Dundee Science Centre

£1M Raised for Dundee Cultural Organisations

The Dundee Cultural Recovery Fund has raised £1 million, with the generous support of The Northwood Charitable Trust, for five of Dundee’s leading independent cultural organisations.

The Northwood Charitable Trust, the Thomson family’s private charitable organisation, donated £500,000 to the campaign as a challenge fund, to match other contributions pound-for-pound.

The generous donors and trusts include Tim and Kim Allan, Alliance Trust, Al-Maktoum Community Grant Fund, Dundee City Council, Morris and Joyce Leslie, Alasdair Locke, The RJ Larg Family Trust, Leng Charitable Trust, Lethendy Charitable Trust, The Mathew Trust, MHA Henderson Loggie, Tay Charitable Trust, and Eric Young, as well as a number of anonymous donors.

Dundee Science Centre


The fundraising campaign, which was led by V&A Dundee, will benefit Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee Heritage Trust (operator of Discovery Point and Verdant Works), Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, Dundee Science Centre, and V&A Dundee.

Culture is fundamental to Dundee’s post-pandemic reopening and recovery, the wellbeing of its citizens, and to the city’s ability to continue developing its ambitions for the future. Throughout the pandemic, Dundee’s cultural sector has adapted to continue supporting and connecting with audiences across the city, as well as focusing on the protection of jobs and the sustainability of their organisations.

The cultural community in Dundee is at the heart of the city’s economic and social response to COVID. The Dundee Cultural Recovery Fund is designed to offset some of the significant financial impact of the pandemic and to kick-start Dundee’s cultural, social and economic recovery.

The city’s cultural attractions and organisations are preparing an exciting programme of activities this summer, including Discovery Point reopening on 10 May with a quayside pirate exhibition, a major exhibition of new work by British artist Emma Talbot at Dundee Contemporary Arts from 28 April, Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre’s new digital season of theatre, dance, musicals and live music, brand new exhibitions at the recently transformed Dundee Science Centre, Verdant Works reopening with the beautiful Scottish Diaspora Tapestry on 28 May, and V&A Dundee’s new exhibition Night Fever: Designing Club Culture from 1 May.

Christopher Thomson, Trustee, The Northwood Charitable Trust said: “Enhancing cultural enrichment in our communities is one of the key objectives of The Northwood Charitable Trust and we are therefore really pleased to support the Dundee Cultural Recovery Fund.

“Dundee is renowned for its rich creative heritage and our many cultural attractions will play an essential role in the recovery of the city’s local economy in the months ahead. This important collaboration will help not only protect several of our leading cultural organisations and the jobs they create, but also help them to grow and develop for the future.”

Tim Allan, Chair of V&A Dundee, said: “Dundee is a city of immense creativity and these five organisations are culturally, economically and socially invaluable. It was important that V&A Dundee utilised its resources and skills during the pandemic to lead this fundraising and it has been a huge success.

“We believe this is a truly unique campaign, unlike anything else in the UK. A group of like-minded organisations came together to harness the generosity of private individuals and trusts to support the delivery of world-class culture for the citizens of Dundee, visitors, and globally through our online programmes. It brilliantly demonstrates the sense of common purpose and innovation for which the city and Scotland is well known.

“Our donors came from a very broad cross section of society: from major businesses to private individuals and charitable trusts. I want to sincerely thank every donor who contributed to this campaign, and to the incredible generosity of The Northwood Charitable Trust in matching each of those donations.”

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “I am delighted that this target has been reached, because this fund will play an important role in helping the cultural sector in its recovery phase.

“Culture has a huge value for the city of Dundee and the reopening of popular Dundee attractions will help bring people and investment to the city as lockdown restrictions ease.
These organisations have connected with communities during lockdown, providing equipment and materials to many families. This funding will also allow them to continue with that work to engage with Dundonians.”

Alasdair Locke, entrepreneur and Chair of decommissioning firm Well Safe, said: “I am delighted to see the Dundee Cultural Recovery Fund meet its £1 million target, helping to support five of the city’s key cultural organisations at this incredibly challenging time.

“Dundee has seen transformational change in recent years. Its cultural organisations have an important leadership role to play in the city’s recovery, contributing both to citizens’ quality of life and also to encouraging more investment in Dundee’s continuing regeneration.”


For media enquiries, please contact press@vandadundee.org

Notes to Editors: 

The Northwood Charitable Trust

The Northwood Charitable Trust provides financial support to help enhance people’s lives through a wide range of charitable organisations.

The main funding themes are: addressing deprivation, poverty and inequality; advancing educational attainment; progressing physical and mental health and wellbeing; supporting community, heritage and cultural enrichment.

In response to COVID-19, The Northwood Charitable Trust has given some financial support to organisations which are helping some of the most vulnerable groups at this time. This has included children and families suffering extreme hardship, the elderly, those affected by food poverty, homelessness, substance misuse (and those in recovery), domestic abuse or mental health concerns.

The Northwood Charitable Trust was established in 1972 to benefit charitable organisations. It was originally funded by a Thomson family member who donated his shares in the family business; this business now operates as DC Thomson which is a private company and is one of the leading media organisations in the UK.

Subsequent members of the Thomson family have provided continuity and leadership of the private Trust and the wider family has continued to donate to the charitable fund. The current Trustees, who are family members, remain committed to upholding the values of the founder and the objectives of the Trust.

Dundee Contemporary Arts

Dundee Contemporary Arts will reopen on Wednesday 28 April, with a major exhibition of new work by British artist Emma Talbot. Ghost Calls draws together the diverse facets of the artist’s practice to create a painterly new world in the gallery for audiences to step into. A programme of both online and in person events has been programmed to accompany the exhibition. DCA’s Create Space will return in Gallery 1, offering a safe, socially distanced space for families to get creative with activities inspired by the exhibition, and share their own artworks too.

DCA Print Studio will be open to Registered Users for pre-booked printmaking sessions, including use of DCA’s new temporary Print Space and a new screen exposure service. DCA Cinema will reopen as soon as restrictions allow: in the meantime DCA at Home is a new streaming service offering the DCA Cinema experience online.

Dundee Heritage Trust

Verdant Works is reopening with the beautiful world-travelled Scottish Diaspora Tapestry on 28 May – from the designer of the Tapestry of Scotland – so big even in the stunningly huge High Mill it is being show in two blocks. The show will run until mid-September.

While Discovery Point itself will not always be fully open this summer due to the building works necessary to bring a brand new attraction to our visitors for next year, the ship will remain open seven days a week on usual summer hour opening times – and will have a special quayside pirate exhibition running all summer to commemorate both the 330th anniversary of the hanging of Dundee’s famous pirate Kemp – a story of political intrigue, double crossing and skulduggery and an ongoing campaign to clear his name – and the great friendship of our own RRS Discovery’s Captain Scott with the famous Tay Region writer of pirate adventures, JM Barrie.

Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre

Marking the opening of Rep Studios is the return of the 80th anniversary season’s smash-hit Smile (16 April – 16 May) which saw Dundee Rep packed out with brand new theatre audiences. Filmed on the Rep stage, Smile focuses on the controversial and highly respected figure of Jim McLean, a Scottish footballing legend who took Dundee United to new heights. Written by Philip Differ (‘Only an Excuse?’), directed by Sally Reid (‘Scot Squad’) and with Rep Ensemble’s Barrie Hunter reprising the title role. Scottish Dance Theatre is celebrating this year’s International Dance Day in style with the digital premiere on 29 April of Thin h/as h/air choreographed by company member Pauline Torzuoli. A natural continuation from Where are you, Dundee? which was created by and for the people of Dundee, This is for you Dundee is a free to access mini-festival of new work created by 26 freelance artists and creatives engaging with the people of Dundee in celebration of their resilience during an extremely challenging year and exploring the transformative power of performing arts. The Dundee Rep Ensemble presents the world premiere of Sinder, an original piece of digital performance from an all-female creative team including Associate Directors Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore, Molly Taylor (‘Love Letters to the Public Transport System’, ‘Extinguished Things’) and film-maker Kim Beveridge (‘Sonic Cinema’). Delivering on our strategy of bringing music events to the fore and continuing our work with freelance artists, Dawn Sievewright (‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’, ‘Glasgow Girls’) and John McLarnon (‘My Left Right Foot’, ‘Local Hero’) have collaborated with Rep Artistic Director Andrew Panton to present 3M MIXTAPE (part one) (May). Filmed live and shot across different locations throughout Scotland that have changed their significance during lockdown, artists include Reuben Joseph, Eleanor Kane, Christina Modestou, Sally Clay, and Martin Quinn.  The Life and Times (17 – 18 June) will see the full ensemble of Scottish Dance Theatre dancers returning to their home stage of Dundee Rep. The piece will be broadcasted live from the stage at the Rep in a single, continuous shot by Edinburgh-based video artist Tao-Anas Le Thanh.

Dundee Rep and Eden Court Highlands presents Islander, a reimagining of the award-winning two-hander folk theatre show conceived and directed by Amy Draper with music and lyrics by St Andrews-born writer and composer Finn Anderson. Originally presented as part of Made in Scotland 2019 showcase at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this critically-acclaimed environmental show continued its success with an off-West End run and a BBC Radio 4 adaptation. Area of a Circle (28 May) offers a unique insight into the world of 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award-winner Kathryn Joseph who relocated to Dundee just before the global pandemic brought the world to a standstill. In this special, live-streamed event, Kathryn will be joined on stage by fellow Dundee musicians Su Shaw (SHHE), Andrew Wasylyk, and Sion Parkinson. Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre are committed to making Rep Studios content accessible and affordable with reduced rates for those who can’t afford to pay the full price and many free events across the season.

Dundee Science Centre

Dundee Science Centre serves as a STEM hub for the region. It has recently been transformed to create a truly innovative fun and learning environment. The new accessible facilities including our Sensory Zone, Changing Places toilet and outside spaces are designed to make all our visitors feel welcome. Our brand new exhibitions offer show-stopping interactives from Waterworks on the ground floor through to a COVID-19 interactive exhibit on the upper level. Café Create is a relaxing place to refuel with food and drink within an environment that sparks creativity!

We will also be running summer clubs over the school holidays suitable from P1 upwards. The club will welcome children into the centre for a fun-filled day of action and STEM activity.

V&A Dundee

A UK-exclusive exhibition on the joyful history of nightclub design will reopen V&A Dundee on Saturday 1 May. Night Fever: Designing Club Culture is the first large-scale examination of the relationship between club culture and design, charting the evolution of nightclubs from the 1960s to today.

Nightclubs are spaces for adventure and escape, and have always encouraged experimental and radical design, from New York’s Studio 54 to Manchester’s Haçienda. From Italy to New York, Paris, Manchester, London, Beirut and Berlin, and into everyone’s homes today through online streaming, the exhibition charts how nightclub design has changed and developed.

The exhibition will include a new section on Scotland’s unique and distinct club culture, including legendary club nights in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley, exploring how the Scottish club scene holds closer ties to the music and influences of Chicago, Detroit and Europe than London clubs.