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Dundee City of Design achievements as a member of the Creative Cities Network of UNESCO


Terms of reuse
CC BY 2.0

Type of best practice
Audience and Local Community Engagement

design, creative cities, Dundee, Scotland


Dundee’s contemporary creative scene & economy has design expertise in fashion & textile, art & jewellery as well as several digital companies.

Organisation in charge of best practice
Dundee City Council

Dundee, Scotland, UK

2018 to date


Dundee, a Cult-CreaTE Interreg Europe project partner, is a member of UCCN since 2014 in the Design creative field. Dundee is a remarkable city with a population of 147,000 inhabitants – small & compact, but reaching far beyond its boundaries with a thriving & innovative design heart. Dundee’s contemporary creative scene & economy has design expertise in fashion & textile, art & jewellery as well as several digital companies. Dundee uses design & creativity to build and sustain economic growth, but also to change lives in the city. The city is home to a dynamic digital media industry, Dundee Design Festival, a vibrant design & creative industries sector. All of the above invove SMEs that are more competitive by UCCN member activities.

UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with & among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 246 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity & cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level & cooperating actively at the international level. Some 75 of UCCN member cities are in Europe.

UCCN covers 7 creative fields: Crafts & Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature & Music. All of these involve CCIs SMEs that are becoming more competitive through attracting visitors to a city and thus contributing to the development of new & innovative Cultural & Creative Tourism (CCT) products & services.

V&A Dundee – Scotland’s dedicated design museu

A stunning building located right in the heart of the city’s redeveloped waterfront area and a flagship of the city’s regeneration; here you’ll find an intriguing collection of permanent exhibits as well as a fascinating range of exhibitions and events.

The first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland and the only other Victoria and Albert museum anywhere in the world outside London, V&A Dundee provides a place of inspiration, discovery and learning through its mission to enrich lives through design. For the first time and in one place, explore Scotland’s design heritage – its past, present and future.

Expert opinion - Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform

This good practice highlights the potential and importance of integrating design and creative industries – crafts & folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music, etc. – into plans for urban and regional development. At the city level, Dundee shows the positive results that can come from branding themselves as a creative, cultural centre. Such activities have shown to amplify the activities of local craftsman and artisans to a wider (national and international) audience. In the case of Dundee, this has led to growth and development in the CCI and CCT industries as well as attracting visitors to the city through art and creative festivals. In addition to boasting a robust cultural and creative sector, Dundee is also included in the UNESCO Creative Cities network which helps to further promote themselves and their local artisans.


Resources needed
Membership of UCCN is open to all cities of UNESCO Member States. Cities may apply during a periodic Call (the last one was in 2019, the next one is expected probably in 2022). The evaluation process is coordinated by UNESCO. The application process requires both staff time and external expertise.

Challenges encountered

Evidence of success
Dundee, as UCCN 'City of Design', is one of the UCCN laboratories of ideas and innovative practices. As one of the UCCN cities, through policy-making and grass-root projects, Dundee is promoting the participation of all stakeholders, including women, youth and vulnerable groups. The Dundee experience shows SME competitiveness. Dundee through UCCN fully integrates culture & creativity into local development strategies & plans. CCIs are direct beneficiaries in competitiveness of SMEs, through CCT.

Potential for transfer
Achieving UCCN membership benefits a city in strengthening international cooperation with other cities that have creativity as a strategic factor of their sustainable development; stimulates and enhances initiatives led by member cities to make creativity an essential component of urban development, notably through partnerships involving the public and private sectors and civil society. These assists local CCIs to diversify into CCT development through strengthening the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services; developing hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector; improving access to and participation in cultural life as well as the enjoyment of cultural goods and services, notably for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals; fully integrating culture and creativity into local development strategies and plans, thus leading to SMEs competitiveness.

Further Information

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004545.

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