Georgina Follett has been seconded from her position as Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to lead the V&A at Dundee project which will deliver a Victoria & Albert Museum on the waterfront at Dundee. The project is a collaboration formed between University of Dundee, University of Abertay, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise with the V&A Museum in London and is a 20 year partnership.

This partnership has recently been able to announce the site – right next to the Discovery ship, on the Tay Estuary. Georgina said that the new museum would be built on an island in the Tay with sightlines throughout the city and even a beach area around it (which might bring the seals to this cultural attraction!)

The building is expected to cost in the region of £47million with one third of the money coming from each of the following sources: Scottish Government, partnership funding from Trusts and Lottery sources, and the final third from money raised by the University of Dundee through private sponsorship (one of Georgina’s responsibilities).

The interior of the building will total 7000 sq m, which, for reference, is about half the size of the Baltic in Gateshead. I found it good to hear that the V&A at Dundee would focus on contemporary art and design work, no earlier than the 1940s, ‘Not an outpost of V&A with decades old collections’. Georgina went on to say that the works on show would be ‘Post 1940s but very much focused on today, with 1200 sq m of the galleries given over to touring exhibitions from the V&A in London (similar to the famous V&A blockbuster with Kylie’s outfits).

The pattern for this would be for the first three years, one V&A blockbuster plus two smaller exhibitions, reduces after that point when exhibitions can be developed and toured from other international organisations that curate design.

Georgina said that she was using the term Design in its most inclusive sense and that the V&A at Dundee would also provide intellectual support for practitioners through its development as a professional centre for those practitioners which would have ownership by the practitioner body of Scotland. It would be looking at collaboration, introducing new thinking, exposing research agendas and drawing on a multidisciplinary pool including scientists and philosophers to deliver new products into the marketplace.

One of the key exhibition spaces will be the Designs On Scotland Gallery which will be about and for contemporary practitioners. This will focus on process as well as products of practice, where often the artwork is the end of one process and the start of the next. The selection mechanisms will always be based on the quality of work. There will also be a special collection from 1940s onwards looking at design.

Recent progress in the project has seen the steering group of the project move to being a charitable trust which will lead the project through to completion. The Chair Person for this trust is likely to be announced next month.

They have also recently called for notes of interest from architects and have been inundated with initial contacts from over 250 practices or individuals from ‘just about every country in the World’.

In March the project will see its most important meeting to date with the Culture Minister and Finance Minister which should be the ‘final pushing of the green button and enable us to fully go ahead with the Architectural Competition’.

Georgina said that she was looking forward to seeing the submissions, but glad that she wasn’t going to be short-listing. It is expected that the large number of applications would be shortlisted to 6-8 who would present their ideas on 3 A1 boards and 1-100 scale models that would be exhibited here and in London.

The project will develop an engagement strategy beginning in autumn 2011 and they expect to open a V&A exhibition in another venue in Dundee, as part of that, before the new building opens in September 2014.


To find out what Dundee Popup was all about or to read more reviews & blogs  from the day, click here.