In our blog feature, we invite different contributors to write about current issues, creative practice, Dundee and much more! You can read some of the archive blogs here. For this edition, Programmes Producer of Creative Dundee, Claire Dufour, reflects on Dundee Soup – a partnership between The Circle and Creative Dundee, to benefit the city.
Dundee is an incredibly welcoming and supportive city! I’ve experienced it first hand, very quickly after moving here in 2011. I was eager to make things happen creatively, to develop my ideas and projects with others, and found it very easy to find support and partners within the city’s creative community. For every small initiative I wanted to try out, I could be sure to find at least ten people keen to get stuck with the project, give me a hand or just meet to chat over a cuppa and share a bit of advice. The city and its people have never stoped surprising me – they gave me so much… and I want to give back!
Since moving to Dundee, I have encountered this generosity everywhere across the city. I’ve witnessed it again and again with donations to local food banks, numerous social inclusion projects and responsive initiatives like the recent support to refugees, sending trucks full of donations to keep people warm and fed.
Through the years, I’ve met and chatted with loads of people in Dundee, from all walks of life, and I can say with confidence that this virtuous cycle is dear to most of us! Like many of you, I believe that we can collectively make a positive change in the city, by supporting each other and being more connected.
That’s why we – myself and the many voices you’ll hear below – are so fond of Dundee Soup and would like to tell you more about how you can play a part in this – and how small actions can make a big difference!
Dundee Soup gives micro-grants to local people and collectives, to develop creative ideas that aim to benefit their community, and the dinners are open to anyone – whether you need help for an idea that could benefit the Dundee community or whether you want to support a project that aims to tackle local challenges!
We found the soup very helpful in getting our message out that we are here. We made some good connections that will hopefully help us grow as a project.
– Dundee Soup pitcher.
We loved it on Tuesday and looking forward to the next one, we were over the moon with our bag and it contained £117!! it was be brilliant help for our project. Also, made some great connections and look forward to connecting in the future.
– Dundee Soup pitcher
— Gillian Easson (@GillianEasson) December 1, 2018
When The Circle and Creative Dundee joined forces to launch the first Dundee Soup back in April 2017 – with a huge thanks to Shona Littlejohn for initiating the project – we had an amazing reception from the public, for a first event, with around 40 people joining us on the night and a generous individual donation to match the winner’s cash pot. The nights have been popular ever since with a significant increase in spontaneous donations – extra cash in addition to the suggested £5 donation at the door.
We have run five Dundee Soup meals, collecting over £1,500 across 19 local projects which range from social groups, children activities, support for cancer patients and survivors, food and clothing banks, community spaces, recovery art groups, creative learning opportunities, dance, storytelling and photography – see all previous projects here.
More than the cash the community-based projects receive on the night to develop their projects, the wider impact this social event has is through the connections that are made on the night, the confidence boost that the presenters feel after sharing their projects and the ‘snowball effect’ that presenting your idea to a warm, empathetic audience can create!
Dundee Soup’s first community award goes to tea dance group – article by The Courier after the inaugural Dundee Soup event.
Even though we haven’t won we still feel like winners because we have lots of new connections and have raised awareness of our project. The support we received tonight has increased our confidence.
– Dundee Soup pitcher.
super lucky to b part of @Creative_Dundee
Thanks to every1 that voted for us-the money is fantastic start 4 our book of amazing poetry.
— Just Bee (@justbeeit) September 25, 2018
The first SOUP was developed in Detroit in 2010 with a group of artists’ friends gathered around a dinner to share ideas about art challenges, finding innovative solutions and imperfect ideas for projects that were hard to discover funding for. Over the years, Detroit SOUP has moved from funding artists to a wide variety of community members that need a little money to start their projects and the challenging ideas pushed people to think about the city in different ways.
Kirsty, Nicola and I recently had the brilliant opportunity to meet with Amy Kaherl, Detroit Soup founder, as she was touring the UK to meet with groups running Soups across the country. We had a nice chat about how although every Soup has their own local particularities – depending on the social fabric each city is empowered by – the Soup effect stays the same, which resides in the power of connectedness and mutual support.
It’s a little bit of funding, it’s a lot more empowering and it’s even more about connectivity.
– Amy Kaherl, Detroit Soup founder.
We want to hear about ideas that are making this better. It’s an ethos of community and civic engagement. We need to start with us… it’s a practice of democracy!
– Amy Kaherl, Detroit Soup founder.
Fantastic to catch up with @amykaherl Founder of @DetroitSOUP at @VADundee with @ClaireDufour_ @nicola1donnelly @thecircledundee @Creative_Dundee and share our #DundeeSoup story and what makes soup special! #Dundee #community #Inspiration #founders #SocEnt #collaborations pic.twitter.com/CBtrbbd07l
— Kirsty Thomson (@Kirsty1Thomson) October 23, 2018
Anyone who has an idea to benefit Dundee’s communities can pitch at Dundee Soup – whether you are an individual, small team or community group. Your idea can be about ANYTHING and you can submit it more than once! You just need to fill out this short application form at any time throughout the year to be considered for a future Dundee Soup event.
You can keep up to date with Dundee Soup through Creative Dundee’s website and social media, also sign up on this mailing list here to receive a direct email about the next Dundee Soup event! Join the conversation through #DundeeSoup.
I hope to see you at the next Dundee Soup, perhaps you’ll pitch an idea that can make things better. In the meantime, you can find out more about Dundee Soup and see all previous projects here.
…would you consider becoming one of our Amps Supporters? Besides helping us connect and amplify creativity in the city, you get access to lots of perks, like reduced-priced Pecha Kucha tickets, meet-ups with other Amps and eligibility to apply for our Community Ideas Fund – each subscription makes the fund bigger. Find out more and join the community here!