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Primary school pupils from across Dundee gave a specially-written musical performance in front of The McManus in Albert Square, on Thursday 21 January, to celebrate the return of the collection of objects and artworks to the museum.

The pupils, around 150 from six local schools, worked with artists, musicians and drama workers from The McManus and Dundee Rep Theatre's creative learning teams, to create fantastic 3D costumes for the unique performance inspired by the new displays at The McManus. They performed in front of an invited audience, which included local councillors and council officers.

The event began from the north entrance with a lively promenade by the children to the new main entrance on the south side of the building, where they and their objects were welcomed into the museum. They continued on through the building to the 20th Century Gallery, where they gave the musical presentation.

QC2 at Harris Academy

March - June 2010

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Our first development project with a Secondary School upon reopening was with a fantastic group of young people from Harris Academy supported through the Quality Contact programme. With artist Scott Hudson the group explored the new galleries, documenting their finds with words and images in their hand crafted sketchbooks. They chose themes from the 'Dundee & the World' gallery to develop large 'mummy' style sculptures, created in groups and exhibited in the Creative Learning Studio.

The Lord Provost attended a special exhibition event to showcase the work made by the group. Click on the 'Arts Update' link to view the Lord Provost with the sculptures ...

One World Centre / ESOL Book project

November 2010 - March 2011

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Women from countries as far apart as Poland and Pakistan came together to create artwork and text for a book exploring contemporary life in Dundee. In partnership with the One World Centre and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutors from Dundee City Council, the group worked with artist Tracey Smith to explore creative techniques of printmaking, photography, drawing, collage and illustration following tours around the museum. Using images from around the world, symbolic objects and photographs of the locality of Dundee, each participant has told their own story in words and images in the final publication ‘Happy to be Here’.

9 Trades of Dundee project

Throughout 2010

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'Nine Trades of Dundee' was a project led by Exhibitions Department at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2009/10. The projects aims were to increase arts access and participation for non-arts audiences in Dundee by bringing art activity and creativity to the heart of the workplace.

The project was inspired by the 9 Trades of Dundee organisation that has operated since the 1400s, representing nine trade groups: Baker, Cordiner (Shoemaker), Glover, Tailor, Bonnetmaker, Flesher (butcher), Hammerman, Dyer and Weaver.

9 visual artists with other trades were commissioned to work with their trade peer group to create collaborative artworks and events.

Two artists from the project showcased work at the McManus in 2010.

Clare Thornton

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A seamstress for 20 years Clare is interested in collecting curiosities, assembling archives of memories and making objects inspired by these materials. For this project Clare has taken on the role of a roving tailor gathering stories and tools of the trade as she travels through the city. Clare produced a unique garment inspired by these personal encounters, co-created with several of these tailoring and fabric worker colleagues. Clare developed links with textile businesses Halley Stevenson, Utopia Costumes and gentleman's outfitters Cooper & McKenzie.

On 17 July 2010 Clare took a group of interested people on a textile tour of Dundee City Centre, stopping at the Trades House Bar, Reform Street (the Savile Row of the North), the Howff graveyard, finally placing her coat on an exhibition stand in the Landscapes & Lives Gallery in the McManus where it remained on display for a month and is now part of the city collection.

Debbie Lawson

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Sculptor Debbie Lawson is also a deputy chief sub-editor on The Observer. Debbie uses furniture and found objects to make sculptures which take the viewer on a journey into the psychological landscape of the domestic interior.

For the Nine Trades of Dundee commission Debbie worked with DC Thomson to recreate The Broons' but an' ben in The McManus. 'Our House' was constructed entirely out of DC Thomson newspaper and was inspired by the artist's memories of Dundee, as well as her own experience of working within the newspaper industry.

During October 2010, visitors were able to walk into the but an' ben, complete with furniture and the daily evidence of family life, giving them the chance to become part of the artwork themselves.

A companion piece, 'The Bairn's Flowerbed', breathed new life into a floral patterned carpet and was exhibited at the base of the Grand Stair.

The Big Draw

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Throughout October 2010 our pencils were sharpened for Big Draw month - a series of events that explored drawing around the museum and in the Creative Learning Studio. Artist Hilary Grant created a silly scribble portrait gallery in our studio while our Big Draw/ Small Draw activities kept young, old (and most of the staff) doodling in the galleries.

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