Creative Dundee


Placing creativity at the heart of climate justice, developing action with local communities.

CULTIVATE is a regional leadership programme for creative practitioners and local communities to collaboratively explore new ways of embedding creativity at the core of grassroots collective action for climate justice, across the Tay region. 

The Tay region is geographically, socially and economically diverse. CULTIVATE supports creative practitioners and local communities to engage, create and produce locally relevant work, and enables regional learning and sharing around being a sustainable place to live, play and visit.

Environmental challenges have been made starkly visible over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with ​inequalities more often felt by those who have the least say. The climate crisis presents some of the most critical, pressing and systemic issues of our time, and we believe that resolutions must also come from community-led organising and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Creative practitioners are leading the charge for change, enabling a transition into a sustainable creative ecology for the resilient wellbeing of our communities. They are also well equipped to engage people and support local networks to imagine collective actions and communicate them.

The first round of six CULTIVATE Creative Practitioner freelance commissions, in partnership with seven Community Partners, has now been completed. Each project engaged with groups on the fringes—from people facing poverty-stigma to those in rurally isolated communities—and facilitated space for people to come together and imagine, share, celebrate, organise, plan and act for the future.

The project also includes an Open Community Programme for anyone interested in social/environmental justice, and we’re exploring how to bring creative climate topics to the high street. Events and workshops are delivered with partners on topics including: climate justice; power and privilege; generational thinking; and collaborative working.

The second round of CULTIVATE Creative Practitioners have now been announced and we’re delighted to welcome six practitioners to the programme. You can find out more about the new Creative Practitioners, the first round of commissions, and the selection process for the second round, in the sections below. If you have any questions about CULTIVATE, please contact Project Lead, Claire Dufour.

Led by Creative Dundee over three years, and funded by Creative Scotland’s Culture Collective, this pilot project brings together creative practitioners and community groups to explore climate justice in a practical and meaningful way.

The CULTIVATE programme will also enable creative practitioners to:

  • Engage, create and produce locally relevant work, with a climate and social justice lens, designed collaboratively with communities;
  • Develop and exchange creative, environmental, leadership and enterprise skills within a network of peers;
  • Generate commissioned work, income and increase future potential opportunities. 

Creative Dundee is committed to being an equal opportunities organisation and CULTIVATE offers time, space and support for creative practitioners to develop their knowledge, skills and practice. Therefore we welcome all applications for consideration. Let us know if we can provide any assistance or if you want to discuss alternative ways to show your skills and relevant experience.

CULTIVATE is delivered in collaboration with a number of partners, including Dundee City Council and Perth & Kinross Council.


Creative Practitioners

We’re thrilled to announce the six Creative Practitioners taking part in the second round of CULTIVATE!

The Creative Practitioners will have ten months from January 2023 to work in collaboration with local communities to research, understand, imagine and embed creative responses that better connect and equip communities for climate action.

Alongside their work with specific communities, they’ll all come together to share their learnings, develop their leadership skills, and spark new collaborations and opportunities across the Tay region.

The CULTIVATE Journey So Far

The first six Creative Practitioner commissions

CULTIVATE launched in May 2021, with an open-call for an initial round of six commissions, and we’ve supported seven creative practitioners (including one duo) in collaborating with local communities and bringing to life six projects across Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Angus and North East Fife.

Engaging with groups on the fringes—from people facing poverty-stigma to those in rurally isolated communities—through arts, culture and creativity, the practitioners have facilitated space for people to come together and imagine, share, celebrate, organise, plan and act for the future.

The various processes and approaches which were developed and used include: practising radical hospitality; amplifying and celebrating people’s experiences through creativity; networking, learning, and sharing with peers; and exploring collective actions that have multiple benefits.

The Creative Practitioners have also had opportunities to connect and share with each other and with other practitioners from the Culture Collective network—this has included a guided tour of Govanhill Baths’ work and communities in Glasgow, as part of COP26, and participation in Culture Collective’s first in-person event, ACT: Environment and Climate.

You can find out more about some of the previous commissions within the case studies below, and read a reflective blog from our Creative Climate Producer: Creativity Makes Change Possible.

CULTIVATE partnerships and public programming

Alongside developing partnerships through our Creative Practitioner commissions, CULTIVATE has enabled us to expand and strengthen relationships across the Tay region and in different sectors through piloting projects, collaborating on events, and knowledge sharing.

We co-produced the Tayside Climate Beacon Event Series with Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, hosting three free events in Arbroath, Dunkeld and Dundee that explored the connections between communities, culture and climate action.

Working with UNBOSI and ScrapAntics, we delivered free outdoor family-friendly workshops across the city, using interactive marble runs built from reclaimed materials to reimagine our neighbourhoods together.

We also took part in piloting a cross-sector field trip with scientists and artists, in a collaboration between the Tayside Climate Beacon, Abertay University and the University of Dundee/Festival of the Future.

We joined the Culture Collective Open Space and Showcase, coming together with other Culture Collective projects to share ideas, our work and experiences. We presented an overview of CULTIVATE to attendees including MSP Maggie Chapman, representatives from Creative Scotland and creative organisations from across the country.

We held two Climate Justice events in Dundee and Forfar exploring the challenges faced by marginalised communities across the Tay region. Each event was an opportunity to share food and stories of creative responses to the climate crisis with members of the local community.

Our work on CULTIVATE makes clear our capability for significant long-term cross-sector programming, as well as our ability to support tangible projects that demonstrate the critical impact of community engagement and the role of creativity and culture in this process.

Case Studies

Wee Wardrobe

Destigmatising second-hand clothing and encouraging climate conversations through meaningful connection.

Creative Practitioner: Jade Anderson
Community Partner: Transition Dundee (Dundee)

Tayport in 2030

Platforming community voices and capturing a collective vision for a reimagined future.

Creative Practitioner: Zoë Swann
Community Partner: PLANT (North East Fife)

The Entangled Tea Set

Collaboratively crafting a community resource that can inspire and anchor collective conversations.

Creative Practitioner: Nicky Bolland
Community Partners: The Cateran Ecomuseum and Alyth Development Trust (Perth & Kinross)

Gig in the Garden

A resource for hosting community events and bringing people together through music.

Creative Practitioner: Finlay Hall
Community Partner: The MAXwell Centre (Dundee)

The Little Green Repair Café

Creating a welcoming space for resource sharing, skill exchanges and climate conversation.

Creative Practitioners: Kirsty McKeown and Jeni Reid
Community Partner: Community First (Angus)

We invited Cara Rooney, Mairi Isla, Evie Grace Caldwell, Jon Bishop and Lucy Steel to respond to our CULTIVATE identity, designed by Tommy Perman.

Tommy created a typographic logo based on the shapes of support structures that are used across the Tay region: greenhouses, polytunnels, plant frames and trellises. Inspired by CULTIVATE’s collaborative nature, each illustrator was then commissioned to re-interpret the identity in their own style, adding elements that visually represent community, biodiversity and our places.

These supports are used in our farms, gardens and green spaces to encourage growth and they seemed like a fitting visual metaphor for the project’s identity. It’s been designed to be reimagined, inviting illustrators to embellish and evolve it with their own ideas. 

Tommy Perman, artist, designer and musician, based in Perth and Kinross

“From the snapshot the CCC saw in just a few visits, it is evident that an enormous amount of community-based activity is underway, some publicised and supported by local authorities, but much more is taking place independently… These groups need to be supported and encouraged because they generate the success stories, inspiration and positivity that can instigate and maintain support for climate action. The CCC heard that their experiences should feed into climate policy and reciprocally, climate policy should facilitate community-based practical projects.

Community projects are not an alternative to large-scale investment in infrastructure, housing retrofit and public transport, but should be viewed as complementary.”

Extract from the UK Climate Change Committee’s Climate Conversation Report (page 18), in reference to CULTIVATE, as a result of Creative Dundee co-hosting their visit to Dundee in April 2022.

“In Dundee, we had a presentation from, and discussion with, representatives of diverse group of community bodies taking part in the city’s – and the wider areas – journey to net zero. The discussion touched on the role of art, active, travel, recycling, nature and other matters. It was an important reminder of two matters:

Most community groups working in the broad area of ‘net zero’ are in practice making a two-for-one contribution: they are delivering carbon savings as an additional benefit of projects about food, money-saving, cycling, community cohesion, mental or physical health, etc. In so doing, they can generate the success stories, inspiration and positivity that can instigate and maintain support for climate action.

Small-scale net zero-themed community projects will never be an alternative to the large-scale investment and intervention we need to decarbonise housing, energy or public transport, but they are complementary to it. They humanise the overall journey to net zero and secure public buy-in. In that respect, they are equally necessary.

Extract from the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee’s first report: The role of local government and its cross-sectoral partners in financing and delivering a net-zero Scotland (SP Paper 302) as a result of Creative Dundee co-hosting their visit to Dundee in September 2022.

Creative Dundee believes that culture and creativity are essential catalysts for positive change–that’s why we amplify, connect, collaborate and cultivate creativity in and around the city.

Working collaboratively with partners across the city, region, country and beyond is at the heart of how we develop projects in and outside of the creative industries. We are also committed to creating a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion are prioritised and promoted across everything we do

Creative Dundee is part of Culture Collective, a network of 26 participatory arts projects, shaped by local communities alongside artists and creative organisations. Funded by Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 funds through Creative Scotland.

The Culture Collective programme has the potential to place creative practice right at the heart of a just transition, and help shape the future of local cultural life, which will impact massively the way we embrace creativity and culture in Scotland.



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