You’ve just moved to ‘Britain’s Coolest Little City’ according to Forbes magazine, Dundee. You enjoy music, art, crafts, theatre and you’re interested in getting involved with the creative scene but just don’t know where to start. We’ve all been there so I’m here to help you get started! First, don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if you decide it’s not for you there’s no harm in trying and hey, you might even learn a new skill or two along the way! Second, get out there! Find out what’s happening across the city- a great way to do this is through social media. I recently made a Twitter account and I can’t express enough how much it has benefited me creatively. People you should follow to find out what’s happing in and around Dundee are @dundeecity, @DesignDundee and of course @Creative_Dundee. I believe the best way to engage with other creatives in your new home away from home is to begin with Creative Dundee.
Creative Dundee is a network that connects creatives, and helps them sustain and amplify their work within the city. The organisation began in 2013, before this it began as a side project where Gillian Easson would blog about opportunities for creative people in the city. What a way to show the power of social media! Creative Dundee now host fantastic events to inspire creatives from all backgrounds. Two of the events I would highlight are the Make/ Share event and the Pecha Kucha night. I would encourage anyone to attend either of these events, if you are a creative or not they are loads of fun and you can learn a great deal from participating.
Claire Dufour is one of the three core cogs in the Creative Dundee machine who works alongside Gillian Easson and Diarmid Mackinnon to make these events possible. I was lucky enough to interview Claire to get more of an insight into her job and to get her top tips on getting involved! When I asked Claire about who has inspired her in Dundee, the answer was uplifting.
“The whole community. Nothing is too big, nothing is too complicated, nothing is too far away and everything is fun you want to be part of that community because it seems like a really, really fun playground.”
In my experience, I have found this statement to be true. Dundee has one of the closest knit, supportive communities I have seen within a city. Claire’s favourite part of her job is to “make things happen and bring people together”. I think this is evident by the creation of the Make Share events which have been a great success for Creative Dundee.
Claire’s Top Tips for Getting Involved-
- Just go for it!
- If you’re open enough and there’s enough open projects, just get involved!
- Certainly, going to Pecha Kucha or Make Share, it is a good beginning because it is really informal.
Make Share events are a fantastic way to start your creative involvement. Not only are they a great way to share and learn about each other’s work, you are encouraged to give others an insight to what goes on behind the scenes in your practice. This turns the event into a unique interactive experience. If that doesn’t tempt you enough, you get a free beer on arrival! You can’t do better than that. This is the event Claire enjoys most and here’s why-
“It’s never the same people coming. I really like this event as well because it gives an opportunity for creatives to talk about their work, and because I’m taking care of the curation process I know who they are, I choose them and I’m always interested in finding the people that are not comfortable to speak in public but actually benefit very much from doing it. I really like to give that opportunity to people, to talk about their work to other people.”
There was a special version of the make share event for my first experience. It was the Local Hero’s meets Make Share. This included a group of Scottish designers from different backgrounds who are all professionals in their fields. This made the event exciting and inspiring as these individuals could discuss their journey from start to finish and how they achieved their goals. It was an amazing night and I for one, can’t wait for the next Make Share event!
The Pecha Kucha night is another wonderful event run by Creative Dundee. It provides a platform for creatives to showcase their practice on a larger scale than the Make Share; 20 seconds and 20 slides. Claire told me they expect around 300 to 400 people to attend this event every year. So why should you attend the Pecha Kucha night?
“Going to Pecha Kucha is a really good beginning because there is a really informal, social set up, so that is easy for you to just grab someone and say I really liked your talk can we meet for a coffee or something. Just go for it!”
What I think adds a refreshing twist to this event is the variety of speakers. Some of the talks I listened to at my first Pecha Kucha included artists talking about their work, an actor talking about the art of drag and a table football champion. The diversity of speakers kept the crowd alive throughout the night, itching to see who and what would come next. It truly is an event not to be missed!
I hope my personal insight and experience with Creative Dundee has shown you why it’s a great idea to get involved. Remember to just go for it! There really is nothing to lose, but so much to gain! If you would like any more information on the events run by Creative Dundee or the organization itself, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Claire Dufour at firstname.lastname@example.org she is very approachable and keen to help creatives in the city. Now go and create yourself in Dundee!
-Article written by Georgia Barr (@georgiasdesigns)