Dundee’s V&A Museum of Design for national status

Artist's impression of the V&D once it is completed. Picture: Contributed
Artist's impression of the V&D once it is completed. Picture: Contributed
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DUNDEE’S new multi-million V&A attraction is to be promoted as a national museum, officials behind the project have revealed.

It is the first time the project, which has been some seven years in the planning stages, has been given national status.

The team behind what will be the UK’s first design museum outside of London have also confirmed work on the £45 million waterfront museum is expected to begin “early next year”.

But they admitted the long-time cost of the project, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, was yet to be finalised with the contractors ahead of work getting underway on site.

The announcements were made as it emerged V&A Dundee will go on a nationwide roadshow to promote both the promote and some of Scotland’s leading design talent next year.

Earlier this month city council leaders predicted the attraction would have the same impact on Dundee’s economy as the vast Guggenheim attraction had on the Spanish city of Bilbao.

Around 7000 new jobs are to be created in the waterfront area over the next 15-20 years on the back of the opening of V&A Dundee, which is expected to attract up to 350,000 visitors a year once it is properly up and running, and around half a million people in its opening year.

It is hoped blockbuster exhibitions like those devoted to Hollywood costumes and rock icon David Bowie, both of which had attracted huge crowds to the V&A in London, will be staged each year at the Dundee museum.

Fashion and design is already due to enjoy a raised profile at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh when new galleries are due to open in 2016.

Next year’s V&A Dundee roadshow - which will visit 78 locations over 17 weeks next year - will explore how leading designers and design companies are using digital technology in work ranging from computer gaming, jewellery and fashion.

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Exhibits, designers and members of the team involved in the £45 million project will be visiting art colleges, schools, community centres and libraries between February and June. Among the locations being visited on the tour are Lewis, Harris, Skye, Fort William, Oban, Campbeltown, Elgin and Galashiels.

Tara Wainwright, V&A Dundee’s marketing manager, said: “One of the ideas behind doing a tour like this was really to underline to people that we really are a national museum for the whole of Scotland.

“We’re based in Dundee, we’re enormously proud of that, but we are a national museum. We thought a tour that visits all the cities, but also covers the length and breadth of Scotland, will really allow us to show people that and we are for everybody.”

Sarah Saunders, head of learning and engagement at V&A Dundee, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to do a project of this scale before we open the building, although we feel that we’re already open.

“We’re a museum without walls, we’re already programming and working on reaching a lot of people. We hope this project reflects our ambitions for the museum and the work we want to do once we are open.

“We will always be doing projects in different parts of Scotland.”

Edinburgh-based designer Geoff Mann, one of the designers whose work will be showcased on the V&A Dundee tour, said: “For me, the V&A in Dundee is going to create great exposure for Scottish design, but it will be a lot more than that, it will be showing design in Scotland.

“It will also look at why people have come to Scotland - we have amazing facilities here. We are a small nation, but we can make anything.

“The V&A Dundee will almost be an epicentre and a hub where you can tap into, and a catalyst where you can start ideas.”

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