Creative Dundee

Creative Sharing: A Vision for Creative Space

23rd May, 6:00pm at Blend Coffee Lounge

We want to collectively develop new creative spaces in Dundee. Join us to find out more and be part of the conversation.

All are welcome to join us at Creative Sharing, a participatory event where you can find out about our latest work in advocating for creative space in Dundee and take part in developing new spaces for creativity and collaboration.

Tue 23 May, 6:00–7:30pm
Blend Coffee Lounge, 63 Reform Street, DD1 1SP
Tickets are free and booking is essential

At this event you can hear more about the initial vision developed by a Creative Spaces Working Group, share your thoughts and feedback on creative space in the city, and explore some of the bigger questions around creating an inclusive and inspiring space together.

This is just the beginning of a collective effort to create more space for creativity in Dundee and lots of questions still remain. We want you to be involved in this conversation and would like to invite you to explore some of these questions with us. 

This is a participatory event and tickets are limited. May is Dundee Month of Design and this event is part of the programme.

The Creative Spaces Working Group

In February we hosted our online event, Making Space for Creativity and Collaboration. We shared and discussed issues around accessing space in Dundee, as well as how better access to more creative space would benefit not just creative practitioners, but communities and the city as a whole. Alongside guest speakers, we heard from participants about the types of spaces they would like to see and the barriers they currently face in having space to make and share their work. The event highlighted a real desire for change and an active community in Dundee that wanted to make good things happen, and we were keen to keep up this momentum with further workshops and events. 

Since then we have continued to consult with creative practitioners and community leaders. In March we formed a Creative Spaces Working Group to better understand what types of spaces are needed, how we can work together to form a collective vision for creative space, and establish some tangible next steps.

Over three workshop sessions, the group developed an initial vision for a new creative space or spaces that would become a focal point for creativity in the city, making it visible and accessible, and therefore valued. We discussed existing creative space projects in other cities, looking at how they access space and build community, and at what makes them financially sustainable – and we considered what aspects of these projects would be suitable for Dundee. In our final session we moved from asking about what spaces we wanted and how they would operate to how we were going to make a space happen. 

We asked the working group to share their reflections from the sessions, the type of spaces they would like to see and what they think needs to happen next.

“Creative spaces are vital to our cities. Creative endeavours result in a range of measurable and immeasurable benefits to society at large. These benefits are transformative in terms of economics and culture. Without dedicated support and long term planning this can easily be lost. In order to create a thriving and sustainable ecology of creative businesses we need to facilitate an environment that is conducive to inclusion, experimentation and collaboration.

Malath Abbas, designer and creative producer

“The working group sessions were a great way to get an overview of the types of creative spaces that are needed in the city – we have a really diverse range of creatives working in Dundee and there’s not a one size fits all solution.

The sessions were also an opportunity to reflect on a lot of the amazing spaces that have called Dundee home over the last decade or so, but that we’ve sadly lost due to a lack of support. Creative spaces are incredibly important for the creative community in the city – they’re the spaces that allow creatives to make and explore, to reflect, and house projects big and small. They’re integral to the creative canvas of the city, and if we don’t make sure that they continue to exist we risk losing the vibrancy and variety that creativity brings to the city. It has become increasingly difficult to find secure and affordable creative working space in the Dundee over the last few years, and I feel like we’re at a point where there’s a very real risk that creatives will soon feel like they no longer have the option to remain in the city if we don’t address this promptly.”

Steph Liddle, designer

“When I was invited to participate in the creative spaces working group, I felt a sense of responsibility in being asked to contribute in the initial conversation about what type of creative space we need in Dundee.

Describing myself as creative, feels like I did two minutes before the last dance at the school disco. The idea of being ‘a creative’ was alien, but people aren’t. There was familiarity and difference in their stories to mine, but a resonance in each, which comes from connecting with people. It made an abstract concept (creativity) accessible and achievable.  For me, this is a living example of why creative spaces are important. It normalises the notion that every person possesses the agency to be creative.”

Darryl Gaffney du Plooy, social entrepreneur and activist

“Creative spaces are and can be so many things. They are spaces of discussion and learning, not only for existing practitioners but for those looking to learn more, for those needing an outlet. We can cite the growth in creative sectors links to a growing economy, but we can also cite its links to better health. I really enjoyed the sessions – so much of what we discussed has stuck with me and will inevitably direct me moving forward. I particularly cannot stop thinking about the idea that  “We have to earn our status”. We may be a “City of Design” but it’s not something we’ve achieved or have been in the past, it’s something we must continually aim to be.”

Lizzie Day, artist and curator

“It was rewarding to meet new and old faces and feel included in this process while also learning about both the general and local pressures that the creative industry faces. It’s also made me explore what library services can do to support it.

Dundee needs conduits between its creatives and new audiences that support their practice while remaining affordable, accessible and adaptable. Public libraries have a role to play – as cultural centres we are a unique social and physical space where everyone can freely mix, offering books, e-resources, upskilling and a wider range of activities such as arts and crafts, cinema and music.”

Alistair Wilson, library and information worker

“During and after the session I was thinking a lot about how creative spaces should be at the core of our economic ecosystem, we need to bridge the gap between empty space, landlords and a general perception of what the creative community offers. We need to see that the future of cities economically – and the health of our communities – lies with our ability to make creativity, and in particular design, visible and provided for. To provide a path for people who have new ideas and want to develop new solutions and ultimately new businesses. We can only do this if the strategy and vision is there to make this happen. It’s not about incubators or accelerators that aim to create growth in terms of scale. It’s about space and the framework to be small and creative but have the support to grow if you want to.”

Lyall Bruce, designer

The Creative Space Working Group includes: Malath Abbas, Lyall Bruce, Lizzie Day, Darryl Gaffney du Ploy, Steph Liddle, Sabrina Logan, Ryan McLeod, Su Shaw, Gaynor Sullivan, Kirsten Wallace and Alistair Wilson.

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