Dundee Design Trip: Senior Pupils Visit The City Of Discovery

A group of our S4, S5 and S6 pupils recently visited Dundee along with Miss Anderson, Miss Kennedy and Mr Ross. Miss Anderson tells us more:

The group visited the Verdant Works Jute Museum; a world class visitor attraction which tells the story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage in the atmospheric setting of a beautifully refurbished mill building. They were able to hear the tales of the mill workers, hear the machines at work, and see how they lived and worked in an industry which enveloped Dundee.

They then visited V & A Dundee; an international centre of design, which presents the brilliance of Scottish creativity and the best of design from around the world. The V & A has only been open for a few months, with the official opening being the week previous to our visit – opened by Prince William and Kate. This was a fantastic experience for both pupils and staff. Pupils attended a Product Design workshop where they had to design and model a new product taking inspiration from something that they had seen in the V & A galleries. Some of the pupils who have studied Design and Manufacture in  school were familiar with working on a design task like this, whereas  it challenged the others to push them out of their comfort zone and develop their creativity. It was great to see their inventions and what better place to carry out such a design task than a place of inspiration, discovery and learning. The V & A has several galleries exploring Scotland’s design heritage: past, present and future. It was exciting to see that there is a small section on Caithness, where an ex-Thurso High School pupil is featured in working on a project called ‘Caith Wilder Ness’. This project was to design an app advertising tourist attractions in Caithness, and allows you to select whether you wish to drive, walk, cycle, etc. Also featured in the one of the V & A galleries was a piece of jewellery created by a former Wick High School art teacher’s daughter: a beautiful necklace designed by Beth Legg (daughter of George Legg).

Right next door to the V & A is the RSS Discovery, another award winning visitor attraction which we were fortunate enough to visit. The RSS Discovery exhibition tells the story of her beginnings in Dundee, her amazing Antarctic expedition with Captain Scott and her voyages thereafter. Pupils were given some time to explore the ship after their tour guide discussed the fascinating history of the ship.

Friday morning saw us visiting DJCAD, the Art and Design College at the University of Dundee. DJCAD has recently been voted number 1 in Scotland for Art and Design (Complete University Guide 2019).  The acting Dean of the college welcomed us and immediately engaged pupils by showing work of DJCAD graduates. For example, one DJCAD alumni has worked on the visual effects for the film ‘Inception’ and another for ‘The Hobbit’. The group were given a tour around the facilities led by current students, allowing pupils to ask about both life as a student in the university and in the city itself. Our tour covered seeing the design studios and workshop facilities for the vast variety of design courses that DJCAD offers. This really engaged our pupils who have already applied for courses here, including Product Design and Architecture, as well as inspiring those who possibly haven’t considered a design based course/career before. It was emphasised to the pupils that DJCAD courses offer a versatile learning experience for students in that they have lots of opportunities to work on projects alongside students from other disciplines, as well as experimenting with a variety of media and materials throughout their studies.

Before heading back to Wick, we visited the McManus Galleries, and gave pupils some free time to look around and explore the exhibits in the gallery. The gallery houses a museum with a natural history collection, and an art gallery with a collection of fine and decorative art.

This proved to be a very successful design trip for all involved, giving pupils an invaluable opportunity to see art and design outside the world that they are used to living in. Hopefully it has inspired pupils who have an interest in further studies in art and/or design.

Many thanks to Mr Ross, Miss Anderson and Miss Kennedy for organising such a wonderful trip.