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Creative Dundee

Creative Dundee

A new generation of creators

This panel reflects how Dundee’s creative credentials are evolving. The city is traditionally associated with comics and greetings cards, but the 2018 opening of V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum, elevated Dundee’s art and design heritage. The city is a hub for video game design, and the Arts continue to thrive in multiple forms.

Creative Dundee cartoon

1. A creative hub

Art is created and shared across the city in a diverse array of locations, including  Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), The McManus, Double Door Studios, Chainworks Studios, Roseangle Gallery and Wasps at Meadow Mill, involving art collectives such as Generator Projects and Amps Networks, and community practitioners like Scrapantics.


2. Joseph Lee

Born in Dundee, Joseph Lee (1876-1949) was a notable poet, journalist and author, and a talented artist who illustrated his own books. When war broke out in 1914, he recorded life on the battlefield while serving with the 4th Black Watch. ‘Ballads of Battle’, Lee’s first book of war poetry, was published in 1916, followed by ‘Work-a-Day Warriors’ in 1917. The University of Dundee holds an archive of his work.


3. Grand Theft Auto

This driving-action video game was developed in Dundee by gaming company, DMA Design.


4. Dundee Repertory Theatre

Built in 1982, the Dundee Rep (also home of Scottish Dance Theatre) was granted Category ‘A’-list status in 2022. The theatre was designed by local architects, Nicoll Russell Studios, and it continues to present a diverse array of contemporary performances. Many Scottish actors – including Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, David Tennant and Ncuti Gatwa – have taken to the stage here.


5. Anvil & hammer

These tools represent the creativity of blacksmiths who worked in the Dundee area. Some started out as rivet boys, making rivets for the construction of the Tay Railway Bridge. Later, as blacksmiths, they were involved in the Dundee housing boom and supported stonemasons in developing and maintaining tools. They also created and provided the ironmongery that was popular in Victorian housing, and supported the farming community beyond Dundee.


6. James Bowman Lindsay

Born in Arbroath in 1799, James worked as a linen worker in Dundee before gaining a place at the University of St Andrews. He returned to Dundee in 1829 as Science and Mathematics Lecturer at the Watt Institution and, in 1835, he demonstrated constant electric light – 40 years before Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb.

7. Moira Macgregor

Moira Macgregor (1931-2016) was a Dundee-born artist, illustrator and print-maker whose modern drawing style made her popular with on-trend fashion brands and magazines (like ‘Honey’, ‘Nova’ and ‘Glamour’) from the 1960s to the 1980s – including Barbara Hulanicki’s super-hip fashion label, Biba. Later, Moira worked in advertising, book publishing and packaging, and she exhibited paintings and prints at the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolour Society.

8. Alhambra Theatre

Now known as the Whitehall Theatre, the Alhambra was established in the 1890s by local impresario, John Young, and from 1929, it showed both films and live productions. Brian Cox, Michael Marra and Will Fyffe all performed there.


9. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art 

The creative heart of University of Dundee, DJCAD is consistently ranked in the top UK colleges for art and design. Successful alumni include illustrator Johanna Basford, sculptor David Mach and musician Gary Clark.


10. Valentine & Sons

Established in 1851, Valentine’s became a highly successful manufacturer of postcards, greetings cards, calendars and children’s books. The factory in Westfield Avenue closed in 1994, and has since been demolished.


11. Graffiti in Mary Anne Lane

The legal graffiti wall in Mary Ann Lane, one of several eyecatching graffiti artworks in Dundee.


12. Scott Sutherland

Scott Sutherland (1910-1984) is best known for his Commando Memorial sculpture, unveiled at Spean Bridge, Invernessshire in 1952. He was Head of Sculpture at DJCAD from 1947-1975, and other notable examples of his work include a carved coat of arms on the National Library of Scotland; the Robert Burns statue in Arbroath; and the carved slate memorial panel to the crew of the Broughty Ferry lifeboat, ‘Mona’.


13. Music notes

These are the first musical notes of Michael Marra’s song, ‘Frida Kahlo’s Visit to the Taybridge Bar’.


14. Jeff Hawke

Jeff Hawke was a comic strip character created by Dundee-born artist Sydney Jordan. Hawke’s sci-fi adventures appeared in the ‘Daily Express’ from 1954 to 1975.

This panel was stitched by

Liz Gillespie

Anne Murphy

Anna Stark

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