Dr Dayna Galloway, Head of Division – Games and Arts, at Abertay University reflects on Dundee’s remarkable reinvention as a creative hub and looks ahead to a summer of design, innovation and creativity.
DiGRA and FDG 2016 present a fantastic opportunity to showcase Dundee’s rich history as a centre for innovation and as a city that confidently embraces change. Historically Dundee is known as the city of “jute, jam and journalism” in relation to its major industries, though this moniker no longer reflects the true scientific, cultural and technological output of the city.
As someone who was born in Dundee, it is a great source of pride to see the city achieving the level of international recognition it deserves for its significant contribution to design. With the arrival of the V&A Dundee, the city will be the international centre of design for Scotland, and it is wonderful to walk along the waterfront and see the progression of renowned architect Kengo Kuma’s stunning design as it comes to life.
Dundee has also been designated as the UK’s first City of Design by UNESCO for its diverse contributions to fields including medical research, comics and videogames. Having grown up reading the Beano and the Dandy, and as a teenager discovering the playful puzzles of Lemmings and the immersive open world of Grand Theft Auto, it was a great source of inspiration knowing these cultural landmarks were designed and made in Dundee. Thankfully the city continues to inspire and drive the ambitions of young people with Dundee being home to 4J Studios (jute, jam, journalism and JOYSTICKS, allegedly…) who continue to evolve the global sensation that is Minecraft.
Whilst Dundee is home to many established games studios, it is also an influential hub for experimentation and collaboration across the field of design. In May this year Dundee will be hosting its inaugural Festival of Design, which will exhibit many of the exciting design stories emerging from Dundee.
So, the timing of DiGRA and FDG 2016 could not be better, and we look forward to welcoming you to Abertay University and to Dundee this summer, for a celebration of design, innovation and creativity across the spectrum of games and play.