Postponed: Curious Creatives: Art from a Child’s Perspective – Tuesday 14 April 2020, 6pm

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are postponing this Dundee Arts Café event. Many apologies for the inconvenience this may cause. We shall be in touch in due course.

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?

Join us at Dundee Arts Café as Dr Anna Robb from the University of Dundee, explores including the voices of primary school children, when developing school lessons and careers advice for the future. This presentation will draw 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 will give examples of how our relationships with school subjects, such as art, inform our identities from an early age.

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.

The More You Look, The More You See – Tuesday 19 September 2017, 6pm

A new exhibition explores the rich collections of objects and art from Dundee’s past, as part of the celebrations of The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum’s 150th Anniversary. Calum Colvin’s ‘Museography’ positions a number of his intriguing photographs within the galleries of The McManus for all to see.

But all is not what it seems. Look closely at the stunning images, and you’ll discover a magical and puzzling world, where familiar become fascinating and mysterious. In each photograph, the more you look, the more you see.

Join us for this talk from Prof Calum Colvin, from the University of Dundee, followed by a discussion. This talk will finish at 7pm. The event will be followed by a short guided tour of the exhibition for interested members of the audience.

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

Rethinking What Art Is (And Can Be) In A Digital Age – Tuesday 5th May 2015, 6pm

Google tea towels

Thomson & Craighead 2002

Mobile devices, computer networks and new ways of accessing information and people across space and time, has led to a revolution in art – one which some museums have been reluctant to acknowledge. Artists have long experimented with new tools, but ‘new media art’ has, over the last 30 years, embraced technologies such as the web, not just as a new tool, but a medium – a place to make and share art, often outside of the museum. Although museums are catching up with our new digital lives (remotely-controlled robots have been roaming the Tate Galleries at night!) artists are still forging ahead.

Curator Dr Sarah Cook from the University of Dundee, is co-author of Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media and has given invited presentations around the world on emerging art forms and curatorship. Sarah will lead this talk and discussion to explore some characteristics of recent art projects which might get you to rethink what art is now.

Join us in the relaxed atmosphere of the McManus Café for a short talk followed by your chance to ask questions and discuss the topic.

Everyone is welcome. Free. Non-bookable. Places are limited so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 5pm. This event is likely to last one hour.

Rethinking Art and the Highlands – Tuesday 15th April 2014, 6pm

The Scottish Highlands have given rise to one of the great oral, literary and musical cultures of the world, but the visual aspect of that Gaelic culture has received relatively little attention, even William McTaggartthough it is known to be important. Consider, for example, the monks of Iona creating the Book of Kells at the beginning of the 9th century or the Gaelic speaking painter William McTaggart laying the foundations for modern Scottish art in the late 19th century. Seventeen pieces of McTaggart’s paintings are stored or on display in The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum collection.

The purpose of this talk is to explore research into that culture of Highland art both through art history and the art of today. From 2005 to 2011 a major collaboration between Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art at the University of Dundee and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College of the University of the Highlands and Islands made that research possible. It continues today.

Join us in the relaxed atmosphere of the McManus Café for a short talk followed by your chance to ask questions and discuss the topic.

Everyone is welcome. Free. Non-bookable. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment. This event is likely to last one hour.

Performance within Portraiture – 5th February 2013

This talk by Clare Brennan, from the University of Abertay, discussed how her large scale oil paintings and small scale drawings seek to create performance within portraiture, using realism to portray the unreal. She finds the notion of creating fantastical narratives and portraying unattainable beauty within a single image an exhilarating challenge. Her paintings look at life as a series of little performances, short stories and dramatic plays.

Clare’s art is about story telling, holding the viewers attention, compelling them to unravel the tale.

You can view Clare’s talk including copies of her artwork below


Learning from Leonardo: The lasting influence of Leonardo da Vinci on Medical and Anatomical art – 2nd October 2012

Dr Caroline Erolin from the University of Dundee looked at who Leonardo da Vinci was and why he has come to be known as the archetypal Renaissance man.  A brief overview of the history of medical and anatomical art helped explain where Leonardo sat amongst his contemporaries.  His influence on medical and anatomical art was also examined by looking at where these fields are today and what future students can learn from this great master.

The Stuff of Life – Embracing the Everyday Through Art with Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen

On Tuesday 17th April 2012 we hosted this talk from local artists from the University of Dundee.

Professor Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen’s diverse and creative practice is a site for production, social engagement, participation and reflection. They focus on key issues that affect our daily lives and will talk about projects such as:

WAR as Ever! that combined a unique set 16th century collection of prints about a 400 year old war and news coverage of the Iraq war,!.html

The Poem Pedlar, a specially developed character based on the historical figure of a street vendor engaging a range of publics through visual responses to poems for StAnza 2012, Scotland’s poetry festival hosted in St. Andrews.

Natural Magic – 5 April 2011 with Calum Colvin

This talk, entitled ‘Natural Magic’, is based on Calum Colvin’s recent exhibition of stereoscopic work at the RSA in Edinburgh. The title comes from the book ‘Letters on Natural Magic addressed to Sir Walter Scott 1832’ by Sir David Brewster and the work explores the unique role photography plays as a mediator between art, science, truth, and fiction.

His series of staged, photographic/painted portraits and manipulated scenarios follow on from his long-standing interest in creating staged photographic tableaux.

These new works are presented through a form of mirror stereoscope, invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1838. The work re-visits some of the debates surrounding the nature of photographic and visual truth which followed these developments, using portraiture, staging, visual illusion and perspectival manipulation to explore these issues.

Join us in the relaxed atmosphere of the McManus Cafe for this free event, which is open to everyone. Enjoy a hot drink, glass of wine or beer with a snack whilst listening to Calum discuss the intersection between art, photography and the truth. Non-bookable but please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Limited seating is available.