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Dundee Design Festival:
My Garden

Dundee, the UK's only UNESCO City of Design, hosted its first Design Festival in 2016, cementing the city's position on the map of creativity. West Ward Works, a former print works in the once industrial heart of the city played host to an ambitious programme of design activity including an exhibition featuring some of the most innovative design in the country.

The theme for Dundee’s Design Festival was ‘Place. Work. Folk. Design’, and it focused on design for health and wellbeing, and included the best of digital, games, textiles, healthcare, social design and architecture. This ground-breaking-work examined how design involves everyone, connects everything and makes anything possible.

Collaboratively,  V&A Dundee, design studio kennedytwaddle and Linsey, designed and delivered ‘My Garden’ – an interactive design-based workshop experience, running over the four-day period of the festival. It’s intention was to give festival visitors a flavour of their on-going V&A Dundee Community Garden co-design project involving community groups, using design as a positive engagement process for better health and well-being.

Festival-goers of all ages were provided with the opportunity to sample some of the project methods, using a collage technique to help them design and visualise their dream garden. The workshop was housed under a specially designed and constructed ‘potting-shed’ installation, with a V&A Dundee Community Garden exhibition providing an inspirational backdrop.

This structure ‘grew’ over the course of the festival. Visiting ‘gardeners’ interacted with it by stringing garden twine between the framework of the shed, before pegging on a card proudly displaying a Polaroid snapshot of their final design, alongside a short description of its features.

Hundreds of visitors to the ‘garden’ left with not only an exciting taster of the design process, but insights into the power of design and its ability to connect communities and improve every day lives.