A group of people standing in front of a tapestry.

Dundee Tapestry to return to V&A Dundee

Free-to-use images available

The hugely popular Dundee Tapestry will return to V&A Dundee, Scotland’s design museum, later this year following an enormously positive public reaction.

Over 80,000 people have visited V&A Dundee since the full Dundee Tapestry first went on display in January 2024. It was originally scheduled to close this Sunday 28 April but now, due to popular demand, will return to display later this summer after a short break.

The tapestry, which depicts the history of the city across 35 panels which were stitched by over 140 volunteers, will be taken down from display after this weekend to allow for conservation checks and repairs. A new date for it returning to V&A Dundee will be announced in the coming weeks.

The project was conceived and developed by John Fyffe MBE of the Weaver Incorporation of Dundee, one of the city’s Nine Incorporated Trades, and Dr Frances Stevenson, senior lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The panels were designed by Andrew Crummy MBE, the artist behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland, supported by Dr Stevenson.

John Fyffe MBE said: “The Dundee Tapestry is a form of visual storytelling which tells the amazing history of our city. At its core are Dundee women who have made a significant contribution to this, including the highs and lows, the hardships and hopes.

“An immense amount of time and dedication has gone into this large-scale community project and we are all incredibly proud of what has been achieved together. The core team and volunteer stitchers have worked tirelessly, even finding ways to work on the tapestry throughout the pandemic.

“None of us could have foreseen how popular the Dundee Tapestry would become, where over 80,000 people have come through the doors of V&A Dundee to see the panels and share the stories contained within.

“When V&A Dundee opened its mission was to become ‘the living room for the city’. We believe that the tapestry has allowed this to happen, where conversations have taken in places and spaces throughout, old friendships rekindled and new friends made.

“We are delighted that V&A Dundee is extending the exhibition from the summer so that more people can witness these amazing panels.”

Joanna Mawdsley, Head of Learning at V&A Dundee, said: “Seeing the huge popularity of the Dundee Tapestry has been one of the most exciting experiences since opening V&A Dundee back in 2018, as local people have embraced this incredible creative project in their thousands.

“The amount of work and the skill of the volunteer stitchers has brought joy to visitors of all ages, whether it’s primary school children learning about their city’s history or locals reminiscing about the Dundee they grew up in – or spotting themselves in the panels!

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Dundee Tapestry back for a second time later this year due to popular demand, after a short break for conservation.”

The stories illustrated in the Dundee Tapestry reach far beyond the well-known headlines of jute, jam and journalism. Drawing on stories and experiences of Dundee’s communities from the mid-19th century to today, the panels explore the city’s industrial heritage, its creative achievements, its biodiversity and its people from 1850 through to the present day.

The Dundee Tapestry reveals the city’s past, present and future through eight illustrative themes which include Communities, Nature, Industry, Women, Education, Culture and Creative, International and Futures.

Some of the detail visitors have seen include the Dundee Culture panel, reflecting on Dundonians’ resilience and collective sense of humour which includes a selection of embroidered words and phrases in Dundee dialect.

Individual panels dedicated to Nature, Botanic Gardens and The Eden Project sit alongside a Health panel, dedicated to some of the medical firsts achieved within the city, as well as celebrating health professionals who have transformed medical practices for people across the world, in specialisms as diverse as keyhole surgery, midwifery, ophthalmology and radiotherapy.

Dundee Women, The Four Marys and She Town are three panels which recognise women of Dundee who made their mark on the city and the world. She Town pays homage to women who may not have received the recognition in their lifetimes, including welder Bella Keyzer, suffragettes Ethel Moorhead and Lila Clunas, and councillor Agnes Husband.

Creativity and Culture in Dundee is depicted through individual panels dedicated to Comics and Characters, Gaming, Theatre and Writers, Music and Dancehalls, and Sporting Dundee, with a panel dedicated to Lochee-born singer-songwriter Michael Marra.

Dundee’s strong international connections are spotlighted in panels dedicated to Dundee’s twin cities and influence on the world. As Dundee’s linen industry grew, the proceeds were inextricably linked to the enslavement of people from Africa and the Indies. The Osnaburg Linen panel acknowledges the links between Dundee and the business of enslavement in the city’s history. The panel depicts links that exist today through the city’s statues, buildings and street names.

The UNESCO City of Design panel reflects on some of the important milestones that have contributed to Dundee’s design renaissance, including Maggie’s Centre at Ninewells Hospital designed by architect Frank Gehry in 2003, Dundee becoming the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design in 2014 and the city welcoming V&A Dundee in 2018.