Light bulb moment inspires dazzling exhibition

13 August 2014

16 – 29 August 2014, Hannah Maclure Centre, Dundee (Mon–Fri 10am–5pm / Sat–Sun 12–4pm)

Have you ever wanted a sly keek into your neighbour’s living room? What is it about design that makes your living room personal to you and your friends and family? Isn’t good design, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? These are some of the questions posed by V&A Museum of Design Dundee as part of its first community engagement programme Living Room for the City.

During the four months the project has been running, hundreds of people have shared photographs of their rooms and favourite objects, while more than two-hundred have made their own stylish lights for their living rooms at a series of free workshops held across the city. Now, a free public exhibition is opening featuring this work at Dundee’s Hannah Maclure Centre from Saturday. Visitors will be able to see specially commissioned photographs by Ross Fraser McLean, as well as the hand-crafted lights and many individual photographs that have been uploaded by the public.

Sarah Saunders, Head of Learning and Engagement for V&A Dundee, has been bowled over by the response to the project. “The public have been absolutely fantastic and really entered into the spirit of this programme, and the exhibition will look through the keyhole to celebrate and showcase their hard work. The living room photographs will be updated during the exhibition, and the amazing lights made by the public will be on display around the room.

“It’s been fascinating to see what people do in their living rooms; from Highland dancing, to singing and playing instruments or video games. The lights made have been really diverse with people adding words to them that they associate with their homes, such as ‘imagine’, ‘together’, ‘glow’, and ‘happy’. It has been a fun project but there is also a serious message behind it, that everyone can be creative with design without having to spend lots of money on expensive items.”

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to make their own lanterns, a hanging version of the table-top lights on display, as part of the free family workshops which take place over the opening and closing weekends of the exhibition, 16 – 17 and 23 – 24 August.

The bright idea that inspired the project came from V&A Dundee architect, Kengo Kuma, who describes his vision of the building as a “living room for the city”. Sarah Saunders says that through the project, the community engagement team has been able to connect with a wide range of people from all walks of life.

“It’s been hugely exciting to see the way people have really engaged with the process of design, some of them for the first time in their life. The project has encouraged people to think about how design impacts on their lives and the spaces they live in, as well as share their thoughts and ideas about design with friends and families. We are immensely grateful for the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery in making the project and exhibition happen.”

Living Room for the City is the first V&A Dundee project to benefit from funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. On behalf of its players the charity lottery presented the Museum with a cheque for £100,000 for community outreach in January this year, and the success of Living Room for the City has led to a further £50,000 to be pledged in June towards future community activities.

*The Living Room for the City exhibition takes place at the Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University, Top Floor, Abertay Student Centre, 1 - 3 Bell Street, DD1 1HP, 16 – 29 August with free family workshops and activities: 2-4pm on Sat 16, Sun 17, Sat 23 and Sun 24 August 2014.

For further information please contact Susan Nickalls or Victoria Ancell on 0131 557 5252 or email

Notes for Editors:

Living Room for the City workshop collaborators:

About the Hannah Maclure Centre (

The Hannah Maclure Centre was created through a bequest which was gifted to Abertay University by the family of Hannah Maclure, an exceptional student who had a passion for the arts. The centre, which was opened in her honour in 2005, encompasses her passion for art and enriches the university experience for students, staff and local people. This unique cultural facility produces annual art happenings, exhibitions, community and digital events, and our cultural programme supports Abertay’s teaching and research activity. The centre's aim is to foster a sociable approach to experiencing art, film and performance. All our events and exhibitions are free and open to the public.

About People’s Postcode Lottery (

• People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for charities and good causes local to them.

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