Only 17 cities around the world hold the UNESCO City of Design title.
When Dundee was announced as the UK’s first ever UNESCO City of Design, it joined an elite group of cities that includes Beijing, Berlin, Helsinki and Turin.
Although the announcement was first made in December last year, the city’s new title will be ‘launched to the public’ this week with three days of celebrations and free events.
Workshops, a pop-up design cafe, a free evening lecture and a showcase of family friendly video games will display some of Dundee’s many designers, and start generating ideas for how the city can use design to improve the lives of everyone living here.
The celebrations will culminate with a free public lecture, How Design Can Change a City, which will feature leading experts from the world of design.
“It’s truly remarkable that Dundee has been recognised as one of the world’s leading design cities, and this week we’re inviting everyone in the city to get involved,” said Stewart Murdoch, UNESCO bid leader and Dundee’s Director of Leisure and Communities.
“Being a UNESCO City of Design is far more than an award for Dundee’s historical achievements. It’s a recognition of our ambitions to use design in every area of public life, transforming the city and making Dundee a better place to visit, live and work.”
Platforms for Creativity was a free event focusing on creativity, design and sustainable futures. It ran on Thursday, January 29, by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Creative Dundee.
Creative Dundee will also host a Pop-up Design Cafe at Avery & Co on Friday, January 30, where designers and members of the public will meet to discuss their ambitions for the future of Dundee and its citizens as a UNESCO City of Design.
A public lecture, How Design Can Change a City, will be hosted by Design in Action and Leisure & Culture Dundee at the University of Dundee’s Dalhousie Building on Friday, January 30.
The lecture will be attended by Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, and Laura Aalto from Helsinki’s Design Driven City will join local panellists including Philip Long, Director of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, to discuss Dundee’s future.
The three days are closed with Drop in and Play Jnr at the DCA on Saturday, January 31. The family-friendly showcase of game design is being organised with Abertay University and is suitable for children aged 15 and under. Games on show include the console version of Minecraft, developed in Dundee.
“Design means so many things to different people,”said Gillian Easson, Director of Creative Dundee.
“And we’re looking forward to hearing what people want the UNESCO City of Design to mean for them.
“Is it about improving the way a public service works, or helping small businesses grow? We want to know how design can address the city’s challenges as we start this journey together.”
The UNESCO title was widely seen as a step forward for Dundee, particularly after the disappointment of losing out on the City of Culture 2017 award to Hull.
Dundee’s bid focused on three approaches to design: place, covering architecture and redesigning Dundee itself through life-saving drugs, jewellery, computer games and the designing of public services to support people’s everyday lives.
The exclusive international group of UNESCO creative cities is a network of cities identified for their outstanding contribution to areas of creativity such as Literature and Music, cooperation between them is promoted.
Speaking to STV in December, Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild said it was a “huge boost” for Dundee and that he was “certain it will lead to many opportunities.”