A Love Letter to Dundee: Joseph McKenzie Photographs 1964-1987

Residents will be aware that I have in the past posted some of the fantastic historic Dundee West End photographs of the late Joseph McKenzie on my West End Facebook page.

A fabulous exhibition of Joseph McKenzie’s photography opens today at McManus Galleries and runs until October 2021.

Further details are available at www.mcmanus.co.uk/exhibitions/a-love-letter-to-dundee 

Bash Street’s back at The McMenace!

From 2nd June until 21st October :
This summer, join some of the city’s funniest and most loved characters as The Bash Street Kids take over the museum as part of a brilliant new exhibition!
First published in 1938, Beano has continued to entertain children and adults alike for 80 years. From Lord Snooty, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and of course The Bash Street Kids, DC Thomson have created some of the most iconic characters in comic history. This exhibition will look at DC Thomson’s early beginnings in the 19th century to their domination of the printing presses by the early 20th century.
But just how was a comic put together? We will look at the development of the machines that produced the publications and the people of the kids of the High School of Dundee, to the artists such as Dave Sutherland, who has drawn the Bash Street
Kids since 1962.
McManus Galleries opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm; Sunday, 12.30pm – 4.30pm.

Dundee Arts Cafe – Mary Slessor: No Ordinary Missionary

From Dundee Women’s Festival :

On Tuesday 3rd March at 6pm – Dundee Arts Cafe at McManus :  Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum –

Mary Slessor was an Aiberdeen quine, who moved to Dundee in the 1850’s when the mills were at their height and worked tirelessly with the Church to improve lives for the working class. She then moved on as a Missionary to ‘The Calabar’ in modern day Nigeria. Here she fought for the lives of children, women, and slaves; for human rights. She was brave and feisty, warm and untiring in her struggle. She also outlived all her family in Dundee despite the risks in the Calabar, also known as “The White Man’s Grave.” In the Calabar she is known still as “The Mother of all Peoples”, yet here her story is relatively unknown, despite featuring on the Clydesdale Bank £5 note!

With biographical story, song and personal insight, Ruth Kirkpatrick weaves the threads of Mary’s remarkable life, into a rich tapestry, to commemorate the centenary of her death.

Born in the North East of Scotland, Ruth Kirkpatrick has performed at Storytelling festivals all over, including India, Singapore, Iceland and Dubai. Her strength is in forming a warm rapport with her audience, respecting the tradition but giving her performance a personal, feisty sparkle

Mary Slessor lecture @WEndChristmas @McManusDundee

There was a good turnout earlier tonight for the Mary Slessor lecture at Dundee West Church’s Friendship Hall, held as part of West End Christmas Fortnight
Carly Cooper, Social History Curator at the McManus Art Gallery and Museum, gave a very interesting presentation and there was a lively question and answer session thereafter.     I am very grateful to Carly for participating in this event and also to Paola McClure of WestFest, who kindly chaired the meeting.
Rev Andrew Greaves also gave an update on the forthcoming Sheila Tennant Awards at Dundee West Church in the spirit of Mary Slessor – Andrew is pictured below addressing the event :

UK City of Culture 2017 – Dundee’s Bid is submitted!

I was very pleased this morning to be one of a large number of people (see some of whom – right) who took part in a photocall outside The McManus to celebrate the submission of Dundee’s Bid Document today to become UK City of Culture 2017.

The Bid Team has advised:

“The bid itself plays strongly to the strengths of the creative and cultural sectors in the City.  It puts forward the case that we will build on our strengths and develop a sustainable City of Culture, the legacy of which will be strong community engagement.

The bid recognises the need to close the gap between those who enjoy the benefits of the rich cultural offer that Dundee presents, and the other side of the City which is too often under-represented in the creative output of the City, or in its audiences.
Dundee’s bid argues that its development and implementation should be strongly focused on the next generation.
The outline programme for 2017 has been presented thematically:
•a celebration of the river – and the communities around the Tay Estuary;
•a celebration of the environment – connecting the City’s green spaces, a festival of the hills in and around Dundee, a beach party and an outdoor music programme;
•a celebration of the people – a homecoming for those with their roots in Dundee or those who studied in the City;
•a celebration of the light – shining a light on the future, appreciating the quality of light, night light luminaire, and bright minds.
Each of these themes will be presented as an invitation to crowd source a seasonal programme for the spring, the summer, the autumn and the winter.
Although the outcome of the stage 1 bid will not be known until the end of June, the Bid Development Group have already started further work on stage 2 and remain very focused on the the task of bringing UK City of Culture 2017 to Dundee.”
Here is a video taken from this morning’s photocall:

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust Public Appeal Launch

This morning at the McManus Galleries, I attended the launch of the Public Appeal for the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust and had the pleasure of introducing the speakers – Lord Provost John Letford, Depute Provost Lizz Mogg of Fife, Provost Ruth Leslie Melville of Angus and Stuart Morris of Balgonie, Chair of the Trust.

The launch was exceptionally well attended and after the speeches, there was an excellent showcase of Mike Gibb’s Five Pound and Twa Bairns – the musical is being brought back in 2011 in aid of the Memorial Appeal.

Here’s a couple of photos from the event – and there are a couple of videos in the article below :

Lord Provost John Letford welcomes guests – above

The Civic Guests, Stuart Morris and cast members – above

McManus Collections

The McManus Collections Unit at the former Barrack Street Museum is the new permanent home for Dundee’s History, Archaeology and Natural History Collections.


The relocation of these Collections to this facility will give more space to the main McManus Galleries and Museum in Albert Square for improved exhibition and visitor facilities when the main galleries and museum reopens.


I recently had a walk-past the Albert Square site with the City Council’s Director of Leisure & Communities and it is clear that good progress is being made with its refurbishment.


There are tours of the collections at Barrack Street today and tomorrow – to go http://www.mcmanus.co.uk/whats-on/lectures.htm to find out more