Curious Creatives: Art from a Child’s Perspective – 18 October 2021

There is growing concern that creative subjects such as art, music and drama are being side-lined in schools in favour of other subjects. However, creative education is also seen as a crucial step in developing skills in young children. This is especially relevant in the city of Dundee, where skilled creative people are needed to support our growing creative industries.

So how do we make sure arts education is delivered in a way that benefits children’s development?

Dr Anna Robb from the University of Dundee, joined us at Dundee Arts Café to discuss including the voices of primary school children when developing school lessons and careers advice for the future. This presentation draws on research focused on young children’s experiences of visual art in the home and at school, as well as in the local community and across the city. Anna gave examples of how our relationships with school subjects, such as art, inform our identities from an early age.

You can read more on this study from Anna and colleagues in the research paper

Art in my world: Exploring the visual art experiences in the everyday lives of young children and their impact on cultural capital

Dealing with Human Rights Abuses in Conflict – Tuesday 4 February 2020, 6pm

The international community has developed many laws, norms and institutions to address violent conflict and violations of human rights. Yet, concrete action to protect people in war zones and conflicts frequently fails to live up expectations.

This talk draws on years of study of humanitarian action, military intervention and international criminal justice to explore this failure.

Everyone is welcome to this free event. Doors open at 5.15pm. Due to the popularity of recent events Dundee Arts Café is now a ticketed event. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Please book free tickets in advance at Eventbrite by clicking here.

Solving Environmental Issues Together – Tuesday 12th November 2019

A boy and his grandmother collect data using a laptop in a lush and remote environmentWe are currently facing a grave climate emergency. Unless we take urgent action, the increase in global temperature threatens human society and all life on our planet. It’s a daunting thought, but what can we do about it?

There are many projects where people across the world come together to monitor how our planet is changing and to test solutions. These projects are also known as ‘Citizen Science’, and can be a very helpful way to collect data and solve environmental issues together.

Prof Mel Woods from the University of Dundee, discussed what makes an effective Citizen Science project and how we can all help the environment by getting more involved.

Guns, Violence and Toxic Masculinity in the USA – Tuesday 1st October 2019, 6pm

Frequently, the reports that reach our shores from the other side of the Atlantic tell the story of a country dealing with the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting. The USA’s complex relationship with guns can be traced back to the Empire, the fight for independence and the American constitution.

But there are many reasons why after 200 years, the number of people killed by guns in the US is larger than in any other country.

Historian, Dr Matthew Ward (University of Dundee) has studied how guns and violence were depicted in the culture and mass media of the time. These images and stories were linked closely with ideas of masculinity, influencing the way men acted and the roles they played in society. Today these traditional views on what it means to be a man are still commonplace and this toxic masculinity is harmful to men and society.

At this event Dr Ward shared his insights on the links from the past to present day, and what we can learn about guns, violence and masculinity in today’s troubled America.


Changing Stop and Search in Police Scotland – Tuesday 4 June 2019, 6pm

The police practice of stop and search in Scotland was at one time being conducted at a rate about seven times higher than that of the London Metropolitan Police. It was unaccountable, largely unrecorded and mostly ‘ignored’ by political leaders and the media.

That all changed with findings from PhD research in Edinburgh in 2014. Since then, Police Scotland and the academic community have travelled a long, and at times, very bumpy journey of consultation, evaluation, reform and governance. Once the model of what ‘not’ to do in times of challenge, Police Scotland now actively engage with others to develop policy and practice from a stronger evidence base and can serve as a model to other police forces in this regard.

Dr Megan O’Neill as she discussed her role in the stop and search journey in Scotland and explores how researchers can actually change our daily lives.

Russian Politics under Putin – Tuesday 16 April 2019, 6pm

Many observers of Russian politics have been perplexed by the high levels of popular support which President Putin has been able to command. This is despite the fact the he has centralised power in the Kremlin, reduced the powers of the parliament and the opposition, and led an assault on democratic freedoms and civil liberties.

This talk will discuss the sources of support and opposition to Putin’s regime and assess the possible dangers that lie ahead during Putin’s fourth term in office.

Everyone is welcome. This event is free and non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm.

Random Access Memories: Nostalgia and Video Games – Tuesday 5 February 2019, 6pm

Many of us today have fond memories of
playing video games in our childhood, and continue to be video games fans to this day. The sights, sounds, and styles of classic games such as Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros. or Doom have impacted on everything from graphic design and fashion to music and film. But perhaps fewer of us have considered the extent to which video games engage more widely with collective and cultural memory.

In this talk, Dr Robin Sloan from Abertay University will discuss “nostalgia games” – video games that generate great appeal through their referencing of past games, films, music, technology, and shared memories of days gone by.

Everyone is welcome. This event is free and non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm.


Frankenstein: The Books That Made The Monster – Tuesday 13 November 2018, 6pm

Copyright Alejandro Colucci

The teenage author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, was an avid reader, as her detailed diaries reveal. But her most iconic creations, Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, are fatally corrupted by their own exposure to books. Frankenstein immerses himself in the occult sciences, while the Monster turns evil after learning about humanity’s misdeeds in Paradise Lost, The Sorrows of Young Werther, and the Bible, among other things.

This talk, by Dr Daniel Cook from the University of Dundee, traces Shelley’s reading habits before and during the composition of her Gothic  masterpiece, and considers the devilish role played by books in her most famous work of fiction.

Everyone is welcome. This event is free and non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm.

Penguins – Public Art on Parade – Tuesday 2 October 2018, 6pm

This summer has seen the streets of Dundee populated by a waddle of colourful penguin sculptures commissioned by Maggie’s Dundee, a charity that supports people and families affected by cancer. The penguin sculpture was designed by Janice Aitken and each one has been decorated with individual designs by a wonderful range of artists and designers. The finale of this fantastic venture is the auction in September, making the penguin parade both an excellent fundraising initiative and a fantastic awareness raising project for the charity.

The trail has been enjoyed by adults and children of all ages, ‘collecting’ penguins through taking photographs and updating specially designed sticker albums, and getting out and about on foot, by bus and on their bikes.

Join Janice Aitken from the University of Dundee as she discusses the Maggie’s Penguin Parade and some of the other public art pieces that she has created, including the boards recently on display at Slessor Gardens and the decorative windows for the Medical Library at Ninewells.

Everyone is welcome. This event is free and non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm.

There will be a collection in aid of Maggie’s at the end of the event.

Art and Design Stories – Made in Dundee – Tuesday 8 May 2018, 6pm

Each year, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design is transformed into Scotland’s largest exhibition space. The 10 day event showcases the work of over 350 of the University of Dundee’s graduating art, design and architecture students. At the Degree Show, thousands of visitors see the products of years of creativity and hard work in an exciting show spanning the areas of design and craft, contemporary art practice, social digital, graphic communication and architecture.

Join us on Tuesday 8 May 2018, 6pm at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, for a sneak peek at what this year’s University of Dundee Art, Design & Architecture Degree show has to offer. Students from a variety of disciplines will take to the floor to discuss their work, in advance of the show opening on Friday 18 May 2018.

Everyone is welcome. This event is free and non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm.