The Queen meets community designers in Dundee

06 July 2016

Her Majesty The Queen met participants in the V&A Dundee Community Garden project today (Wednesday 6 July) during a visit to officially open Slessor Gardens.

Four of the community co-designers who have been working with V&A Dundee met the Queen, along with V&A Dundee Director Philip Long and Communities Producer Peter Nurick who has led the garden project.

The V&A Dundee Community Garden will be a new communal space within Slessor Gardens, at the heart of Dundee’s regenerated waterfront and beside the site of the new museum.

The project has worked with people living with – and recovering from – a range of health and wellbeing issues, in collaboration with Art Angel, an organisation run by and for people with experience of mental health difficulties in Dundee.

Her Majesty spoke to some of the community co-designers who have been developing ideas for the new garden, which will be built over the summer of 2016 by a team of over 100 volunteers.

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “Our Community Garden project has shown how design can help improve lives, particularly by giving people the opportunity to shape the world around them and harness their own creative potential.

“Meeting the Queen is a great honour for everyone involved with V&A Dundee, and wonderful recognition of the contribution our community has made to designing this new and inspiring garden.”

Peter Nurick, Communities Producer, added: “Over the last few months I’ve seen first-hand how involving people in a design project can help build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as giving us a huge amount of insight into what a new community garden needs to be an enjoyable, relaxing space to spend time in.

“My work involves getting out into all the different communities in Dundee, developing design projects and talking about why I feel V&A Dundee matters for the city. I think the Community Garden project shows how much of an impact design can have, especially when members of the community are leading the project as co-designers.”

Over the past three months, 20 members of the public have taken part in the project across seven workshops developed and delivered by the design studio kennedytwaddle and design engagement specialist Linsey McIntosh, with the support of landscape architects Macfarlane and Associates.

The workshops have been part of a co-design process between the community groups and the professional designers, including creating miniature gardens, visiting allotments to learn how people use gardens to rest and relax, a trip to Dundee Botanic Gardens to learn about different types of plants, and sketching designs in two and three dimensions.

The V&A Dundee Community Garden was supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the Rank Foundation.