The third a-n Assembly event for 2018 took place at the Unit 6 Vision Building in Dundee and explored the idea of ‘cultural outposts’ and the challenges and advantages these offer for sustained artist-led practice. ‘Scotland’s first design museum’ V&A Dundee had opened in the city the previous month.

Dundee is a city in transition. Industrial buildings surrounding V&A Dundee are being converted into luxury hotels or demolished to make way for high end housing, and the city is undergoing a period of intense cultural and architectural change. With much of the city’s cultural strategy currently focusing on Dundee’s population as its target audience, artists are calling for the city to also support grassroots artistic production, critique and dialogue as part of a healthy and sustainable community.

Programmed in collaboration with artist Joanna Helfer, Assembly Dundee offered a platform to discuss the impact these changes have had on the local arts ecology, and presented a range of responses by artists and organisations from areas around the UK that have undergone similar transformations.

Using Dundee as a starting point, the day-long event combined discussions, presentations and practical hands-on workshops to explore meaningful ways to live, work and connect in challenging places.

Read Robyn Woolston’s report Assembly Dundee: “We’re collaborating, and it works – there is a precious dynamic that is important for us”.

Assembly Dundee videos on a-n’s YouTube channel

Generator Projects’ chair Hari Macmillan, and committee members Charis Edward Wells and Lizzie Day introduce the organisation and discuss its aim of supporting emerging artists in the city.

The Royal Standard artistic directors Lucy Bretherton and Becky Peach introduce their roles and outline the challenges of sustaining a volunteer-run organisation for over a decade.

Artist and co-founder of Tin Roof Joanna Helfer describes her involvement with Dundee’s artist-led scene and her optimism for the future.

A Network of Outposts, panel discussion. Speakers Alissa Kleist (curator, Belfast), Beth Emily Richards (artist and producer, Jamboree), Yvette Bathgate and Donald Butler (Tendency Towards, Aberdeen), and Joanna Helfer (artist and co-founder of Tin Roof, Dundee) offer their perspectives on the creative ecology of the city.