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V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Relay kicks off

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The Scottish Design Relay, the major new national project from V&A Dundee, has officially started in Dundee.

Over the next eight months, teams of young people from six areas across the country will take part in the Scottish Design Relay.

In each location, the young people will take inspiration from objects visitors will see when they come to V&A Dundee and which have a special connection to their region’s unique design heritage.

Working with local designers, the teams will then develop and create prototype designs that will be displayed in the new museum when it opens next year.

After Dundee the Scottish Design Relay will travel to Orkney, Caithness, Shetland, Govan and finally Aberdeen.

The first Scottish Design Relay team will study the Dundee-built RRS Discovery before being asked to come up with their own design related to travel and exploration. The finished prototype could be anything from a design for a piece of travel equipment to an item of clothing.

The young participants will take part in several of workshops held at Discovery Point and created in partnership with Dundee Heritage Trust.

Peter Nurick, V&A Dundee Communities Producer, said: “We are delighted today to celebrate the start of the Scottish Design Relay, a project to inspire and nurture a new generation of Scottish designers. 

“The Dundee-built RRS Discovery, Captain Robert Falcon Scott's expedition ship which sits just yards from V&A Dundee, is a great place to begin our journey.  

“Today, as well as a tour of the ship, the Dundee team will also begin working on their design brief and start thinking about what problems they want to solve.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity for those involved to learn about the design process and work side-by-side with successful designers based in their local community.

“Their hard work will be displayed in V&A Dundee when the museum opens in 2018 and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

The Scottish Design Relay is being supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery and the Mathew Trust. 

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m very excited to see this fantastic project get started. It is a fantastic way of engaging young people in Scotland in design and I’m pleased that funding from our players has made it possible.”

The young people taking part in the first leg of the relay are all employees from the Michelin factory in Dundee.

They will work alongside Kevin Fox, founder of Dundee based luxury travel bag brand LAT_56. Polar explorer Craig Mathieson, the first Explorer in Residence with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, will also be on hand to help inspire the team.

RRS Discovery, the Dundee inspiration object

© Dundee Heritage Trust

RRS Discovery was built by the Dundee Shipbuilders Company. Launched in 1901, it was specially designed for Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic, the first British ship ever to be built specifically for scientific research in the poles. A young Ernest Shackleton was a shipmate. 

The Dundee shipbuilders knew how to design ships that could travel through pack ice because of their experience designing and building whaling ships. The Discovery’s wooden hull is strong and shallow so that it can withstand cold temperatures and resist crushing.

The crew had the latest gear on board with them to help withstand the freezing climate that can range from -30 degrees to -60 degrees Celsius. Their kit involved wool and fur-lined windproof clothing, mittens and finnesko (reindeer skin) boots. Tinted wooden goggles were also used to help prevent snow blindness.