A podcast of conversations with brilliant creatives connected to Dundee, exploring their journeys, thoughts and opinions. Hosted by Ryan McLeod.
Rick Curran - Dundee's skate history through the lens of a web developer
This week we start back in the 80s where Rick takes me through his own creative career as well as the history of the skate scene in Dundee.
He went from college to a full time job as a graphic designer and then on to study Time Based Art at DJCAD. After staying around as a research assistant Rick taught himself how to cope websites and the rest is history really. He started up his own business and after several years running a company with a business partner it became time to go it alone as a freelancer once again.
Skating is such a prominent part of Rick's life that it's only just that we dedicate half the episode to it. He takes me through the early days of building ramps in disused warehouses and the misconceptions that come with skate culture. Through the 90s and some terrible pre-fabbed metal skateparks to the early 2000s where we see the rise of concrete skateparks and in Dundee the creation of Dudhope skatepark.
It's a lovely meandering journey through two prominent elements of Rick's life.
Stephanie Graham - Dundee can be the recovery capital of Europe through design
Stephanie Graham founder of Natla Jewellery and Dundee Community Craft joins me this week. Her goal is to make Dundee the recovery capital of Europe supporting recovery through teaching design skills. She takes her mobile jewellery workshops out into the community to deliver them. The workshops take people through a design process over several weeks but they also create a safe space where people can feel peaceful, feel good about themselves and have a positive experience that helps influence a positive future.
The workshops Stephanie is delivering with Dundee Community Craft have been influenced by her own experiences of trauma, healing and recovery and is already seeing positive outcomes and results despite only being one year into running the business.
The time she spent at the Circle Academy has clearly had a big impact and has helped Stephanie shape the business side of things splitting her own jewellery practice Natla Jewellery Studio and Dundee Community Crafts.
Long term Stephanie is aiming to train more people to support her and deliver workshops as well as have a fleet of vans fitted with mobile jewellery studios to allow her to work with people anywhere.
Jennie Patterson - PR is just making people care about what you have to say
Hippies communes to funeral directors to Jennifer Lopez and Dior, Jennie grew up in Dundee, was drawn to Glasgow and inevitably London building her eclectic PR career before returning to Dundee.
Starting out in Pitkerro House, a sort of hippie commune on the outskirts of Dundee, this instilled the values of community and people working together on common goals from the very outset of her life. This has clearly had a big impact in the way that Jennie has progressed her career seeking a sense of belonging and community around her.
She then moved down to Glasgow to work at Pied de Terre and enjoyed being part of the scene and then moved into a PR role but eventually the allure of London was just too great. Jennie's first job in the big smoke was literally dragging sacks of mail outs to the post office. It did become a little more exciting like saying no to all requests for Jennifer Lopez but talking about her time down in London Jennie said "I never felt like the glamorous one. I felt like Alan Partridge's assistant, Lynne."
After 13 years Jennie felt the time was right to leave London and head home as excitement was starting to build with the beginnings of the V&A Dundee. She uses a really lovely analogy of not feeling creative herself but being the glue that helps hold things together. There are loads of these people in Dundee's creative community and they play a vital role of holding us all together and making things happen.
Badbish Design- Confronting privilege & elitism in design
We take a deep dive into some of the nuances of graphic design with Badbish Design this week, featuring how to vent your creative frustrations, the need for building relationships when giving and receiving feedback and why she would happily draw a hippo for £5,000.
Badbish's career started out with a frustrating time at art school but after picking up some graphics work for the bars she was working in, things started to change. A graphic design position within a university lead to learning how to deal with people and a masters course in communication sparked inspiration and conflict.
It was from here that Badbish as a persona (and an instagram account) was born, taking the name from a furry friend and creating a really valuable creative outlet. The social media posts led to real reassurance and a sense of community through people's responses. After time the venting of her frustrations transitioned into income generation by selling totes, t-shirts and prints with her most popular piece 'Fuck the Tories'.
Badbish's latest career move to Design Lead at Upfront is somewhere that she feels she can be herself. After a significant time in the industry this is a huge step and a brilliant company to work. To find out more you can listen to Upfront's founder Lauren Currie in her own episode of Creative Chit Chat: https://soundcloud.com/cccdundee/33-lauren-currie
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Little Green Larder - Creating a shop to help people make more sustainable choices
I'm joined by Jillian Elizabeth owner of the Little Green Larder a zero waste, plastic free shop aiming to make shopping for sustainable products easy and convenient. The Little Green Larder offers a wide variety of foods and products with their best seller being their vegan pick n mix.
Jillian saw zero waste shops opening up across the world and sick of waiting on someone setting one up in Dundee, she decided to do it herself. So she found a location and built a community around the Little Green Larder. During lockdown the shop was inundated with customers and orders but as the world opened back up business saw a decline. Leading to Jillian creating a post to say 'Come and say hello to us so we don't have to say goodbye to you'. An extremely difficult post to share but a necessary dose of honesty to save the store. Things since the post have taken a much more positive turn with lots of customers returning but this highlights the difficult time small businesses are currently going through.
I ask Jillian to talk me through some of the buzz words that are thrown around all too often in marketing campaigns and discuss what these terms really mean. In a little twist from my regular recommendation question I ask Jillian to round off the episode by highlighting some of the brilliant independents in Dundee. If you can, go visit the Little Green Larder and try to support your local independents as everyone is finding it tough right now.
Islay Spalding - Space ownership & being taken seriously
Jeweller and owner of Double Door Studios joins me for a wonderful meandering chat through her journey. There's a little sidetrack into busking and then onto building a jewellery practice in kilt pins, wedding rings and collections. A quick jaunt around making brooches more accessible through skirting boards and broken musical instruments. Before focusing on finding a space, setting up the finances and taking ownership of her very own space Double Door Studios. Islay has a wonderful positive and driven attitude that comes through in the episode even when making huge decisions and taking risks. In sharing staff, going down the space ownership route and building a team of likeminded jewellers she has created a long term sustainable space for design. Something that we desperately need more of in Dundee.
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.