Dundee Design Parade


Last month I spent some time away from the bench to do work for Dundee UNESCO City of Design, in the run-up to Dundee's first Design Parade.  The parade was organised in collaboration with Scotland’s Year Of Young People and celebrated Dundee's place in UNESCO's global City of Design Network.

In preparation for the Dundee's Design Parade, I traded my workbench for a high school classroom, community centre and church hall where I met and worked with three wonderful youth groups in Dundee: Allsorts, Police Scotland Youth Volunteers and pupils from St Paul's Academy.  Each group was matched with another UNESCO City of Design from around the world and given objects or messages of inspiration from the city to help them create work for the parade.


The PYSV Juniors took inspiration from UNESCO City of Design, Montreal. Montreal sent a selection of "mini hockey sticks in all colours to entertain the little and big sportsmen" by the city of Montreal.  Des Enfantillages designed the sticks as part of Code Souvenir Montreal, an initiative that promotes the Montreal's creativity through a catalogue of items symbolic of the city. The mini hockey sticks are extremely popular, especially amongst kids and can be used inside while on your knees.

Since Montreal is a hockey city, with almost everyone in Montreal playing hockey on the streets, at home or in an arena the group chose to stay with the ice hockey theme and made their very own ice hockey helmets! We made the helmets using papier mache and decorated them with designs inspired by both the Canadian and Montreal flags as well as Montreal’s vibrant street art.


Young people from LGBT Youth Scotland group, Allsorts were inspired by the city of Brasilia. Brazil’s Carnival known for its over-the-top costumes, extravagant parades and week-long street parties, is celebrated not only in Brazil but all over the world.  It is believed to have originated as a food festival in the early 1600s when followers of the Roman Catholic Church would indulge in food, fun and alcohol on the last day before the start of Lent. Fascinated by Brazil's carnival culture, they created vibrant carnival costumes. With an explosion of colour and glitter, Allsorts brought Carnival to Dundee by designing and making colourful headpieces, masks and giant feather wings!


Inspired by the city of Kobe, pupils at St Paul's Academy designed Japanese theatre style masks. In Japanese theatre, stylised masks and thick makeup help to convey emotions. In Kabuki theatre, actors use elaborate makeup and symbolic colours to indicate a character's age, gender, and class as well as their moods and personalities.  In Noh theatre, intricately carved masks are used to represent ghosts, women and children. While some of the pupils made masks inspired by traditional Japanese theatre designs, others opted to take inspiration from Kobe's giant robot statue, Tetsujin 28.  Tetsujin-28 is a 59-ft statue honouring the 15th anniversary of the Great Hanshin earthquake. The figure acts as a symbol to commemorate the strength and resilience of the communities affected by the hurricane. The pupils created an incredible range of individual masks each taking something different from Japan's diverse culture.

On Saturday 26th May, alongside 500 young people from more than 30 youth groups across Dundee, my three groups showcased their work in Dundee's Design Parade. The parade was a celebration of the young people of Dundee and was an incredible opportunity for them to showcase their talents and creativity.  I had a fabulous time working with each group and it was such a joy to see them proudly showing off their artwork during the parade. Hats off to everyone involved!