Schools Programme

Before opening, our national Schools Programme was vital in extending the reach and impact of V&A Dundee


The Bonnet Makers Project helped 50 children from Dundee become 21st century hat designers.

The Primary 4 pupils, from Our Lady’s and Rosebank Primary Schools, live in an area formerly known as Bonnethill. Traditionally, craftsmen would make and sell bonnets from outside their houses here so, supported by the 9 Incorporated Trades of Dundee, this project allowed the young designers to investigate their local design history with a real purpose: to inspire their own contemporary hat design.

Top Scottish milliners, Sally-Ann Provan and Pea Cooper, guided them through the process with regular visits to the schools. Family members soon became involved in the project as they were asked to model the hats the children had designed for them. Dads, aunties, sisters and mums found themselves on a ‘hatwalk’ under lights and music in front of a live audience. A real challenge, but a great celebration of what had been achieved through the project!

Schools Design Challenge

Schools Design Challenge was V&A Dundee's first schools project for S1 pupils enabling them to get involved in using design to change their everyday environment. The challenge encouraged pupils to work in teams to develop exciting and creative solutions to real problems relevant to them, and in doing so, become agents of change. The challenge, which was open to all S1 pupils across all subjects, in both Dundee and Angus, asked 'How would you improve your school?'

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Over 1000 pupils in 250 teams submitted an idea and our judging panel had the difficult task of selecting just 10 to attend the Design Jam. This was an all-day event where each team worked with a professional designer, using the design process and a range of materials to develop their idea and create a prototype. During the day, pupils also had the chance to go in to the Design Diary Room and chat about their idea, how they came up with it, what it was like working with a designer and how they were finding the day. At the end each team presented to the whole group, discussing the process, solutions and designs they created.

Time Capsule

Our national Time Capsule challenge invited pupils studying for a qualification in Higher Design and Manufacture to design a time capsule to celebrate the construction of V&A Dundee. An amazing 160 Scottish secondary schools signed up to take part.

The winning student was Luisa Geddes from The Community School of Auchterarder. Read more about Luisa.

These formed part of our programme before we opened along with a range of community and national projects. Take a look at some other past projects.

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