Dundee Design Festival


From the buildings we live in, to the tools we use for our work, to the products, services and materials that allow us to express ourselves, interact with one another, and live well, everything is linked by design.

Across the entire floor of a former printing works in the once industrial heart of Dundee, this exhibition weaves together some of the great design stories currently emerging from the city, including new innovations in textiles, game design and design for heath and wellbeing. These are stories of local design with global impact, stories about what design can do when we join forces.

You’ll see designers and makers working with amputees to create prototypes of simple hand designs. You’ll see game developers working with cancer research charities to design games to process genetic data. You’ll see spatial designers working with communities to design gardens to improve mental and social wellbeing. You’ll see forensic scientists working with mobile app developers to design smoke detectors to wake up kids in deep sleep.

Taken as a whole, these stories capture a moment where, in a city the size of Dundee, people are coming together from across studios, campuses, cities and nations to help frame problems and find solutions.

Select a time to visit the Dundee Design Festival


Scottish Jewellery Week
West Ward Works also plays host to Scottish Jewellery Week, a biennial celebration of the best contemporary jewellers and silversmiths living or trained in Scotland. Scottish JewelleryWeek includes an exhibition showcasing the work of 15 jewellers, a jeweller-in-residenceplus a Jewellery Trail across the city.

SJW Exhibition
The exhibition will be a reflection on the relationship makers have with their hands and exhibited will be the hands of 15 jewellers. Cast from real life the hands will form the display of the incredible jewellery and silversmiths’ work that are based in Scotland or have been trained in Scotland.

SJW Live Jeweller
Throughout Dundee Design Festival an invited jeweller will take up residence in West Ward, equipped with their own mini studio, the jeweller will work to a brief set out by SJW and will design, create and finish a piece of work that will be auctioned at the end of the festival. Gain insight into the workings of a live jeweller and open up the process.

SJW Jewellery Trail
Housed across many studios in Dundee and the surrounding areas are talented jewellers and silversmiths’ creating, making and selling across the world. Join us on a trail of the city unearthing jewellery in the most unsuspecting of places.

Further information

25.— 28.05.2016

Open 10:00 — 17:00 daily, Thursday - Saturday
Free — booked time entry

West Ward Works Guthrie Street

Getting there


You can find the programme of events below or download a copy of the full festival guide here


10:00 — 17:00

Design Revolution: Innovative Cities and Business

V&A Museum of Design Dundee, Design in Action and UNESCO City of Design Dundee bring together a range of pioneering…


10:00 — 17:00

Mass Assembly

Mass Assembly is a one day forum, produced in partnership between Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee, exploring the future of…

10:00 — 12:00

Journeys – Dundee

Join novelist Zoe Venditozzi as she launches "Journeys", a new website which will gather together the stories of Dundee on…

13:00 — 17:00

Weaving Drop-in

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at weaving? Join our drop-in workshop where you can design and create…

19:00 — 22:00

Pecha Kucha Night Dundee Vol 15

The global Pecha Kucha Night Dundee is back with a great mix of speakers in a super speedy format –…


10:00 — 10:30

Designing Better Care Homes

What would you want and need if you lived in a care home? – with ground breaking methods of investigation,…

10:00 — 12:00

Redesigning the Dundee Experience

How can citizens of the UK's only UNESCO City of Design capitalise on their city's status as a visitor destination?…

11:00 — 11:30

Story of Maggie’s Centre Dundee

How does a building affect somebody with cancer? Lesley Howells, Director of Maggie’s Centre, Dundee, explains the unique aspects of…

12:00 — 12:30

Designs On Justice

The criminal justice system is failing communities, offenders and those professionals who provide our legal services. What can design thinking…

12:30 - 14:30

Wearable Art

Join Dundee Wearable Art 2015 award winner Morag Nowell and Kirsty Dalton in creating unique pieces of wearable art. Using…


Prospect North: Live from Venice

Join writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch as she introduces leading design collective Lateral North, live from Venice.

14:00 — 14:45

A Designer’s Guide to Transforming Healthcare

Designers from Helsinki join us in Dundee to discuss the way they have improved the health and wellbeing of people…

15:00 — 17:00

Scottish Jewellery Week: CARVE

Join jewellers Kate and Katie for a two-hour workshop where you can carve jewellers wax into a one-off ring. They…

15:00 — 15:30

What Can Design Do for Forensic Science?

Forensic science is in crisis. Professors Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daéid are looking for solutions and they need your…

16:00 - 16:30

Under the Digital Skin

Gray’s Anatomy is one of the most influential illustrated books in the world. For over 150 years and 41 editions…


10:00 — 12:00

Creating Comics

Are you an aspiring artist or writer who dreams of creating the next Desperate Dan, Ms Marvel, or Jake and…

12:00 — 12:30

Reclaiming Geddes

Sir Patrick Geddes is celebrated the whole world over for his writing and work on urbanism and town planning. But…

12:30 — 14:30

Design. Build. Play.

Gaming doesn't just mean looking at a screen. Join Abertay University's Game lab to help design a real game in…

13:00 — 13:30

Forensic Jewellery

What’s your relationship with the objects you wear or carry around every day? Could they tell your story after you’ve…

14:30 — 15:00

Game Design: Serious Fun?

How does a computer game come to life? This event will take you through the process of how designers take…

15:15 — 16:00

Design Challenge: Redesigning Smoke Alarms

Research has shown that smoke detectors do not always wake children. Professor Niamh Nic Daeid was involved in research work…

15:00 - 17:00

Velvet Petal: Designing for Dance

Created for Dundee Design Festival, Scottish Dance Theatre invites little ones and adults to make mini-acetate screens for projection and…


Remembering West Ward

DC Thomson company historian Norman Watson will chart the history of the long-established and successful Dundee publishers, with a focus…

10:00 - 16:00

Screen Printing Drop-in

Come and discover the art of printmaking with the Dundee Contemporary Arts team. Try out screen printing, badge-making and stamp…

Across the City

West Ward Works will be the main hub of the design festival, but there will be activity all across the city.

University of Dundee Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Degree Show 2016

For 10 days our Matthew and Crawford buildings transform themselves into one of the country’s biggest galleries showcasing the culmination of several years of creative development and hard work. To fully appreciate the diversity and the work undertaken by our hugely talented students, we hope that you can visit the show, either in person or by watching our live streaming event on opening night, and join us in wishing our 2016 graduates every success in the future.

Find out more


Ignite Festival of Creativity

For the whole of May, Dundee will be awash with creativity across Dundee. Exhibitions, talks, workshops, poetry and pop-up markets are all encompassed under the colourful umbrella of Ignite. Try recreating the Royal Arch in cardboard, discuss the future of fracking, find out more about the Urban Orchard of Dundee or see a unique theatrical event, Ten Little Memories.

Find out more


Patrick Grant – 28th May, 6pm, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee

Star of BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, Patrick Grant, is a leading fashion designer and owner of bespoke tailors Norton & Sons of Savile Row, London. In this exclusive event, Patrick will discuss his fascinating career, which began with an engineering degree in Material Sciences, and has seen him catapult to success with his label E.Tautz, as well as designing for Debenhams with the hugely successful Hammond & Co collection. This is part of the University of Dundee’s Saturday Evening Lecture Series. 

Book tickets


Remembering Witch’s Blood – 27th May, various times, West Ward Works

The large-scale community play, ‘Witch’s Blood’ is being brought back to life. First produced in 1987 to great public and critical acclaim, the play is being reimagined on a small scale ahead of a full production next year. With video footage, live singing and recorded voices, this will be a moving and memorable event.

Book tickets



Meadow Mills Dundee, a WASPS studio space, is home for as many as 58 different artists at a time, will be alive with activity during the weekend of the Dundee Design Festival with a bespoke exhibition and open studios. Situated just yards from West Ward Works, make sure you pop by to see the artists at work.

Find out more


Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2016

Preview: Friday 6 May, 4-8pm

Open: Sat 7 May – Sun 15 May, 12-4pm daily

Play, watch, listen and enjoy hundreds of projects by the next generation of artists, game designers, technical experts and musical marvels. Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2016 exhibits a huge variety of creative and technical feats produced within the University’s world-renowned School of Arts, Media and Computer Games. Come along and catch a glimpse in to the future of creative technologies.

Find out more



Life Sciences Architecture Tour  

Sat 28 May, 2 – 3pm Free – booking essential


Designed by BMJ Architects, the Discovery Centre for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research is the latest expansion phase of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. Take a look inside the laboratories and galleries of this groundbreaking new building and hear from the scientists and architects who worked together to create inspiring spaces that actively encourage collaboration and innovation. The tour is led by two of the visionaries behind the project, architect Jo White and scientist Mike Ferguson, Director of the Discovery Centre and Regius Professor of Life Sciences.

Book tickets


UNESCO City of Design Dundee

Dundee became the first UNESCO City of Design in the UK in November 2014, a prestigious award that recognises the huge contribution the city has made to design worldwide.

Dundee has continually reinvented itself designing a new future for itself and its citizens. Today the city is rebuilding its expansive Waterfront as part of a £1 billion, 30-year masterplan to design an open, inclusive city of the future.

At the heart of the Waterfront plan is the creation of V&A Museum of Design Dundee, a global home for Scotland’s design heritage. The city is also home to the hugely successful Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee Rep Theatre, McManus Art Gallery and Wasps Studios.

Today, numerous design initiatives are led by Dundee organisations, aimed at creating the next generation of designers across all disciplines – and keeping highly talented graduates in Dundee, creating new ideas and new companies.


Dundee Design Festival

The Dundee Design Festival will take place in West Ward Works, a vast space that will be open to the public for the first time. The festival will take over one floor of the building and will include a large scale exhibition, talks, demonstrations and events for children.


West Ward Works

West Ward Works is the perfect venue for the inaugural Dundee Design Festival, connecting the city’s industrial past with its creative present.

A former print works and the site of an important jute mill in the Blackness area of the city, this building was home to the printing and binding of DC Thomson titles including Beezer, Twinkle, Black Bob, Sparky, and Topper for over 60 years.


Visit Dundee Design Festival

By road

For traffic coming from Edinburgh (M90), Glasgow (A9), follow the M90 to Perth then take the A90 for Dundee, follow signs for city centre and when you reach the railway station take the left turn off then follow the road through 3 sets of traffic lights and left at the next roundabout, when you reach the next roundabout take a right, then take the 1st exit onto Horsewater Wynd. Turn right onto Guthrie St and West Ward Works is on your left.

From Aberdeen follow A90 to Dundee and follow signs for city centre until you reach the roundabout by the railway station then follow above directions.


By rail

Dundee is a main line station on the UK east coast line and has direct rail links to London and the continent. London is only six hours away by train and there are regular daily services that go direct to many parts of the country.

West Ward Works is approx 15 mins from the Railway Station.

Further information


By air

West Ward Works is approximately three miles from Dundee Airport. Dundee Airport charters flights to and from Dundee between Amsterdam, London Stanstead & Jersey airports and is situated only five minutes from Dundee City Centre. Flybe/Loganair operates a twice daily service to London Stansted at convenient times to suit business & leisure travel requirements.

Further information

Visit Dundee Design Festival 2016 at West Ward Works, Guthrie Street, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

View on a map
West Ward Works
Guthrie Street
United Kingdom

01382 307 456

Funders & partners

Dundee’s size and attitude lends itself to a collaborative working environment where institutions and individuals work side by side to make a success of every event. We would like to applaud all our funders and partners in Dundee and across Scotland, thanking them for their expertise, enthusiasm and support.