Progress with V&A at Dundee

Yesterday, along with a number of other councillors and council chief officers, I attended a very informative update from Philip Long, Director of V&A at Dundee, and Sarah Saunders, the project’s Head of Learning and Engagement, on the project’s progress and the development of learning and engagement activity.
Dundee’s V&A Museum of Design is making impressive strides forward and it was good to hear of the initiatives to engage with target audiences, including :
•Schools – Onsite and digital programmes and resources for pupils aged 3-18, teachers and trainee teachers – local, national and international; group visits.
•Communities – Onsite and digital programmes and resources aimed at local communities and access and health and well-being groups.
•Outreach – Local and national projects aimed at a variety of audiences.
•Families – Local families with children aged 0-13 and national and international tourists visiting for the weekend or holidays.
•Young People – Peer-led programmes for local young people and digital activity that reaches young people across Scotland.
•Adults – Informal programmes for all levels of ability including group visits, programmes aimed specifically at creative industries and students, professional programmes and Design-led Business Innovation programmes aimed at businesses.
There is no doubt that Dundee’s V&A Museum of Design will be a superb asset to our city and bring many new visitors to Dundee.

Modern Masters in Print: Drawing with New Tools

Details of the forthcoming lecture ‘Modern Masters in Print: Drawing with New Tools’ is below.
Tickets are free but it is advisable to book via:

Concern over possible impact of Olympia delay

Yesterday’s Courier highlighted my concerns about possible impacts on the timescales for deliver of the V and A at Dundee and the wider Waterfront project of delays in the completion of the Olympia swimming pool project.
The City Council’s Director of City Development has advised me:


The phasing relationships between the Olympia demolition and the Waterfront infrastructure and the V&A at Dundee are complex, we are assessing these at present to establish if a delay will result and to what extent we can mitigate delay (if any) through reprogramming.  At present, therefore, there is no programmed delay in these projects.  
Once we have a better picture we will report to the Waterfront Board and to Design Dundee Ltd as they are the two bodies responsible for the delivery of the two projects concerned.
Mike Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council”
I have responded :
“Thanks Mike;  noted, but 2 points:
a)There is substantial interest and concern from elected members with regard to these projects, crucial to the city.   I would therefore be grateful if you can update me as soon as you are able as to what is exactly going to happen re the timescale knock-on effect of the Olympia delay.
b)What is the likely timeframe in which there will be an outcome in terms of decisions arising out of this the assessment process to establish if a delay will result and to what extent mitigation of any delay through reprogramming can be determined?”
There is a real need for clarification from Dundee City Council as a matter of urgency on the potential knock-on effects upon the V and A at Dundee and wider Waterfront projects and I will continue to press the matter.
A related matter:
Detailed proposals for the V and A at Dundee project will be on show at the University of Abertay Library on 17th, 18th and 19th January, from 10am to 4pm each day. Plans for the new site plus the latest flythrough and visuals will be on display, and visitors will be encouraged to share their views with staff across the three days. 

V&A at Dundee site changes

The revised site proposal
There has been much comment on the proposal to move the proposed V&A at Dundee building away from the river and north to the waterfront itself. 
As I  indicated in today’s CourierI sought an assurance from the City Council’s Director of City Development that the integrity of the design will remain intact. 

What would concern me would be if the change had been made purely to save money and if the visionary elements of the design had been lost.

Kengo Kuma’s design was an inspired choice and I want to make sure none of the vision is lost.

The Director of City Development has advised me that:

“The budget for the project is £45m and we are absolutely committed to that. Costings for some aspects of the work were proving to be subject to considerable risk. This new option reduces that risk substantially.  We are looking to build an extremely notable building, to good time, and on budget. I am confident we are approaching that task sensibly.
The design of the building itself is completely unchanged by the change in site.
At no stage in this project’s design has it ever been above the £45m budget.” 

Lecture to mark start of Leonardo exhibition in Dundee

Martin Kemp, one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, will give a public lecture in Dundee next Saturday (1st September) to mark the arrival in the city of a new exhibition of Leonardo’s drawings.
‘Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration from the Royal Collection’ is at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, from 31st August to 4th November.    It is the only Scottish venue hosting the exhibition.
Martin Kemp is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford and one of the world’s leading experts on Leonardo. In his public lecture at the University of Dundee on Saturday 1st September, he will explore the ways in which Leonardo’s art and science can both be understood as a remaking of nature on the basis of deep understanding of cause and effect.
In the light of this, he will demonstrate how connections can be drawn between seemingly unrelated works such as the Mona Lisa and the flying machine.
The public lecture is being hosted by V&A at Dundee in partnership with the University of Dundee and Leisure & Culture Dundee.
It takes place at 6pm on Saturday 1st September in the Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill.
Free tickets for this event are available from,, Tower Building Reception at the University, or by calling 385564 or385108.
A drinks reception will follow this event. Please note that overflow theatres may be in operation.

Dundee Economic Summit

Yesterday, I took part – along with nearly 300 others from local businesses, the education sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the public sector and many others – in the Dundee Economic Summit.   See right.

Organised by the Dundee Partnership, it was a very positive morning spent discussing the economic future of our city – and all the positive developments in Dundee – including V&A at Dundee and the Waterfront development.

I had the opportunity to seek assurances that Dundee Rail Station will be upgraded and redeveloped before the V&A at Dundee opens and was pleased to receive that assurance.