Design for life change: V&A Dundee director seeks to inspire through creativity
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Design for life change: V&A Dundee director seeks to inspire through creativity

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The V&A DundeeScotland’s first major design museum – provides a “new idea” for people to discover, one that could help to "change their lives", according to director Philip Long.

The museum, which opened in September 2018, came about through a close relationship between the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum) and the University of Dundee, which includes the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, considered by some as one of the top such institutions in the UK.

"V&A Dundee is a new idea and a new institution for people to discover and explore," Long told Attractions Management.

"As a design museum, our focus is the impact design has on everyone. I want to help people understand how important design and creativity is to us all. It will be vital to make opportunities for people – especially the youth community – that might change their lives. People can excel in so many ways – that may not always be through the conventional education system – but by seeing great design and getting involved in design and creativity, they may find ways to transform their future."

While the V&A in London has assisted with putting together content for the Dundee site, V&A Dundee has its own team focused on developing exhibits. Among the permanent galleries can be found the “largely unknown” international story of Scottish design, helping to provide an important "deep-rooted connection" with the local community, said Long.

Having set a target of 500,000 visitors over the first 12 months after opening, the V&A Dundee attracted 27,000 people in its first week and passed the 100,000 mark inside the first month.

In 2019, the museum plans a "spectacular" exhibit celebrating the design and culture of contemporary videogames, titled Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, which will be the first exhibition to fully consider the complexity of video games as one of the most important design fields of our time, with an estimated 2.2 billion people playing videogames worldwide today.

A programme of events, talks, commissions and learning workshops will accompany the exhibition, inspired by video game design that will reflect the local expertise of Scottish designers, companies and academics in the field. This includes a commission to develop a digital game for the V&A Dundee website, open to designers with a link to Scotland, and exploring character development and the idea of self in video games.

Running from April to September, this will be followed by a brand new exhibition to the UK, examining the current boom in robotics. Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine will run from November 2019 to late February 2020, and will look at the science and fiction of robots and how they are changing the world we live in.

In the museum’s Michelin Design Gallery, there will be an exhibition of the work of Glasgow-based designer Gabriella Marcella, founder of RISOTTO, who will create an installation exploring the principles of learning through play and how creativity can be supported by the defining constraints of material and colour.

To read more about the V&A Dundee, including words from its architect Kengo Kuma, check out the Q4 2018 edition of Attractions Management).

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The V&A Dundee – Scotland’s first major design museum – provides a “new idea” for people to discover, one that could help to "change their lives", according to director Philip Long.
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