Culture Connects: What we learned!

Read about what really matters to people in Dundee when asked how would they spend their perfect day. You can find out more about the first steps of the research here and why not joining us at our next Dundee Soup in Dundee, to support a creative project that will have a positive impact locally.

As part of an exciting collaboration with Dundee Place Partnership, Creative Dundee has been doing some research and consultation to find out more about the cultural and creative opportunities across the city. For 5 months, we have been to many of Dundee’s community hubs and events with a big map of the city where people could pin down their favourite places to go, and fill a short survey about the activities they like doing in their free time and what they’d like to see happening across the city.

The research aimed to understand what culture means to people without using words like ‘culture’, ‘creativity’ or ‘design’, and encourage them to think about what really matters to them. We went to 10 different locations where 210 people answered our survey. We had around 850 inputs on our physical map.

We’re delighted to share some of the results with you in this blog. The data of the places which have been highlighted during this research is shared on Dundee Open Data website here. You can read more about the research here.

Where are your favourite places to go in Dundee?

The tangible passion many people have for our small city is one of the striking results of the research. Those who took part are delighted to share their knowledge of its local history and the many hidden corners where you can get the best views on a sunny day.

Outdoor activities are largely beloved, with a shared affection for our numerous parks, walking paths and viewpoints. But more than just enjoying the green and urban landscapes, many of the people we encountered are mostly valuing places according to their potential to be shared, explored and enjoyed with family and friends.

The image below present the popularity of each type of place which people enjoying going to in their free time.

How would you spend your perfect day? Tell us about the activities you like doing and the places you like going in your free time.

Family, friends, community, food and dogs, go alongside with theatre, galleries, music, swimming and playing – with a great emphasis for the numerous walks Dundee has to offer, from Broughty Ferry beach and the waterfront to the beloved and well-used parks and community gardens across the city. Meeting people and sharing with others plays also an important role in cultural experiences in the city.

I love to go to open spaces (Magdalen Green, Camperdown Park, Broughty Ferry, etc.) especially when it’s sunny! When I’m with my friends I like to go and sit in cafes and bars (outside) and catch up! DCA is one of my favourite places because there’s always something going on! Dundee over the last few years has also got much better at live music and open air concerts which I love!
– Multicultural Family Fun Day, 19, DD2, unemployed

 

2. How do you find out about these activities, or how do you make them happen?

The social aspect is again really important when people are finding out about (or choosing) what activities & places they enjoy. Word of mouth and personal recommendations from family, friends and social groups seem to be the favourite and most effective ways to share information about what to do and where to go in the city. Mentioned a lot, local knowledge is also key when planning outdoor activities and places to go and visit.

We find out about most activities through social media, word of mouth and flyers displayed in the community.
– Craigowl PS, 34, DD3, full-time

I think a consistent platform that the whole population almost instinctively knows where to access this information and how to influence activities in the future, would be helpful.
– Main Street Community Café, 33, DD4, part-time

 

3. Is there anything that would help you better access these places/activities?

When asking what stops them from engaging with the cultural places, activities and events they enjoy in the city, the most common barriers that have been mentioned were the weather – which is not surprising, considering that outdoors activities and open spaces are most popular in this research – alongside other barriers like the lack of time or money and people’s awareness of such places and activities. Another important barrier mentioned is the one of accessibility, which includes public transport costs and schedules, car parks in the city centre, cycle paths as well as infrastructures for people with disabilities.

Sometimes they are not advertised widely enough or far enough in advance.
– Flower and Food Festival, 43, DD5, part-time

More cross-promotion between events and venues – if you like this, you’d probably like…
– Online survey, 58, DD3, full-time

I have 4 children so going to lots of places every weekend can be quite expensive. It would be great to have like an affordable family card that would get you to every places in Dundee: Olympia, Science Centre, Zoo, Ice Arena, gym…
– Craigowl PS, 34, DD3, full-time

4. What more or else would you like to see happening in the city?

People clearly want more of large-scale events and festivals which bring people of all walks of life together around shared interests like music, street arts and markets with local products.

Live Music / markets. Something to make walking around the city feel more exciting. More Street art.
– Make Dundee Home, 30, DD4, student

More things for children, dancing, be together as a community.
– Lifegate Community Café, 40, DD4, unemployed

Personally, I would like there to be a more friendly approach to community activism. Rather than mainly rallying behind protests or political motivations.
– Main Street Community Café, 33, DD4, part-time

Summary

We can clearly see in this research that the definition of ‘cultural’ or ‘creative’ places and activities is challenged. Although the vibrant cultural venues – such as McManus, Verdant Works, DCA, Rep Theatre and the very soon opening V&A Museum of Design Dundee – are well represented amongst people’s cultural choices of places and acitivities to enjoy, there’s a much larger representation of outdoor activities with friends and family (parks, walks, viewpoints), sports and leisure activities (Football, cinemas, swimming pools) and perhaps most surprisingly social and creative activities happening in community spaces, schools, churches, libraries and shopping centres.

It’s surely time to have a wider definition of the words ‘culture’ and ‘creativity’, and place more importance in the social networks that are the foundations of our cultural/creative lives – using culture and creativity as a mean to improve quality of life and reduce isolation!

If you want to see more things happening in your community or encourage people to have a positive impact locally, why not take part in Dundee Soup by supporting a community-based project or pitching for your own idea! Dundee Soup is a social event which gives micro-grant to make ideas into a reality – the next event is this Thursday (3rd May), 6pm – 8.30pm at Lifegate in Dundee. You can read more about Dundee Soup and book your tickets here.