A weekly podcast made up of a series of informal conversations with creative people who are either working in and around Dundee or have ties to the city. It's run by Ryan McLeod and gets released every Wednesday morning.
99 - Ask Me Anything
A celebration of the past 98 episodes with so many wonderful guests. I talk about some of the things I’ve learned and answer the questions of past guests and listeners.
This episode is a big thank you to everyone who has made the first 98 episodes of the podcast possible. I’ve had so many brilliant guests openly and honestly sharing their stories. One the four years I have been running the podcast all those stories have become an amazing bank of content that celebrates creativity in Dundee.
In this episode I answer questions from past guests and listeners. It goes from the weird to the wonderful. From my favourite pokemon to feminism and the fickle nature of confidence.
98 - Alice Black
This week I’m joined by the Head of Cinema at the DCA, Alice Black. She gives us a behind the scenes peek of how an independent cinema operates and the difficulties of catering to such a wide and varied audience.
Cinema has always been the biggest focus and passion in Alice’s life. From an early age the cinema was an adventure, being a 2hour drive each way. After a bit of a mix up with the tickets Alice’s Mum ended up taking her to see Roman Polanski’s Tess, which had a profound impact on her life even if she might’ve been a little young at the time.
Alice is a firm believer that “Film is a great leveller”.
After a degree in Canada an MA in Glasgow and an MA in New York Alice Worked for the MoMA and the French embassy in NY before moving to Dublin. Having such a range of roles servicing different needs and audiences put her in a great position to curate her own screening schedule for a venue, something she’d not done before the DCA.
We chat about the difficulties involved in programming a cultural venue for a wide and varied audience. With only 2 screens with roughly 4 showings per day it’s a big ask and often ends up like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Alice also gives us an insight into the decision making process of how decide on what makes the cut. There are a lot of restrictions and restraints that come with showing blockbusters that I had no idea of and I suppose not many people do as we just expect that what we want will be on when we want it.
“I want the films to have the best possible chance to find their audience and I want the audience to have the best possible experience.”
Alice watches 95% percent of the films that go on at the cinema and she says herself that her expertise is having a sort of encyclopaedic knowledge of films, even if it does make her a harsh critic. Cannes, Berlin and Toronto are the big film festivals she visits every year watching a colossal 5 or 6 films a day! Obviously now, that isn’t going to be possible and the future of cinema is somewhat uncertain. I feel that we will always crave the experience of cinema and maybe with our time away from it, we’ll want it more than ever.
(Cover photo by Erika Stevenson - http://www.erikascamera.co.uk/)
DCA - https://www.dca.org.uk/
97 - Darryl Gaffney du Plooy
Darryl comes from a background in social care and community engagement through many different jobs and projects that we chat about on the project but he’s currently working on researching and developing a local currency for Dundee.
‘I would never call myself a creative’
Pretty much the first thing Darryl says. Not the best start, given the name of the podcast but ‘creative’ and 'design' have never been in the vocabulary in the work that he has done. Although we talk about how many of the roles he’s been in have utilised design principles, methodologies and approaches.
Darryl talks about his introduction to Service Design and how something really clicked and made him realise that those things he was doing all along were part of a bigger picture. Similarly,
co-design has had a big impact on the work that he does. From our chat, it’s clear that Darryl likes to throw himself into challenges and bring people together to create change.
In 2017 he 2017 stood in the local elections as an independent candidate. His campaign was based on the basis that ‘local people should be more involved in local decision making’. In the episode, he talks about shaping his doorstep manner and trying to make genuine connections with people. He clearly did something right as he finished ahead of the Lib Dems and several other candidates for Dundee East.
With his current work on a local currency Darryl has started to make more connections with the Dundee creative community and from his previous jobs and projects finds himself in an interesting position. He can see the crossover of the needs of both groups but there is a distinct lack of connections. He wants to act as a bridge to that gap to help make a difference.
He’s also just launched a new podcast looking at events of the past in Dundee and seeing how they’re relevant now and what that means for the future. You should definitely give the first episode a listen and find out more about how Winston Churchill lost his seat in Dundee.
Emerging Dundee Podcast - https://soundcloud.com/emerging-dundee-102375827
Darryl’s twitter - https://twitter.com/DDuplooy
96 - Kirsty Maguire
Kirsty runs a Passivhaus Architecture practice from Wasps studios in Dundee but we don’t really talk about any of that. Instead, she takes me through her epic journey to the ends of the earth that she was able to make when lots of factors aligned to create the perfect opportunity.
Something of a different episode this week for the first remote recording of Creative Chit Chat ever. Please bear with me on the sound quality. I will be trying to improve it as I go working with some new software.
In a lot of ways, I feel that this is the perfect episode for what’s happening right now. A way to escape and let Kirsty take you on an adventure over land, mountains and sea. Going beyond the North to just short of the North Pole in a sailing boat, to skiing past hundreds of thousands of penguins in South Georgia and experiencing the wildlife of Antarctica.
I don’t really want to say much more than that. Just listen and enjoy.
Kirsty’s website: https://kirstymaguire.com/
Kirsty’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/PassivhausArch
95 - Paul Gault
Programme director of Digital Interaction Design at DJCAD, Paul has gone full circle from being a student on the course to now leading it. We cover that whole journey including some brilliant music based side projects along the way.
“mostly I’ve just pursued what I’ve been interested in rather than what’s been a good career move”
We begin by talking about Pauls relationship with technology and how he created a website for his village when people were getting really excited about the internet. I think there are a few threads running through his career and technology is one of them along with community and developing the careers and aspirations of younger generations.
After a PhD and some time working open the dot rural project in Aberdeen, Paul spent several years at Young Scot in Edinburgh. His work involved giving young people a voice in a room of people with influence, to make them heard and to make a difference.
During his time studying in Dundee Paul started a music event in a pub basement on the Perth Road called Nilk. Which then grew into a ‘micro festival’ in Dundee’s botanic gardens. The connection and development all came from a graphic design placement and some collaboration.
Another musical collaboration project we chat about is Resono. A project that came out of it looking at travelling around different weird and wonderful acoustics spaces and places in Scotland. Utilising a technique called impulse response they put on performances and created recordings in some breathtaking spaces.
IKEA x Teenage Engineering Collaborative 3D printing project - https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/news/frekvens-limited-collection-pubcd6f39e0
Resono project - http://resono.co.uk
Twitter - https://twitter.com/peg
94 - Kirsty Thomson
Kirsty is the founder and CEO of the Circle, a “More Than Profit” organisation focused on working with social entrepreneurs, community activists, charity leaders, commercial business leaders, trustees and non-executive directors.
Kirsty starts her journey on her return to Dundee after being in academia for many years she found herself unemployed. After signing on, a careers advisor asked if she had considered starting her own business. From there she started ACK (Along Came Kirsty) a business offering consultancy services and ended up working primarily with organisations and charities in the third sector.
After some ups and downs Kirsty identified the need to set up a space that would allow the types of businesses she was working with to grow. Taking away a lot of the hassles and worries around the basics of keeping a roof over their heads and the lights on. It took 2 years of negotiation with a commercial landlord to convince them it was a viable use for their building.
3 years later and the building is full of a diverse range of charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially aware businesses in Dundee. It’s not just about creating a space but about creating a community that grows and thrives together.
They also offer a 12 week Circle Academy to help create businesses that are ‘more than profit’. The Academy helps develop business ideas into viable opportunities and teach step skills necessary to take them forward through a series of challenges.
A core theme that of the episode is the value of creative skills. “The minute you start to value your own time and expertise, then other people start to value that as well.” I think this is exceptionally poignant right now given the situation. We need creative skills to be valued and to get rid of the imbalance that creatives often experience when trying to earn money for their skills.
Kirsty released this statement outlining the current situation and The Circle’s future: https://thecircledundee.org.uk/2020/03/23/a-statement-about-covid-19
Website - thecircledundee.org.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thecircledundee/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/thecircledundee
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thecircledundee/
Fascinating Creative Insights From Dundee
This has become one of my favourite ways of learning about the amazing creative people and projects in and around the city of Dundee, Scotland. Each episode focuses on one person and the interviews are always informal, insightful and inspiring. Well worth subscribing to if you want to understand the realities of working in the creative sector, and essential listening for anyone living or working in Dundee.