So we didn’t win the title of City of Culture 2017. Was I disappointed? Yes, a little. It would have been nice to have a national acknowledgement of the exciting things that are happening in this city, and the hard work that has gone in to the bid however…are there places that deserve it more? I suspect there are.
Something that has always annoyed me are the judgments that are made about the city by people who do not know the city and have never even visited. These judgments are made by Scots and by other UK residents. Don’t judge unless you have spent some time here. For that reason, I am not going to malign the winner, although my initial instinct was to do this; I am going to visit Hull in 2017 and make my own mind up based on actual evidence!
Back to Dundee however! If you have never visited then why not? Admittedly the waterfront looks as though it has been attacked by a giant, bull-dozing mole, in the style of a Doctor Who episode, but watching the transformation over the weeks is a fascinating process. Despite this temporary chaos, there are plenty of reasons to add Dundee to your list of must-see destinations. Here is a list according to the Busy Thistle:
1) I think it is the most beautifully sited city in the UK. As you will know from the photos that I put up here, the River Tay is an impressive stretch of water and Dundee stands proud on its banks. In addition to this, in five minutes you can be surrounded by peaceful landscapes, and within half an hour, you are able to access the delights of the Highlands of Scotland.
We have castles (5 in total) scattered across the city, links with Arctic history through the Discovery, and the influence of the jute industry can be felt across the city in the re-used mills and jute baron mansions that litter the West End and Broughty Ferry.
3) Creativity and the arts are integral to the city.
Although the McManus Galleries have historically been the cultural institution in Dundee, the addition of DCA in the 1990s reinvigorated the cultural scene, working with a range of partners including the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Alongside this we have Dundee Rep Theatre with an established company, the Caird Hall which is an excellent venue for classical music, and a range of smaller perfoming arts venues all meeting the variety of needs and interests that the residents of Dundee have.
This is just the start, and as I write this list, it confirms that actually we’re doing alright in Dundee. The V&A have demonstrated their faith in the city so we have that to look forward too also! Let’s hope the excitement of preparing for the bid can be channeled into making the city an even better place to live!