V&A Dundee

New national design role announced

V&A Dundee will develop into Scotland’s centre for design over the next three years, supported by the Scottish Government and looking to the role of design in Scotland’s long-term economic and social recovery from COVID-19.

V&A Dundee will enhance its unique role as Scotland’s design museum by developing a national remit as Scotland’s centre for design, working in partnership locally, nationally and internationally to champion the value of design, to position design as one of Scotland’s greatest resources, and to develop Scotland’s design capacity as a nation.

A number of new design partnerships will be announced later this year, building on the success of existing V&A Dundee projects including:

Design for Business, working with organisations across Scotland to apply design skills to social or business challenges. Schools Design Challenge, working with secondary schools to empower pupils to solve problems affecting their lives. Sewing Box for the Future, working with the University of Dundee to address the crisis of waste in the fashion industry. Working with Alzheimer Scotland to deliver digital activities for people with dementia and their carers. Community outreach and skills development, including working with Dundee charity Front Lounge to train young parents for an SQA qualification in textiles.

The museum’s world-class exhibitions and public programme will continue to innovate and captivate audiences, sparking debate about the possibilities that design can bring and the many different ways that design enriches all our lives.

The Scottish Government is providing additional funding of £2 million a year for three years to support V&A Dundee’s operations as both Scotland’s design museum and centre for design, in addition to its current commitment of £1 million a year. This new funding will provide long-term financial sustainability for V&A Dundee and protect museum jobs.

The international design museum has welcomed over 1 million visitors since it first opened in September 2018 and had an economic impact of £75 million for Scotland in its first year.

This three-year funding demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to design as a way to imagine, and achieve, better outcomes for all. Design is central to Scotland’s ambitions to be greener, fairer and more equal, supporting innovation across sectors, developing critical, curious and inquiring minds, and addressing complex challenges.

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.”

Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “V&A Dundee is unique in Scotland as a place to explore and enjoy design of the past, present and future, and as a catalyst for new thinking, innovation and debate.

“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.

“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.”

Tim Allan, Chair of the Board of V&A Dundee, said: “As an incredibly young organisation V&A Dundee has already proved itself to be a major cultural and economic force, bringing world-class exhibitions to Tayside and providing a massive boost to the regional and national economy.

“V&A Dundee is a catalyst for transformation and this support enables V&A Dundee to be at the fore of Dundee and Scotland’s reopening and recovery. I am hugely excited as the museum steps into its next chapter and would like to thank the Scottish Government for its long-term support of this transformational organisation.

“This new investment reinforces our role as an advocate for the power of design to enrich lives across our nation, as well as sharing historic, contemporary and future Scottish design globally.”

The creation of V&A Dundee was supported by the Scottish Government, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Dundee City Council, the UK Government, Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, University of Dundee, Abertay University and many trusts, companies and private donors. The Scottish Government contributed £38 million to the construction of the £80.11 million building.

The museum will 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. Night Fever: Designing Club Culture at V&A Dundee is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Image credit: Focus Frame Photography