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Light bulb moment inspires dazzling exhibition

14 August 2014

Living Room for the City, the first community engagement programme from V&A Museum of Design Dundee, is culminating in an exhibition of personal design at Abertay University's Hannah Maclure Centre art gallery.

During the four months the project has been running, hundreds of people have shared photographs of their rooms and favourite objects, while more than 200 have made their own stylish lights for their living rooms at a series of free workshops held across the city. Now, a free public exhibition is opening featuring this work at Abertay University's Hannah Maclure Centre from Saturday 16 August.

Visitors will be able to see specially commissioned photographs by Ross Fraser McLean, as well as the hand-crafted lights and many individual photographs that have been uploaded by the public.

Sarah Saunders, Head of Learning and Engagement for V&A Dundee, has been bowled over by the response to the project. “The public have been absolutely fantastic and really entered into the spirit of this programme, and the exhibition will look through the keyhole to celebrate and showcase their hard work. The living room photographs will be updated during the exhibition, and the amazing lights made by the public will be on display around the room.

“It’s been fascinating to see what people do in their living rooms; from Highland dancing, to singing and playing instruments or video games. The lights made have been really diverse with people adding words to them that they associate with their homes, such as ‘imagine’, ‘together’, ‘glow’, and ‘happy’. It has been a fun project but there is also a serious message behind it, that everyone can be creative with design without having to spend lots of money on expensive items.”

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to make their own lanterns, a hanging version of the table-top lights on display, as part of the free family workshops which take place over the opening and closing weekends of the exhibition, 16 – 17 and 23 – 24 August.

The bright idea that inspired the project came from V&A Dundee architect, Kengo Kuma, who describes his vision of the building as a “living room for the city”.

Sarah Saunders says that through the project, the community engagement team has been able to connect with a wide range of people from all walks of life.

“It’s been hugely exciting to see the way people have really engaged with the process of design, some of them for the first time in their life. The project has encouraged people to think about how design impacts on their lives and the spaces they live in, as well as share their thoughts and ideas about design with friends and families. We are immensely grateful for the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery and its players in making the project and exhibition happen.”

Living Room for the City is the first V&A Dundee project to benefit from funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The organisation presented the Museum with £100,000 for community outreach in January this year, and the success of Living Room for the City has led to a further £50,000 to be pledged in June towards future community activities.

The Living Room for the City exhibition takes place at the Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University, Top Floor, Abertay Student Centre, 1 - 3 Bell Street, DD1 1HP, 16 – 29 August with free family workshops and activities: 2-4pm on Sat 16, Sun 17, Sat 23 and Sun 24 August 2014.

For further information please contact Susan Nickalls or Victoria Ancell on 0131 557 5252 or email

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