Giving Dundee her memory back & re-imagining our future

Had a very interesting day yesterday (3rd Dec 09) – in the afternoon facilitating the launch of ‘Dundee Wave of Change‘ – part of the ‘Scottish Wave of Change‘ then, in the evening attending a book launch for ‘Dundee: Renaissance to Enlightenment.


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Dundee Wave of Change

Almost forty folks from various backgrounds in the city gathered in the Central Library to engage in a conversation about how we might engage the various communities and groupings across the City of Dundee in a conversation. A ‘big bleather’ – enabling folks of all ages, backgrounds, genders to creatively re-imagine their city in 2020.
I’m working with Gerry Hassan and the Go Dundee team on this two year project. Check out the website if you want to get involved.

Giving Dundee her memory back


I had a very enjoyable time at the launch of Dundee University Press new book ‘Dundee: renaissance to enlightenment’ edited by Charles McKean, Bob Harris and Chris Whatley. I got the chance to connect with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, and also hear an inspirational short speach by Charles about the Book.
Charles started his talk saying that Dundee was a hidden city – that almost no history exists for the city pre the age of Jute. And that this was astonishing, given that at that time Dundee was Scotland’s second city!

His purpose in writing this book was ‘…to give Dundee her memory back.’ I was very struck with this, and how it linked to what I was part of just an hour earlier. Facilitating the start of some conversations on how we engage people in a process of mass imagination. The purpose? To let people tell their own stories – finding creative ways to link these stories to re-imagine Dundee in 2020.

Charles went on to share how he was part of the group that developed the DCA in 1995, and he kept the notes of the early consultations. The narrative was all around how ‘Dundee was a dump’ and how ‘I can’t wait to get out of here.’ Of course the DCA has just celebrated it’s 10 yr anniversary, and has been an outstanding success. He clearly linked this pessimism and negativity abut the present to the disconnect of Dundee’s magnificent history!

Other highlights for me was how Dundee had no prisons – it didn’t need any!! When, in the 1800’s, there were three public executions a week in Bristol, there was one in 50 weeks in Dundee!

He said Dundee was like Hamburg in the 1800s. An international city, a city that welcomed incomers.

His hope for the book? ‘That this would play a part in giving Dundee it’s confidence back.’

You can get your copy of the book here.

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