of drop-in and ticketed workshops and demos by designers and makers. There are shelves packed with resources, materials, tools and machines for you to delve into and start making. You won’t want to miss Silo Studio Saturday for a day of wild experiments working with expanding materials and spinning machines, or the Foldability Workshop on Sunday with Kyla McCallum who will be teaching the complex technique of pleating and folding fabric.

A range of traditional and digital fabrication equipment provided by MAKLab is available on site to learn about and experiment with. Enjoy taster sessions in 3D-printing, laser-cutting, milling and casting. With some of Scotland’s most experienced studio technicians from MAKLab on hand, you can get right up close to the design and fabrication process and make almost anything.

So whether your tool is a laptop or a lathe, a sketchbook or soldering iron, or if you just need space to try new things out, then just bring what you need and join us.

Enter the WRKSHP to make a silver ring with CARVE, learn about plastercasting, make a comic character come alive or learn the intricacies of origami. Kindly sponsored by NCR.

Find out more about WRKSHP here.


The ever popular Make/Share has its debut at the Design Festival. Brought to you by Creative Dundee, the event brings people together to hear behind-the-scenes insights into the work of creatives from across a range of disciplines. Make/Share will be running on Thursday and Friday afternoons every hour, on the hour from noon. Join a range of speakers for brief insights as they demonstrate their design processes.

Contributors: Mal Abbath (Biome Collective), Ryan McLeod (Slurpp), Joanna Helfer (artist), Louise Kirby (print designer and illustrator), Marsali Miller (Interior and Environmental Design) plus many more.

Find out more about Make/Share line-up here.

Our Silent Monitors

How do you feel about how your digital information is used? Throughout the five-day festival, team of designers will collect visitor feed and interpret it into a huge painted install covering the factory floor in Gallery 3.

This interactive exhibition by Pete Thomas Martin Skelly takes its inspiration from the Silent Monitor invented by Robert Owen New Lanark Mill in the 19th Century.

Find out more about Our Silent Monitors here.

Punch In / Punch Out

Ryan McLeod invites you to Punch In and share your stories around design and creativity as part of his Creative Chit Chat podcast. Simply choose a question or topic from the punch card rack, come in and have a blether. Add your own question to the rack for others to answer before you Punch Out.

The audio from these conversations will be recorded throughout the festival and edited down into a series of podcast episodes. These will be released on Ryan’s podcast: Creative Chit Chat – Dundee.

Find out more about Punch In / Punch Out here.


The festival also includes screenings of design related films, curated by D:Screen – they’ve included the world premiere of Graphic Means, a journey through a transformative Mad Men-era of pre-digital design production to the advent of the desktop computer. It explores the methods, tools, and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today.

Find out more about the screening of Graphic Means here.

Talks and Panels 

This year talks will take place in a new part of the building and will include a fascinating discussion with Mark Surman, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation. He’s joining us to discuss The Internet of Things (IoT), a growing global network of objects and devices that connect everything around us, from what we wear, to the homes we live in, and even the medical devices embedded in our bodies. IoT encompasses everyday objects as well as complex data systems in cities  and industries.

As we head towards a new wave of the internet where billions of connected devices are coming into our lives, DJCAD and Mozilla Foundation ask you to take a pause and question if we know how and where these products are being made. What is happening to the data that these devices produce, and are they creating a healthy approach to the way we use the internet? And if no-one is paying for the data the Internet of Things creates, then who is working for the services and companies that own them?

There’s also a discussion on ‘Why should we make more?’. Despite assertions that manufacturing is still at the heart of our economy, factories have become largely invisible in our towns and cities, employing fewer and fewer people. What is the future of manufacturing in Scotland? And how can designers make it more visible?. Join speakers from design and industry leading the charge to make Scotland’s manufacturing more visible, and more viable.

Read more about the full programme of talks here; and the talks listed above ‘Is the internet of things creating a healthy factory floor?’ here, and ‘Why should we make more?’ here.

Don’t forget there’s also Creative Dundee’s popular Pecha Kucha Night Vol 18 with a whole array of talented speakers.

Singer Machine Choir

For one evening only, Dundee Design Festival invites you to come down to West Ward Works and take part in the new Singer Machine Choir, a vast chorus of voices that together will playfully conjure the sounds of factories past and present. Over the past three months Dundee Design Festival together with local games designers Biome Collective and musician Andy Truscott (Kinbrae) have visited factories across the region to record the sounds of working machinery. Sounds collected from DCA Print Studio, waxed cotton producers Halley Stevenson, Michelin tyre factory, textile fabricators Scott & Fyffe plus the terrifying clatter of textile machines on display at our neighbouring Verdant Works will help inspire you to create a production line of whirrs, drones, clangs and bangs.

Filling the huge, resonant spaces of West Ward Works, celebrated singer Alice Marra and folk legend Sheena Wellington plus special guests will lead you in simple vocal exercises and songs.

Explore Biome Collective’s sonic installation and help produce live soundtracks to digital projections and animations. Singer Machine Choir will focus more on play and process rather than aiming towards a finished, polished performance. You don’t need any formal training in singing, be able to read music, or have any experience in performing. Just lend us your voice and help make something spectacular.

Find out more about the Singer Machine Choir here.


This year the Dundee Design Festival is widening out across the city and includes activity around town – including the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone Degree Show, a pop-up discussion on the recent Dundee GovJam and the Innovate UK Forum, a chance to hear about how to bid for funding for innovative companies.

Factory Gates – across the city 

Explore some of Dundee’s iconic factories and workspaces on these exclusive tours led by the people who work there. From tiny tours in the brilliant Spex Pistols, somewhere between a demonstration, a workshop and a tour – or visit the international materials technology company, Scott and Fyffe, specialising in commercialising ideas and innovations through a global network of partners opens their doors to the factory and innovation space where they’ve been producing materials for 150 years. Other factory tours include Tokheim, Winter and Simpson, Verdant Spirits and 71 Brewing.

Find out more about the Factory Gates programme here.

Full Programme

There is so much more on that its impossible to list everything here, so to make sure you don’t miss anything check out the full programme: and for daily updates follow them on Twitter @designdundee and Facebook. To get a feel for West Ward Works and see highlights from last year’s Dundee Design Festival 2016, check them out here.

Dundee Design Festival is a UNESCO City of Design Dundee project, brought to you by Leisure and Culture Dundee, the University of Dundee and the Dundee Partnership.


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