V&A Dundee
Past Exhibition

What if…?/Scotland

Ran from 22 May 2021 to 21 November 2021
  • Dates

    Ran from 22 May 2021 to 21 November 2021

  • Thomson Learning Centre

Shared hopes, dreams and wishes for the future of the places where we live

Produced by award winning Edinburgh based architecture and design practice 7N Architects, in partnership with Architecture & Design Scotland, What if…? / Scotland seeks to re-engage the civic role of design professionals by asking communities from across Scotland to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the places they call home.

Originally designed to be staged in Venice as part of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the exhibition responds to the Biennale’s theme How will we live together?

At the start of 2020 and prior to the first nationwide lockdown, 7N paired 25 people from 5 places: Wester Hailes in Edinburgh, Paisley in Renfrewshire, Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, Elgin in Morayshire, and Lerwick in Shetland – with 25 designers, architects, and artists – to share their hopes, dreams or wishes for the future of the place where they live.

The architects and designers then used these wishes to begin exploring ideas in response to the community challenges being faced.

As we emerge from the latest lockdown, the notion of people in Scotland’s communities coming together to plan for a better future has never been more important.

This collaborative process has been captured in a series of short films by film maker Basharat Khan forming the narrative focus of the exhibition. The stories of each place, as told by its citizens and set within the rich and varied landscapes of rural and urban Scotland, are presented in an immersive environment designed by 7N Architects with O Street, with spaces for reflection and inspiration.

The exhibition at V&A Dundee will also engage with museum visitors about what they want the city of Dundee to look and feel like in the future, working together with designers, architects, and citizens throughout the duration of the show.

What If…?/ Dundee explores the hopes, dreams and wishes of local people in Dundee for the future of their city, through a series of five workshops which will be held on a monthly basis over the course of the What If? / Scotland exhibition. Each workshop will bring together 5 designers and 5 Dundee citizens to explore creative ways to make Dundee a better place. Working in pairs, each citizen will make a wish for making Dundee a better place, to which the designers will respond by creating a ‘What If’ design idea, which responds to the citizen’s wish.

The project is commissioned by the Scotland + Venice Partnership. Scotland + Venice provides architects and artists based in Scotland with a valuable platform to showcase their work on the international stage at the Venice Biennale and is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland.


Past Event

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