Dundee Design Festival 2017

Dundee, the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design, host its second design festival from Wed 24 – Mon 29 May 2017.

Taking place at West Ward Works the festival programme includes a stimulating series of workshops, performances, exhibitions and talks.

This year’s theme is ‘Factory Floor’. The theme acknowledges the global shift in design practice where designers and makers are blending forms of production – a mix of craftsmanship and industrial processes to create a hybrid of the very old and the very new.

To help you plan your visit programme information is listed below:

Entry to the festival is free

EXHIBITIONS – Open daily Thursday 25- Monday 29 May, 10am-5pm

Factory Floor – An exhibition celebrating makers, materials and machines.

Dundee Design Festival uses the rich backdrop of of a former print factory as context in which to describe what making means now. Featuring designers whose work embraces experimental processes and innovation in materials, ‘Factory Floor’ marks a moment in post-industrial production where craft and technology combine.

Featuring some of the most exciting and experimental design practices in the UK and abroad, ‘Factory Floor’ explores how designers are improvising with materials, mixing industrial processes with digital techniques to create new forms. Playful, raw, and hugely inspiring, ‘Factory Floor’ brings you some of the most inspiring objects and ideas emerging from studios and workshops around the country.

The exhibition brings together fourteen designers working across ceramics, furniture, interiors, jewellery, product, textiles, and healthcare design. What connects their work is a shared curiosity to test materials and explore new processes.


Annika Frye, Ariane Prin, Chalk, Dawn Youll, Florence Dwyer, Foldability, Hilary Grant, James Rigler, Lynne MacLachlan, Studio Glithero, Studio Silo, Thing Thing, and Trakke.

Print City – Print Festival Scotland, a partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts and the University of Dundee, invites you to explore a vast hand-printed city at this year’s Dundee Design Festival.

Print City will be a monumental immersive installation built from hundreds of large-scale, hand printed building blocks that come together to form an abstract urban landscape of buildings and structures.

Visitors will be able to watch the city’s buildings being constructed throughout the festival. The Print City Team will create a factory production line in the middle of West Ward Works to print striking black and white design and patterns onto the hundreds of surfaces that will make this project a dazzling spectacle. The designs contain drawings and illustrations created by the people of Dundee in a series of public workshops earlier this year. As the city take shape, audiences will be able to walk through its streets, sit in its park or watch boats leave its harbour – maybe even help to print a building of two.


CLPL: Print Your City

4pm – 6pm Free, but booking required

Suitable for Primary / Nursery (but Secondary staff always welcome). Led by DCA Learning team artists.

This hands-on print skills session will deliver on Literacy, Expressive Art, Maths and Technology outcomes. You will make prints using a variety of techniques, low-tech materials and approaches. The theme is based around our city of Dundee and we will be working with Print City’s installation of interlocking 3D shapes. A perfect session for inspiring ideas, practical approached for the classroom and thinking across the Curriculum using Creativity Skills.


5.30 – 7.30pm

Ticketed: Email contact@dundeecityofdesign.com to request tickets



Collective Architecture: Future Façade

12-1.30pm – Free: Ticketed

How can architects, designers and fabricators collaborate better to produce a range of materials and forms that are more responsive to Scotland’s urban and rural environments? Jude Barber, director of one of the country’s leading architecture studios, Collective Architecture, invites you to explore the possibilities of four key materials – brick, concrete, glass, and wood. To illustrate their design process, Collective Architecture will share examples of their architecture models for collaborative projects with artists such as Martin Boyce and Toby Paterson.

Contributors: Jude Barber, Plean Precast, Ibstock Bricks.

NCR present Live Build: Model & Make

2-3pm – Free: Ticketed

A hands-on workshop delivered by the world-class design team at technology giants NCR. A team of NCR technicians will build an ATM from scratch and against the clock whilst participants work together with designers to draw and build large-scale models that reflect the process of design innovation and product development at NCR. Visitors will gain drawing, cutting, and 3D modelling skills – all off-screen and IRL.

Vanilla Ink present Carve

3-5pm – £78: Ticketed, book here 

Founder of Vanilla Ink Studios, Kate Pickering, and jeweller Katie Lees bring you an opportunity to design and make a one-off piece of jewellery. You don’t need any experience in making or jewellery design, just a willingness to be creative. Using a range of hand tools, participants will craft a piece of jewellery from a single piece of jewellers wax. Your finished design will then be sent off to be cast in solid silver using a lost-wax casting method. When its returned, your piece will be cleaned up and sent to you in the post.


Workplace: The Connected Space

Hosted by DScreen

5pm for 5.30pm start. Free: Ticketed

A documentary focusing on an everyday setting that affects millions: the modern office.

Digital technology has radically changed how and where most of us work, but the physical spaces we work in haven’t kept up with that transformation. How can we make them better places for people to work and collaborate? How has the office evolved over the last 100 years? And do we even need offices anymore?

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized) seeks answers to these questions as he follows the design and construction of the New York headquarters of digital agency R/GA. Featuring Bob Greenberg, Norman Foster, Nick Law, Barry Wacksman, Chloe Gottlieb, Julia Goldberg, Daniel Diez, Chris West, Nikil Saval, Primo Orpilla, and many more.


Pecha Kucha Night hosted by Creative Dundee

7-10pm – £5: Ticketed, released soon.

A special factory-floor-themed Pecha Kucha night, fast-paced presentation format where speakers have just 20 images and 20 seconds per image to speak on a subject of their choosing.



DJCAD and Mozilla present Voice Works: Speech Recognition & Internet of Things

10am-3pm — free: Tickets released soon

Mozilla Foundation Open IoT Studio together with DJCAD, University of Dundee, host a day-long forum exploring speech recognition and the future of work.

What is at stake when artificial intelligence (AI) ‘always-on’ listening devices such as Alexa, the AI personality of the Amazon Echo, are always lending an ear to our every conversation?

World-leading thinkers from Mozilla Foundation Open Internet of Things (IoT) Studio and DJCAD explore the value of speech, asking where words have value, who are we working for when we start talking?

Topics include ‘Invisible Labour’, exploring the commercialisation of voice data; ‘Future Voice’, exploring gender bias in voice interfaces, such as Siri and Google Now; and ‘Internet Health’, looking at the real human work behind AI chatbots – computer programs designed to simulate conversation with human users.


Voice Works: Prototyping

3-5pm — free: Tickets released soon

A two-hour workshop exploring the future of Internet voice interactions in an increasingly connected world. As the big corporate players battle for market share in the artificial intelligence home speaker market (Amazon, Samsung, Google), who is considering what effect these always on listening devices have on domestic family life and our future interactions with the internet?

Join us as we explore how healthy our current interactions with conversational user interfaces are, and create new ideas together for a responsible, secure, healthy voice Internet. This practical workshop session will be split into chapters where three prototypes – the actor, the advisor and the agent – will inform discussion and practical tasks will allow us to co-create future scenarios for a voice based Internet of things


Singer Machine Choir

7- 8pm Tickets released soon

Alice Marra (The Hazy Janes) and celebrated folk singer Sheena Wellington lead a vast choir of voices formed of several singing groups from across the city, The Singer Machine Choir. Together they conjure the sounds of factories past and present in a haunting of machinery and work.

Over the past three months Dundee Design Festival together with local games designers Biome Collective have visited factories across the region to record the sounds of their machines. Sounds from DCA Print Studio, waxed cotton producers Halley Stevensons, Michelin tire factory, textile fabricators Scott & Fyffe, plus the terrifying clatter of textile machines on display at our neighbouring Verdant Works combine to create a rich landscape of whirrs, drones, clangs and bangs.

Filling the enormous, reverberant concrete spaces of West Ward Works, these sounds provide a cacophonous backdrop to some more pensive moments in solos borrowed from the mill songs by the famous songwriter and weaver Mary Brooksbank, and in turn by Michael Marra’s music for ‘They Fairly Mak’ Ye Work’, a 1985 play about the local jute industry who’s title and theme was inspired by Brooksbank famous lyric.

The Singer Machine Choir playfully mixes sounds of contemporary production lines with shared stories and songs of our industrial past to create a timeline of work that brings us all collectively to this point and the 21st Century city. Not to be missed.


Silo Studio Saturday

Dundee Design Festival is delighted to invite Silo Studio to take up residence in the WRKSHP for an afternoon of demonstrations, workshops and film screenings.

Silo is an experimental design practice formed by Attua Apparicio and Oscar Wanless.

Coming from backgrounds in engineering and design, the core of Silo’s work looks at industrial processes and materials, finding ways to reveal their expressive possibilities. They refer to their approach to making as “‘handmade hi-tech”, a mix of craft and technology.


Silo Studio: Spin

12-1pm – free

Silo Studio demonstrate their spectacular Newton’s Bucket machine to mould liquid in motion.

In 1689, scientist Isaac Newton conducted an experiment to test his theory of rotational movement on liquids by spinning a bucket of water suspended by a rope. The motion forced the liquid to curve up the sides of the bucket to briefly form a sunken shape. Inspired by this experiment, Silo Studio have developed a machine that spins colourful resins at high speed to form a series of strikingly patterned bowls that each uniquely capture a moment in time.


Silo Studio: Sew, Steam, Shape

1.30-4.30pm – free: Ticketed

age 8+

Silo Studio host a three-hour drop in workshop, inviting you to experiment with sewing, steaming and sculpting three-dimensional objects.

Silo will be on hand to share with you their famous manufacturing process of steaming polystyrene beads in fabric moulds. They call it NSEPS (Not So Expanded Polystyrene). Steaming causes the beads to melt, expand and fuse together, distorting their moulds to create wonderful, unexpected shapes.

Family Art Lab: Print Day

10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm. Free – just drop in. Suitable for ages 5+ in family groups

Join the Learning Team from Dundee Contemporary Arts for a series of drop-in printmaking sessions, using the ever-changing city of Dundee as our starting point. Inspired by the vast Print City installations we’ll make our own screen prints based on Print City designs, assemble some 3D models and create our own badges. Come along to print your city and make your mark.


Silo Studio: Experiments

10am–5pm – free, drop-in

Throughout the day, Dundee Design Festival will be screening a series of videos that document Studio Silos experimental processes. The films describe Silo’s hands-on approach to design and making in projects such as Newton’s Bucket, NSEPS, and Textile Moulded Glass (recently developed for Danish design brand Hay). Short, punchy, and inspiring, catch them in Gallery 3 on the ground floor throughout the day.

Maker – A documentary on the maker movement hosted by DScreen

Sponsor: Designit

6pm – Free: Ticketed

“Maker” is a feature documentary looking into the maker movement in America reforming the economy with a new wave of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together. The “Maker Movement”, sometimes called the “Third Industrial Revolution,” subverts traditional manufacturing by building on innovative concepts such as open source, local manufacturing, crowd funding, and digital fabrication. Breaking the hobbyist movement stereotype, “Maker” delves deep into this ecosystem of design and manufacturing in the Internet era.

The film explores the ideas, tools, and personalities that are driving the Maker Movement – and returns with a timely snapshot of one of the transforming influences of the current age.



James Rigler & Dawn Youll: Mould

12-1pm – free: Ticketed, Messy /suitable for ages 8+ in family groups

A mould-making workshop led by two of Scotland’s most prominent and skilled ceramicists, James Rigler and Dawn Youll. Learn different techniques of how to make plaster models and mould constructions. Make sure to bring a smock!

Foldability: Fold 

1-3pm – free: Ticketed, suitable for ages 8+in family groups

A decorative textile folding workshop. Make your own pleated tote bag with expert advice from designer and origami expert Kyla McCallum, founder of Foldability. Learn how to fold intricate patterns using cardboard moulds to form and fix complex geometric shapes into fabric, and take away a piece of stunning design.

Chalk Plaster: Cast

3-4.30pm – free: Ticketed, Messy /suitable for age 8+ in family groups

Decorative plasterers Ffion and Steven Blench, aka Chalk, share their extraordinary skills to produce contemporary plaster designs for interiors. Learn to mix and cast with plaster to produce complex interlocking designs.



Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production hosted by DScreen

Sponsor: Affinity Designer

6:30pm – Free: Ticketed

Up until just over 30 years ago, when the desktop computer debuted, the whole design production process would have been done primarily by hand, and with the aide of analog machines. The design and print industries used a variety of ways to get type and image onto film, plates, and finally to the printed page.

Graphic Means is a journey through this transformative Mad Men-era of pre-digital design production to the advent of the desktop computer. It explores the methods, tools, and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today.



Family Art Lab: Print Day

10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm. Free – just drop in. Suitable for ages 5+ in family groups

Join the Learning Team from Dundee Contemporary Arts for a series of drop-in printmaking sessions, using the ever-changing city of Dundee as our starting point. Inspired by the vast Print City installations we’ll make our own screen prints based on Print City designs, assemble some 3D models and create our own badges. Come along to print your city and make your mark.


Andrew Wasylyk: Themes for Buildings & Spaces

7-9pm – £10: Ticketed released soon

Andrew Wasylyk, the alias of Scottish writer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Mitchell, invites an intimate audience to explore his hometown of Dundee. Eight architectural sites and open spaces have inspired his recent album, “Themes for Buildings And Spaces”, in a series of instrumental compositions echoing the materials, the everyday and the romanticised memories of a post-war cityscape continually shifting and evolving throughout the decades.

In this one-off performance at West Ward Works to mark the close of Dundee Design Festival 2017, Andrew plus a nine-piece band will present a different view of a deindustrialised Dundee in an extraordinary soundtrack to the celebrated and the forgotten, the melancholic and optimistic.