98 episodes

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.

Creative Chit Chat - Dundee Ryan McLeod

    • Arts

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.

    94 - Kirsty Thomson

    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/

    • 51 min
    An Uplifting Update

    An Uplifting Update

    In difficult times for everyone I thought it was important to release some positivity, talk about the importance of everyone still creating content and how we should pull together as a community.

    As pretty much all events and gatherings are now off we need to look at how we bring together the creative community over the coming months. How do we bring people together digitally to take advantage of this time? Let’s utilise the amazing talent and skills we have in Dundee to create content to get us through the difficult times.

    I’ve also put together a nice big list of podcasts and TV shows/entertainment to try and take the edge off things:

    - The Beans
    - The Creative Boom Podcast
    - Everything is Alive
    - Shagged Married Annoyed
    - Passenger List
    - The Chernobyl Podcast
    - Off Menu

    - What We Do in the Shadows
    - Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotland

    **Channel 4**
    - The End of The F***ing World
    - Before We Die

    **Sky/Now TV**
    - Silicon Valley
    - Avenue 5
    - Kidding

    **Amazon Prime**
    - Andy Murray: Resurfacing
    - The Report
    - Vice

    - Cheer
    - Ugly Delicious
    - Studio Ghilbi back catalogue
    - American Factory
    - Uppity
    - Drive to Survive
    - Behind the Curve

    **Apple TV**
    - The Mythic Quest
    - The Morning Show
    - Little America

    • 24 min
    93 - Ica Headlam / Creative Me Podcast

    93 - Ica Headlam / Creative Me Podcast

    Ica hosts and runs the Creative Me Podcast in Aberdeen and I invited him down to Dundee to do a podcast exchange. Turns out we have very similar stories and approaches when it comes to podcasting.

    Originally from South East London, Ica moved up to Aberdeen with his girlfriend about 15 years ago to study social work. He’s seen the creative scene change and grow while recording the stories of creatives in the city.

    We both started our podcasts around the same time and have put out about the same number of episodes. When chatting it was funny how we have mirrored so many of the same patterns. We both burned ourselves out in the early stages and came to the realisation that there is no expectation to be putting out an episode every week. Granted, in the beginning it’s good practice to get things out there and develop the skills. But 1 episode every week is a massive amount of work to keep on top of and generally more content that listeners can keep up with. Especially if you’re trying to do it all year round.

    We end our chat by talking about the development of local talent. Aberdeen has had some amazing events over the past few years with things like Nuart but it is mainly about parachuting in that international talent. Ica feels that the focus needs to be on developing young talent in and around the city especially in more deprived areas. Creating a more inclusive atmosphere throughout the city.

    I could’ve happily chatted for hours with Ica but if you do enjoy this episode we also recorded 1 for the Creative Me Podcast which you can find here:


    All Creative Me Episodes: http://creativemepodcast.com/

    Creative Me on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/creativemepodcast/

    Creative Me on twitter: https://twitter.com/CreativeMePodc1

    • 43 min
    92 - Jen Collins

    92 - Jen Collins

    Jen is an Illustrator and ceramicist who has spent her time between Dundee, Glasgow and Toronto during her career so far.
    Her work often notes quiet moments, human connection and the natural world. Pencil and paper are generally the tools of choice, but she occasionally plays with clay, too.

    After graduating from DJCAD Jen started making products that she could sell online to build an audience and generate some income. She needed a part-time job at this point to support her creative practice and said that it was important to admit ’In my 1st tax return I had a big fat zero in there’.

    After changing her supporting job to working in marketing it led her down to Glasgow. It was there that she decided to go to some beginners ceramics classes. Out of a curiosity for the craft and that she had never really quite got away from the 2D nature of her illustration work. We chat about how these beginners classes are really enjoyable but also a great gateway into learning new skills and developing creative practice. There are some great things going on in this area already in Dundee but running those classes can be costly and time-consuming. Could we get together as a creative community to reduce the amount of work and increase the breadth and depth of the offering to make design skills more accessible?

    It was at this point in Glasgow Jen had built a good online following and purely through developing work and selling it online, she was starting to be commissioned for illustrations. It then time for a big change. Her and her boyfriend went off to Toronto for 2 years to work and live. It was here that Jen
    joined an open access ceramics space called ‘The Shop’ where she developed her ceramics work and started collaborating and selling through it. She had her own working space shared with others and managed to find a really good creative/commercial balance. We talk about it as the ‘holy grail’ being creatively fulfilled but not being skint!

    Eventually, the lure of Scotland led Jen back to Dundee to continue developing her career and now has a studio at Wasps. We talk about the difficulty with creative spaces in Dundee and trying to find some sort of answer to the empty shop fronts on the high street.

    We finish by discussing Dundee in this new ‘post spotlight era’, interesting to see what happens next.

    Jen’s website - https://www.jen-collins.com/
    Jen’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/jen.collins/
    Jen’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/hellojencollins?lang=en
    The illustrator - https://bentheillustrator.com/illustrators-survey

    • 1 hr 4 min
    91 - Neil Cooney

    91 - Neil Cooney

    Do you like sneakers? Then this episode is for you. From importing random Japanese zines to working in Hanon in Aberdeen and having over 250 pairs sitting in his garage. Me and Neil chat a lot about trainers in this episode. Even though his journey isn’t really about footwear.

    He came to Dundee to set up Borders books store. Which he helped build into the most successful branch in the UK but despite this, the company went into administration. Neil had to go through that process and watch the community he had built disappear.

    He seems to have a knack of getting his foot in the door by offering to lend a hand. This saw him working on some of the early-stage public consultations for V&A Dundee, then on to several Business Improvement District projects. In the episode, he also reveals that Kengo Kuma’s design was not actually the public’s first choice! The Bluebell design was the preferred choice but it was deemed too similar to Belfast’s Titanic Museum.

    After his work with the V&A Dundee, the Archie foundation approached Neil to help create a fundraising trail. This became the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail that was so successful at getting people out and exploring as well as raising a lot of money for charity. Neil also went on to work on the Maggie’s Penguin Parade and bucket trail number 2. Working with Wild in Art he’s now working on trails projects worldwide. But how long can this model really last? We chat about the possibilities and certain restricting factors for the future.

    We finish by talking about a mutual love of trainers. It may be a little self-indulgent but you’ve got to take the chance when it’s there!

    Maggie’s Penguin Parade - https://www.maggies.org/about-us/news/maggies-penguin-parade-va-dundee-auction-raises-half-a-million/

    Neil’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/clepington/

    Wild in Art - https://www.wildinart.co.uk/

    Our Wullie Bucket Trail - https://www.oorwullie.com/

    Hanon - https://www.hanon-shop.com/

    Dundee Sole - https://www.instagram.com/dundeesole/?hl=en

    • 1 hr 3 min
    90 - Col Gray

    90 - Col Gray

    A graphic designer who runs Pixels Ink, helping brands find their identity and voice. He’s also built up a following through online design advice and tutorials on his youtube channel.

    Col started out doing an interior design course, then moved on to animation and ended up working in a series of smaller studios doing various different roles. He started to get itchy feet when the studio he was at began to grow and he lost the direct relationships with the clients. After finding himself in a pretty toxic environment he knew he had to get out and start his own business. Despite not having any real experience running a business and not having and clients!

    This was a massive leap and 1 thing that comes up time and again in the episode is confidence. It’s definitely something Col has struggled with and something I think we can all relate to. It was this statement that really stuck with me though:

    “I don’t think enough people invest in themselves… From my experience, when I’ve invested money in myself, it’s given me a boost of confidence… and it’s paid for itself every single time.”

    A real turning point in Col’s career was discovering Content Marketing. In simple terms, it’s being as helpful as you can, no sales pitch and essentially just giving away your knowledge. Which seems counter-intuitive at first but in actual fact it shows the design process and everything that is involved. So it actually unveils the complexities involved in graphic design and encourages people to actually commission work.

    Accountability groups are another amazing concept that came out in the podcast. Essentially a monthly meet up where you all hold each other accountable for progressing your own businesses. It’s a great support structure, especially if you are a freelancer or working on your own. Having people there to sense check with and bounce ideas off can be invaluable.

    “Have confidence in your imperfections”

    Col’s Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/pixelsink

    Col’s Website - https://pixelsink.com/

    Col’s twitter - https://twitter.com/pixelsink

    • 52 min

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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.

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