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Depression uncovered by artist at Abertay Digital Graduate Show

19 May 2014

Deborah Malcolm 1  

The stigma surrounding depression are being explored by a student at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show, which opens this Friday 23 May.

Deborah Malcolm has created ‘Meh’, a picture book which explores the personal journey of a character suffering from depression.

The project uses visual metaphors and symbolic imagery to explain what it feels like to have depression, but was developed to be accessible to children and adults alike.

Deborah’s work will be on show at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show from Friday 23-Monday 26 May. The show is free and open to everyone.

Deborah Malcolm 2  

Deborah Malcolm, Computer Arts student, said: “Depression can affect anyone at any time for any reason. Although it is a very common illness, it still receives a great deal of stigma. I believe this could be tackled with early education, although I realise it would never stamp it right out.

“There are also many young carers who may look after someone with depression, or may become depressed from being a carer at such a young age, who could benefit from having some understanding of the illness and encouragement to talk about it.

“I don't think we talk properly about depression enough. The word itself has been misused so much that I don't think many people realise what it actually means.”

During research into children’s picture book illustrations, Deborah discovered the Norwegian book Haret til Mamma by Gro Dahle and Svein Nyhus, where depression is illustrated metaphorically.

This sparked her curiosity to explore depression through illustration, using metaphors and ideas to express the illness visually, like sinking into a black hole or being chased by darkness. These images were developed into a narrative to create the final picture book.

Lynn Parker, Computer Arts Programme Tutor, said: “This project for the Abertay Digital Graduate Show achieves something very difficult – using illustration and storytelling to help raise awareness and understanding of a difficult, complex illness.

“Deborah’s approach to dealing with depression through illustration is very effective, and her finished picture book is very powerful.

“Being able to tackle such an emotive issue sensitively, while also creating illustrations that children and adults can understand and engage with, was very ambitious but Deborah should be very proud of what she’s achieved.”

The opening times of the Abertay Digital Graduate Show are:

Friday 23 May, 4-8pm
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May, 12-4pm
Monday 26 May, 9am-12pm

Over 180 students will be putting work on show in Abertay University’s main Kydd Building and the Hannah Maclure Centre art gallery, on the top floor of the Student Centre.

You can also sign up to the Abertay Digital Graduate Show Facebook event and show your friends you're attending. 


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E:


The Abertay Digital Graduate Show is part of the Ignite Dundee festival, which runs from 16-31 May and showcases the very best of Dundee’s creative talent.

Ignite Dundee is a partnership between Abertay University; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Dundee – One City, Many Discoveries; Dundee Rep Theatre; Leisure & Culture Dundee; University of Dundee and V&A Dundee.

For more information, please visit the Ignite Dundee festival website.

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