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Dundee Design Festival

Creatives have descended upon the Keiller Shopping Centre for Dundee Design Festival.

The space has been transformed with 14 unique activity centres including a photography booth, a temporary studio, a library, and various areas to play and learn about the intricacies of design.

The festival has been produced by design firm Agency of None, made up of Lyall Bruce and Ryan McLeod. Lyall explains: “We all have memories of the shopping centre as kids, but we found that around 60% of the spaces were unoccupied. We thought we would like to do something and make an experience.”

Lyall Bruce

Over in space seven, ‘Subject To Availability’, Steph Liddle is working hard. Members of the public can come and chat to a variety of designers in the space throughout the festival, sort of like an open studio. Steph, who works with ceramics, is making her ‘moment cups’. She explains; “They are multi-functional cups. You can use them at home or you can use them on the go, or you can take them somewhere to have a moment and slow down.” The cups, like many of the designs featured in the show, will be available to purchase.

Steph Liddle

Speaking of purchasing, in the ‘Make Bank’ people are being invited to support efforts to provide drawing and crafting materials to school children, and fight creative poverty. There are posters for sale or people can donate money towards, say, a set of watercolour paints or some pencil sharpeners. There’s also a more formal shop in the ‘Design Superstore’.

Over in the ‘Living Library’ there is a space for freelance creatives to work, with free WiFi and access to plug sockets. Lyall says: “It’s a space for people to chill out and relax and do stuff, check books out, get influenced by things. We also have a book exchange going on so people can come here with a design book and trade it for one of our design books.”

Living Library

In terms of activities there’s the ‘City Brand Simulator’ where people can manipulate the word ‘Dundee’, making the letters bigger or smaller, wider or thinner, and generally play around. There’s also the ‘Poster Playground’ run by the Dundee Print Collective throughout the festival. Using type that the team has created members of the public can make posters and pieces of artwork.

Poster Playground

Lyall says: “We’ve made shapes as well so people can put them together. My favourite thing is making emojiis out of it and doing little faces. Everyone else likes to say things, but I like doing that.”

All the activities are free and should be suitable for various ages, though some supervision may be required.  The Dundee Design Festival is open from 21–28 May from 10am–5pm every day and will have events around the city every evening. Keep up to date at

Words and Images by Ana Hine