V&A Dundee announces national design role for economic recovery

April 12, 2021

V&A Dundee will develop Scotland’s centre for design over the next three years, supported by the Scottish Government as they look to the role of design in the national long-term economic and social recovery from COVID-19. It aims to enhance its unique role as Scotland’s design museum by developing a national remit as Scotland’s centre for design, working in partnership locally, nationally and internationally to champion the value of design. As sign of the government backing design as one of it greatest resources.

A number of new design partnerships are slated to be announced later this year, including: Design for Business, working with organisations across Scotland to apply design skills to social or business challenges. Schools Design Challenge, working with secondary schools to empower pupils to solve problems affecting their lives. Sewing Box for the Future, working with the University of Dundee to address the crisis of waste in the fashion industry. Working with Alzheimer Scotland to deliver digital activities for people with dementia and their carers. Community outreach and skills development, including working with Dundee charity Front Lounge to train young parents for an SQA qualification in textiles.

V&A Dundee’s world-class exhibitions and public programme will innovate and captivate audiences, sparking debate about the possibilities that design can bring and the many different ways that design enriches people's lives. The museum has welcomed over 1 million visitors since it first opened in September 2018 and had an economic impact of £75 million for Scotland in its first year.

The Scottish Government is providing additional funding of £2 million a year for three years to support V&A Dundee’s operations as both Scotland’s design museum and centre for design, in addition to its current commitment of £1 million a year. This funding will provide long-term financial sustainability and protect museum jobs. Design is central to Scotland’s ambitions to be greener, fairer and more equal, supporting innovation across sectors, developing critical, curious and inquiring minds, and addressing complex challenges.

Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, says, “V&A Dundee is unique in Scotland as a place to explore and enjoy design of the past, present and future, and as a catalyst for new thinking, innovation and debate. Design is one of the most accessible forms of creativity, it is a way to understand the world and to change it for the better, and Scotland’s rich history shows us that design brings progress, meaning and joy. Design has the potential and the power to improve lives and places in countless different ways, including giving people the agency, skills and confidence to change the world around them.”

Chair of the Board of V&A Dundee, Tim Allan, comments, “We believe that design offers Scotland huge potential as its looks to its recovery after the pandemic. I am hugely grateful to the Scottish Government for its continued role as the principal supporter of V&A Dundee and I look forward to working together to explore the national potential of design, and to expanding and deepening the museum’s reach well beyond its iconic walls.” He continues“As an incredibly young organisation V&A Dundee has already proved itself to be a major cultural and economic force, bringing world-class exhibitions to Tayside and providing a massive boost to the regional and national economy. This new investment reinforces our role as an advocate for the power of design to enrich lives across our nation, as well as sharing historic, contemporary and future Scottish design globally.”

The museum is due to reopen later in 2021 with 'Night Fever: Designing Club Culture', the first large-scale examination of the relationship between club culture and design, charting the evolution of nightclubs from the 1960s to today.

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