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.

Jamming in Dundee: The Art of Making Games – Tuesday 7 February 2017, 6pm

20193 Dundee Arts Cafe - Jamming in Dundee FEBRUARY SLIDEDundee is central to the story of the computer games revolution. In this fast-paced industry, designers and programmers have created decades of innovation and opportunity. And to keep up with a relentless pace of change, game makers need to be flexible, playful creators who thrive on discovery.

So what could be better than getting people in a room together, giving them 24 hours and asking them to come up with a game before the time runs out. These ‘Game Jams’ have gradually become an new approach to creative challenges and their success means they are used with hobbyists, educators and policy makers.

In this talk Ryan Locke (Abertay University) will discuss how Dundee, a city long regarded for game making, is making games accessible to all through playful thinking, bringing together communities of artists, makers and people who just want to play.

Memories of Food in Dundee – Tuesday 4th October 2016

Food plays an essential part in our everyday life, but is much more than a necessity, as we create culture and places where food takes centre stage. From trusted food shops that visit time after time, to our favourite eating places where we spend time with friends and family, our experiences and memories of food help us build a sense of belonging to the places we live in and call home.

This talk explored the social, space and time aspects of food and show how food acts as a trigger for memories, focusing on the city of Dundee and its people.

Jackie Malcolm, University of Dundee, discussed her research with elderly people who lived in sheltered housing across the city. Their shared memories provide insights into Dundee life, past and present, and the relationships formed through food.

Hosted at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum this fascinating talk reached out to new visitors to Dundee Arts Cafe from our local communities.


Making Jewellery Work – Tuesday 21st April 2015, 6pm

Founded in Dundee in 2009, Vanilla Ink
celebrates and Vanilla Inksupports emerging jewellers in an open and honest environment; breeding creativity, skill sharing and strengthening the sector across Scotland and beyond.

Vanilla Ink builds a community that engages with its surroundings in a transparent way, empowering and enriching the maker and their experiences.

Founder and director, Kate Pickering will discuss the ethos of Vanilla Ink and the importance of networks, creative communities and facilitation. Kate will be joined by some of her Vanilla Ink Alumni to discuss their own experiences of the programme.

Vanilla Ink will be taking a year out to reflect on its successes and the not so successful, develop strong partnerships and review the landscape for opening both a new Vanilla Ink in Glasgow and plan Vanilla Ink Dundee 2.0.

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.

Mary Slessor – No Ordinary Missionary – Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 6pm

Poster imageMary Slessor was an Aberdeen quine, who moved to Dundee in the 1850’s when the mills were at their height and worked tirelessly with the Church to improve lives for the working class. She then moved on as a Missionary to ‘The Calabar’ in modern day Nigeria. Here she fought for the lives of children, women, and slaves; for human rights. She was brave and feisty, warm and untiring in her struggle.  She also outlived all her family in Dundee despite the risks in the Calabar, also known as “The White Man’s Grave.” In the Calabar she is known still as “The Mother of all Peoples”, yet here her story is relatively unknown, despite featuring on the Clydesdale Bank £5 note!

With biographical story, song and personal insight, Ruth Kirkpatrick weaves the threads of Mary’s remarkable life, into a rich tapestry, to commemorate the centenary of her death.

Born in the North East of Scotland, Ruth Kirkpatrick has performed at Storytelling festivals all over, including India, Singapore, Iceland and Dubai. Her strength is in forming a warm rapport with her audience, respecting the tradition but giving her performance a personal, feisty sparkle.

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.


Shaping our Creative City – Tuesday 2nd September 2014, 6pm

If you missed Gillian Easson’s inspiring and thought-provoking talk you can watch it here

Dundee is at a unique point in time, a city with a major transformation underway, it’s shape, size and scope present a number of opportunities for its citizens. Gillian Easson from Creative Dundee will look at some of the creative initiatives happening across Dundee and consider some projects happening around the world, which are helping shape cities of the future.

Creative Dundee amplifies and connects talent, through its online platform, events and partnerships. Founded in 2008, before the current developments were on the horizon, Creative Dundee has been involved in a number of grass-roots projects including We Dundee, the crowd sourcing campaign which saw almost 4,000 contribute their ideas to the future of the city.

Stories from the Past: Women working in Dundee – 5th March 2013

real rosie woman factory

This arts cafe talk by Laura Paterson used oral history recollections to explore aspects of women’s work in Dundee from 1945 to 1970. With the audience, Laura reminisced on Dundee’s past, particularly memories of homes, housing conditions, housework and the effect of labour saving devices.

“I’d a’ liked tae been a Teacher, But I never got the chance” – Mary Brooksbank.

A copy of the video of Laura’s talk will be available shortly.


First Talk of the New Season – Dundee and Globalization, 1850-2010

The new season of Dundee Arts Cafe starts on Tuesday 6th September at 6pm in the McManus Cafe. Our first speaker this year is Professor Jim Tomlinson, a lecturer in History from the University of Dundee.

By the first world war Dundee was one of the most economically globalized cities in the world, above all because of its striking dependence on one industry, jute, which drew its raw materials from Bengal and found its markets across the globe.  But as jute declined the city’s dependence on the rest of the world decreased, and there followed a long process of ‘de-globalization’, most recently evident in the huge rise in employment in the public sector. This means that today Dundee’s economic fortunes rest much more on political decisions in London and Edinburgh than on international events.  This talk will explore how and why this change came about, and ask what significance it has for the city’s prosperity in the face of the current world economic crisis

This talk will take place on Tuesday 6th September at 6pm in the McManus Cafe, Albert Square.

Dundee Arts Cafe talks are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 6pm in the McManus Cafe, inside the McManus at Albert Square, in the City Centre of Dundee. The McManus is Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, and the cafe is located at the entrance and will be open before and throughout the talk serving hot drinks, wine or beer and snacks.

This is a FREE talk and everyone is welcome, there is no requirement to book, but there is limited seating for 60 people so please arrive early to ensure a seat.

The McManus Cafe will be open before the event serving hot meals and snacks. If you want to have a meal in the McManus before the talk you have to pre-book by calling 01382 307 201. You can view the menu at

The City That Lost its Memory – 1st February 2011

Join us at the stunning surrounding of the recently re-vamped McManus Cafe for our first Dundee Arts Cafe talk of 2011 with Professor Charles McKean. Charles will focus on describing Dundee during its peak period as a port in the 17th Century during the renaissance and enlightenment period, and return to the city in the early 19th Century before the jute trade transformed Dundee.

Charles’ talk will shed light on the most important buildings and how they helped Dundee flourish as a port to become Scotland’s second city during these times.

Doors open at 5.30pm and beers, wine and food are all served in The McManus Cafe, see here for a full menu. This is a FREE event, but there is limited seating available for 60 people so please do arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Celebrating the Toon: The Importance of Dundee’s Comics – 7th December 2010

Comics have long been one of Scotland’s most important cultural and artistic exports, with Dundee at the centre of that success. The comics produced by DC Thomson, notably The Dandy and The Beano, have commanded worldwide audiences for decades, and characters such as Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan are known and loved by millions.

Join us in The McManus Café on Tuesday 7th December at 6pm for this talk by Chris Murray from the University of Dundee as he looks at the origins and significance of some of DC Thomson’s best-loved comic titles, as well as some of the characters who didn’t last the course, such as DC Thomson’s ill-fated early superheroes, Captain Q, The Amazing Mr X, and some missed opportunities (such as Superman and V for Vendatta).

The talk will also examine the influence of DCT’s comics, and will ask some questions about their future in a rapidly changing publishing environment. At a time when comics publishing is under threat from numerous quarters it is important to recognise and protect the legacy of DC Thomson’s comics, and to plan for the preservation of this aspect of Dundee’s cultural heritage.

Doors open at 5.30pm and beers, wine and food are all served in The McManus Cafe, see here for a full menu. This is a FREE event, but there is limited seating available for 60 people so please do arrive early to avoid disappointment.