Creative Dundee

Back in the Room: Amps Meet-Up, June 2022

Photos: Sarah Smart

A month on from our first in-person Amps event in over two years, we bring together the insights and thoughts our network shared with us.

After a long two year hiatus on in-person events, we were so delighted to be able to get together with our Amps network in the same space again! We invited our community of people who make and cultivate creativity in Dundee to join us for our Summer Social Meet-Up at the wonderful Hot Chocolate Trust on 9 June. The evening was spent sharing ideas, conversation and news with one another, and navigating both the excitement and anxiety of being in the same space again in a not-quite-post-Covid world.

Our Meet-Up proved an opportunity for us to try to re-create the joy, ease and fun that we’ve been lucky to experience at the online Amps Breakfasts we’ve hosted since March 2020—a space that was originally created as a sort of stop-gap when meeting in-person became difficult and events were put on pause, before blossoming into an integral part of our weeks.

Our hour-and-a-half Meet-Up flew by, starting with time for folks to say hello and speak to others, with many of us getting to meet Amps we’d only been able to speak to online before. We then held breakout chats with a discussion prompt, mimicking the randomness of our Zoom breakout rooms and increasing the likelihood of connecting with someone new. We asked Amps, “how can creativity and culture strengthen people’s sense of place?“, with responses covering ‘pride’, ‘sense of ownership’, and ‘how does it not?!’.

After our breakout groups we opened the rest of the evening to more conversation over snacks provided by Serendipities, encouraging Amps to respond to a live audit—sticky dots and post-its galore!

We asked about the ways people have interacted with Amps so far in a series of questions about joining and engaging with the network, including ‘how long have you been an Amp?’ and ‘what prompted you to join?’.

We also asked Amps to share their thoughts on a series of questions relating to creativity in Dundee, centring these around Creative Dundee’s four pillars: Amplify, Connect, Collaborate and Cultivate.

Lastly, our final questions looked for a little more insight around support and aspirations, asking Amps about: the barriers they face in creating a sustainable practice in Dundee (affordable workspace coming out top); something Dundee can do to help make sure creative practitioners can thrive in the city (provide access to workspace, help deepen understanding of the value of creativity, and funding opportunities); and a dream project Amps would love to realise (curating exhibits and screenings! co-design projects! opening workspaces that help the city’s creative industries and practitioners thrive!).

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us on the evening. As ever, we’re looking forward to continuing these conversations with our network and beyond, and using these vital insights to propel our work and collectively navigate what comes next.

We know times still feel strange, and also that we weren’t the only ones in the room feeling slightly overwhelmed without a trusty Zoom screen! We’re so grateful for our network’s time, energy and openness, and for how this generosity and curiosity helps shape the space we hope to hold for folks who deeply care about the role of creativity in our city.

Here’s to the next Amps Meet-Up (which, by the way, will be on Thu 29 September!).

Amps is a community of people who make and cultivate creativity in Dundee, working together to collectively build on the future of the city. We connect through events and projects designed to help establish links, showcase work and develop collaborations. Join Amps and help make Dundee even better!

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