V&A Dundee to become national centre for design - Museums Association

V&A Dundee to become national centre for design

Museum will receive £2m a year to expand its remit to develop Scotland’s design capacity
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Geraldine Kendall Adams
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The museum has welcomed more than a million visitors since it opened in 2018
The museum has welcomed more than a million visitors since it opened in 2018

The Scottish government is investing £2m a year to enable V&A Dundee to become a national centre for design.

Over the next three years the institution will: develop a new remit to champion the value of design; grow Scotland’s design capacity; and explore the role of design in the nation’s long-term economic and social recovery from Covid.

The institution will announce a series of local, national and international partnerships later this year. These aim to build on the success of existing V&A Dundee projects such as Design for Business, which sees the museum work with organisations to apply design skills to business and social challenges.

It also runs the Schools Design Challenge, where the museum works with school pupils to empower them to solve problems, and Sewing for the Future, which addresses the waste crisis in the fashion industry.

Traditional sewing skills are the focus of Sewing for the Future, a V&A Dundee project addressing the crisis of waste in the fashion industry. Pictured (from left): sisters Zoe and Grace Fletcher learning new skills from project curator Jen Ballie

The £2m a year will support V&A Dundee’s operations as both a museum and centre for design over the next three years, and comes in addition to the government’s current commitment of £1m a year. The new funding will provide long-term financial sustainability for V&A Dundee and protect jobs at the museum. 

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Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Creativity and design sit at the heart of Scottish life and play a critical role in the economy, communities and almost everything we do. Since opening in 2018, V&A Dundee has become an important part of Scotland’s cultural life and has played a unique role as Scotland’s design museum. 

“This collaborative project is an exciting development for V&A Dundee as it continues on its mission to champion design by becoming Scotland’s centre for design – extending the museum’s reach and inspiring creativity and innovation. 

“By developing national partnerships with organisations and businesses across Scotland, V&A Dundee will contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery by promoting the benefits and value of good design.” 

A participant in the Schools Design Challenge

Leonie Bell, the director of V&A Dundee, said: “Design is one of the most accessible forms of creativity, it is a way to understand the world and to change it for the better, and Scotland’s rich history shows us that design brings progress, meaning and joy.

"Design has the potential and the power to improve lives and places in countless different ways, including giving people the agency, skills and confidence to change the world around them. 

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“We believe that design offers Scotland huge potential as its looks to its recovery after the pandemic. I am hugely grateful to the Scottish government for its continued role as the principal supporter of V&A Dundee and I look forward to working together to explore the national potential of design, and to expanding and deepening the museum’s reach well beyond its iconic walls.” 

The museum has welcomed more than a million visitors since it first opened in September 2018. It is due to reopen later in 2021 with Night Fever: Designing Club Culture, the first large-scale examination of the relationship between club culture and design, charting the evolution of nightclubs from the 1960s to today.

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