We’re filling the V&A with artists who embody Michael Clark's rebellious energy - Nichol Keene

Museums connect people with the past, encourage us to question our present, and consider how we can shape our collective futures. Bringing people together is a critical part of our approach at V&A Dundee. Through public programme we bring audiences face-to-face with leading and emerging designers, artists, musicians, and performers to explore design from a multitude of perspectives.

Michael Clark in Because We Must from 1987
Michael Clark in Because We Must from 1987

Developing the public programme for our newest exhibition has been a wonderful opportunity to engage with the work of ground-breaking Scottish dancer and choreographer Michael Clark. An iconoclast, a rebel, and a technically brilliant dancer, Michael Clark’s post-punk energy and subcultural influences traverse punk, fashion and London’s club culture and have established his radical presence in cultural history.

From musicians like The Fall to designers such as Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark pulls collaborators from all disciplines to design and create innovative and boundary pushing productions which have challenged and continue to challenge society’s expectations of gender, sexuality and more.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Contemporary Glaswegian fashion designer, illustrator, stylist, and radical creative Charles Jeffrey works with a similar cross-disciplinary creative energy. Together Charles and I are co-curating Tay Late: Because We Must, an after-hours, one-night-only event drawing on themes from our current exhibition on Michael Clark.

Charles Jeffrey runs LOVERBOY, an internationally renowned fashion house and a cult club night, both founded in 2014. Charles, like Michael Clark, surrounds himself with a tribe of friends and creative collaborators – artists, performers, musicians, drag queens and poets who contribute to the egalitarian spirit of LOVERBOY. It’s through years of chance encounters and fleeting introductions that these networks develop, sometimes leading to life-long creative partnerships.

From what we wear to the things we surround ourselves with, design is everywhere – from the everyday to the extraordinary, it can help us shape and express our identities. As well as being deeply collaborative, both Charles Jeffrey and Michael Clark play with the transformative power of costume and make-up to question contemporary ideas around identity.

Tay Late: Because We Must invites audiences to explore design, the museum, and our exhibitions in unexpected ways, expanding ideas and creating space to debate and discuss. Charles and I are assembling a community of contemporary and emerging designers, DJs, artists, dancers to fill V&A Dundee with the rebellious energy and sense of urgency embodied by Michael Clark.

We are incredibly excited to be working with a diverse group of collaborators and contributors, many of whom have never worked with each other or the museum before. As Scotland’s design museum we are committed to championing past, present and future designers. Through ambitious programming like this, we hope to shape opportunities and spark conversations which are vital for the next generation of creatives to develop bold ideas and risk-taking work.

Nichol Keene is Creative Programmer at V&A Dundee. Tay Late: Because We Must will take place on Friday 27 May. Find out more at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.