The University's annual Culture Day is now organised by the Culture & Arts Committee, a Senate committee which aims to support and promote cultural activity across the University. Established in 2015, it replaces the previous, informal Culture & Arts Forum that initiated Culture Day. Programmes for all of the events can be found here.
Please come to as much or as little of the programme as you would like, but to help us organise catering please book a place via Eventbrite
1.40 Gaye Manwaring (Education, School of Education & Social Work)
What can you do on a personal level to enhance your own wellbeing? How can you develop your full potential as well as growing older? How can you be resilient to the challenges you face in your life?
1.55 Caroline Brown (Archive Services, Culture & Information)
Botanising Excursions: Gardens and Landscapes through the Ages
This presentation uses the University archives to trace the growth and development of some of the plants, gardens and landscapes in the Tayside region.
2.10 Andy Jackson (Ninewells Library, School of Medicine)
Growth and Reflection for Medical students: How Poetry can Help
On Graduation Day, graduates of the Medical School receive their certificate, but they also receive a little book of poetry for doctors called Tools of the Trade. This presentation will look at the development of this book, and how the Medical School is using poetry to help doctors learn to reflect and grow into their roles.
2.25 Emese Nagy (Psychology, School of Social Sciences)
Sensitive Periods or Lifelong Growth: Lessons on Brains and Culture from Music
Where does music come from? Is it in our brains? Is it in the culture? Are there sensitive periods for this art form or the growth is life-long? How can music help people? Psychology and arts together are trying to answer these questions.
3.00 Matthew Jarron (Museum Services, Culture & Information)
The Growth of On Growth and Form
D’Arcy Thompson’s ground-breaking publication is almost certainly the most influential book ever written in Dundee, but where did it come from?
3.15 Morag Hannah (Web Services, External Relations)
The web is doing us a linguistic revolution and we cannot even with it. From neologisms to noun verbing, from birbs to very good doggos (13/10 would fuss again), we'll be exploring the growth and change in the vocabulary and structure of the English language via the important internet memes of recent years, and establishing once and for all (no really) whether 'important internet memes' is an oxymoron. Such web. So grammar. Wow.
3.30 Daniel Cook (English, School of Humanities)
Little People, Large World: Captain Scott's copy of Gulliver's Travels
On his first Antarctic expedition, in 1901-04, Captain Scott took with him a small but elegant copy of Gulliver's Travels. That copy had been gifted to him by his mentor Sir Clements Markham. But that’s only part of the story: before giving that book to Scott, Markham had taken it on his own journey to the Arctic in search of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin, decades earlier. That book is now on display at The Discovery Point in Dundee. What else might we know about such a well-travelled copy of one of Ireland's greatest literary works?
4.00 Karen Petrie (Computing, School of Science & Engineering)
The Growth of Artificial Intelligence
If you picked up most newspapers in the last month you will have seen an article on the growth of AI and how it will take over the world. This talk will look at what has changed to show this rate of growth and how it could affect us all.
4.15 Alasdair Hood (Botanic Garden)
Botanic Garden Growth and Development planning
What have we achieved, where are we going and how do we get there? This will be a look at the various development initiatives we have spent the last decade or so working on in order to try and grow the Garden. This will include horticultural development.
4.30 Janice Aitken (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design)
Growing Penguins in Dundee
Find out how a major public art project grows from idea to reality.
4.45 Peggy Hughes (Literary Dundee, External Relations)
Beards of Literature
What growth more welcome than a beard? Here we take a closer look at beards in literature: Upton Uxbridge Underwood and his ingenious ranking of poets by beard weight. The many and varied euphemisms employed by Herman Melville in White-Jacket. Walt Disney's infamous pogonophobia. The beards invoked by Tolstoy and Whitman and Ginsberg and Dahl, not to mention the face forests of the writers themselves, of Edwards Gorey and Lear and Philip Ardagh, here is a whistlestop tour of the world of words through beards.
Please come to as much or as little of the programme as you would like, but to help us organise catering please book a place via Eventbrite
1.40 Keith Williams (English, School of Humanities)
H G Wells@150: Seeing the Future (but also How the Future Would See)
It’s a cliché that H G Wells ‘saw the future’. Many of today’s technologies and social changes were anticipated by his prophetic science fiction. Much less well known are Wells’s anticipations of how the future might see, imagining moving image media which shape the modern world. This illustrated talk (one of several activities marking Wells’s 150 anniversary) will showcase this alternative aspect of Wells’s visionary work.
1.55 Caroline Erolin (CAHID, School of Science & Engineering)
Zoology Museum 3D
Caroline has been working with Museum Services to digitise specimens from the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum. Smaller specimens have been scanned using a micro CT scanner, while larger specimens have been captured using hand-held structured light scanners. The resulting 3D models are hosted online via Sketchfab and are available for viewing and downloading worldwide. In this talk Caroline will be discussing the impact new technologies are having on museums and looking at the role of digital engagement and widening access.
2.10 Richard Holme (Education, School of Education & Social Work)
Teachers as Rogue Learners and DIY Professional Development
The nature of teachers as learners is evolving, with many taking back ownership of their own development. Digital technology and social media has facilitated this but there seems to be something deeper at work. We may be at the beginning of a major shift change in school education – which is being led by teachers themselves.
2.25 Graeme Morton (History, School of Humanities)
The Culture of Weather Watching in an Age of Innovation
The wider acceptance of meteorologists’ observational and measurement data in the Victorian age was undermined by the continued popularity of weather folklore and proxy data (from nature and agriculture). This talk explores the relationship between culture and science in Scotland’s history of meteorological observation.
3.00 Matthew Jarron (Museum Services)
Ten Dundee Designers
The recent UNESCO designation of Dundee as a City of Design is highlighting the wealth of current design talent we have here, but what of Dundee’s history of design? Here we will meet ten notable designers from the past 200 years, all innovators in one way or another.
3.15 Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden)
Out with the Old? - Innovation and Conservation in Evolution
A famous Dundee graduate and the Battle of Britain will lead us to how Natural Selection makes do and mends in producing evolutionary novelties.
3.30 Norman Alm (Computing, School of Science & Engineering)
Computer-based support for communication and enjoyment usable by people with dementia and their carers
People with dementia, because of their problems with working (short-term) memory, find it difficult to communicate and to have enjoyable pastimes. A group of researchers from the fields of psychology, design and software engineering have developed two innovative touch-screen systems that produced breakthroughs in this area: a conversation support system based on multi-media reminiscence, and a set of interactive games that can be enjoyed without the need for short-term-memory.
4.00 Graeme Stevenson (Music)
From Pythagoras to Bach
Graeme will tell us a story of musical innovation – how we ended up with 7 white and 5 black notes that could play pieces in any key.
4.15 Jan Merchant (Archive Services)
From Papyrus to Pixels: Innovations in Recording.
Using examples from the University Archives this talk look at how innovations in the way we record and keep information have impacted on how we remember and understand the past.
4.30 Brendan Body (Animation, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design)
Intuitive Technological Developments in Animation Studies
Brendan will talk about some of the techniques and the facilities used in DJCAD and what impact recent innovations in technology and software are having on animation. Using some recent examples of students’ work he will show how developments from the games industry are affecting filmmaking as well as show how software and hardware are becoming more intuitive, helping artists realise their visions.
4.45 Brian Hoyle (English & Film Studies, School of Humanities)
The Cinema is Dead, Long Live the Cinema
This talk will examine recent innovations in digital cinema by filmmakers such as Peter Greenaway, Jean-Luc Godard and Agnes Varda and will show that this newfound so-called ‘amateur’ film technology has inspired certain film-makers to match and recreate some of the boldest innovations of the last days of silent cinema, when film was a purely visual medium.
1.30pm - Introduction
1.35pm - Caroline Brown (Archive Services)
A Sense of Place: Strathmartine Hospital
Capturing different memories of an institution, a workplace and a home. This talk will provide an overview of an oral history project with staff and former residents of Strathmartine hospital.
1.50pm - Susan Mains (Geography)
Ties to the Tay: Place, People and Storytelling
The River Tay has featured in a range of artistic mediums and is a key component of Tayside geographies. The Tay is also interwoven with connections to special places and memories - stories about this material and social landscape help us make sense of our own journeys and can also offer a new sense of belonging.
2.05pm - Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden)
Painting the Back Yard: Andrew Wyeth and Claude Monet
Two painters with such a strong sense of place that they restricted much of their work to, respectively, two and a single location(s).
2.20pm - Mark Robson (English & Theatre Studies)
The Politics of Dramaturgy
Dramaturgy is concerned with the structures within which events take place. In theatrical terms, it can be taken to indicate the ways in which different elements of a performance relate to each other, and the processes by which the performance comes into being. But in creating the world of the play, dramaturgy also creates a vision of the world beyond the play. So what are the politics of these acts of world-creation?
2.35pm – break for refreshments
2.55pm - Annie Tindley (History)
Landscape and the Clearances: the shadow of history?
As Scottish politicians grapple with a new Land Reform bill, this talk will explore the historical background of this contentious issue, from the Highland clearances, and how perceptions of these events have, and continue to, shape legislation and public opinion. We will examine the nature of power and conflict in rural Scotland, and how its history and traditions have permeated Scottish culture and continue to set the political agenda today.
3.10pm - Andy Milligan (DJCAD)
Domestechtopias – Domestic Technologies Utopias
Rediscovering the domestic interior as a site for dwelling, interacting, distracting e.g. living together yet apart. Looking at some of the myths, fantasies and utopian visions around the home e.g. Homes for the future…..dystopian domesticity and heterotopian hell-holes
3.25pm - Derek Robertson (Education) & Deepak Gopinath (Town & Regional Planning)
Minecraft on the Waterfront: Where learners are contenders!
Minecraft has become a global phenomenon but can this digital construction kit be used to support learning? In this presentation Derek & Deepak will discuss their recent work with primary and secondary schools that explored the use of Minecraft in the context of the developing waterfront of their city. The learners involved were given a brief that challenged them to reimagine, redesign and rebuild what they thought Dundee waterfront should like were they the designers!
3.40pm - Daniel Cook (English)
Mary Shelley's Dundee: The Gothic City
Did you know that the inventor of modern science fiction, Mary Shelley, lived with the Baxters on Dundee’s South Baffin Street as a teenager? This talk outlines what we know about Shelley's experiences here, and re-examines the Gothic descriptions of the area in her ground-breaking novel Frankenstein (1818) and other works.
3.55pm - break for refreshments
4.15pm - Reinhard Behrens (DJCAD)
40 Years of Expeditions into Naboland
An artist's exploration of a parallel world
4.30pm - Hope Roberts (Museum Services)
Everything in its Place
A place for everything and everything in its place, this could be a museum mantra. But how does giving objects a place in a museum benefit people? In this talk, Hope will reveal some of the great things we can do with museum collections when you are involved!
4.45pm - Nick Hopkins (Psychology)
Living with the Gods at the Sangam: Place and pilgrimage in north India
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims gather at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers where they live on the rivers’ sandy floodplains for one month. During this time conditions are demanding, yet pilgrims report a great sense of calm and fulfilment. What is it about their experience of this environment that contributes to such a sense of spiritual fulfilment?
5pm – JOOT Theatre Company
'Ic pis giedd wrece': Old English Elegies as Dramatic Monologues
The Old English elegies as a whole are largely about exile. The Wife's Lament, for example, is about a woman who is abandoned by her lord n a Gothic landscape and there mourns the loss of her friends and home. In The Wanderer, we find a thane whose lord has died and, as a result, he must roam the earth looking for a new home.
5.25pm – End
Free admission – all welcome
1.35 Graeme Stevenson (Music) – The Sounds of Victory
Graeme will be performing music composed to commemorate Admiral Duncan's victory at the Battle of Camperdown, including Dussek’s The Naval Battle and Total Defeat of the Grand Dutch Fleet by Admiral Duncan
1.55 Eddie Small (Creative Writing) - The Villainous Hero: McGonagall the Spoilsport
Debate rages over McGonagall's ‘poetry’ : was it intentionally, and therefore Villainously, bad, or did our Hero simply strive to do his best, stoically oblivious to criticism, abuse and derision? By examining contemporaneous sources, we will now definitively solve this age-old conundrum once and for all.
2.10 Jan Merchant (Archive Services) - My Hero, the Archivist
Archives are the repositories of our personal and community histories and identities. The mission for archivists is to care, manage and provide access to records that tell stories, provide evidence, and offer insights into our history. This talk illustrates the heroic range of projects, enquiries and activities that archivists do to engage, inform, educate and testify.
2.25 Billy Kenefick & Derek Patrick (History) – Architect of Victory?: Douglas Haig and the Great War
Douglas Haig remains a divisive figure. For many Haig is largely responsible for tens of thousands of Great War dead, an obstinate and detached commander-in-chief, whose refusal to engage with new technology cost the lives of many of his men. Criticised by later politicians and pilloried by historians, Haig’s reputation has suffered, conditioning public perceptions of the man who arguably led the British army to its greatest victory. However, in the wake of the Great War, the Field Marshal enjoyed unprecedented popularity, working tirelessly for veterans’ charities. This paper will explore the man and the myth in an attempt to establish whether he was a hero or villain.
2.40 Break for Refreshments
3.00 Matthew Jarron (Museum Services) – The Celtic Revival in Dundee – heroes in art at the turn of the century
Led by the painter John Duncan, Dundee became one of the major centres for the Celtic Revival movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. This talk will explore this fascinating period of art and culture, and show that many of the paintings and murals created during this period depicted great heroes of Scottish history and legend.
3.15 Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden) – Sweden 0 England 1: Carl Linnaeus, John Ray and the Naming of Names
The Swedish botanist Linnaeus enjoys a largely undeserved reputation as the father of scientific plant classification; in this talk Neil will argue that that honour should belong to the almost unknown Englishman John Ray.
3.30 Dominic Smith (Philosophy) – Committed to the Flames: David Hume, Hero or Villain?
David Hume was a man of many real or apparent contradictions – a proud Scot who ardently supported Union with England; one of the most celebrated British philosophers, who, to this day, is still listed as an ‘historian’ in his official citation at the British Library; and a librarian who famously claimed that certain types of book should be ‘commit[ted]… to the flames’. This talk will attempt to lay out some of the contradictions surrounding Hume, and to see through some of their ‘villainous’ and ‘heroic’ implications. Above all, Hume was a great debunker of myth and mysticism, and this, Dominic will argue, is where his true ‘heroism’ (or is it ‘villainy’?) resides for us.
3.45 Susan Mains (Geography) – Pirates of the Caribbean: Resistance, Security and Nostalgia in Jamaican Seascapes
In recent years we have come to associate images of Caribbean pirates with big budget Hollywood depictions of witty scoundrels and subversive heroes. Exploring the context of Jamaica, this presentation digs a little deeper to explore some of the hidden stories surrounding a range of historical and contemporary pirates, and the implications these have for our understandings of local, national and transnational geographies.
4.00 Break for Refreshments
4.15 Rebecca Brown (Continuing Education) – Shakespeare’s Heroes and Villains
In this presentation, Rebecca will offer a (very) brief exploration of the divided self of Shakespeare's tragic figures.
4.30 Karen Petrie (Computing) – The Women of Station X
Bletchley Park was the central location for the UK's code breaking efforts during World War Two. It is not well-known that women made up the majority of the personnel and made a significant contribution to the code breaking.? This talk (organised by the University’s Revealing Research) will try to tell some of these women's stories.
4.45 Brian Hoyle (Film Studies) – Henry Fonda Shot Me in the Face While James Cagney Tap-Danced and Other Unusual Tales of Hollywood Heroes and Villains
The Hollywood studio system carefully cultivated the images of its stars and were often reluctant to allow them to display the full range of their acting talents in order to preserve that image. However, many of the most memorable performances by Hollywood stars came in works where they were cast against type, with the heroes exploring their darker side or screen heavies displaying disarming charm and kindness. This paper will look at the roles of several great actors including Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Fred MacMurray, Kirk Douglas and Lee Marvin.
5.00 JOOT Theatre Company – Herod the Great
The company will end our event with a dramatized reading of the mediaeval Mystery pageant Herod the Great from the Wakefield Cycle
2pm Graeme Stevenson (Music) – Bach’s Coffee Cantata
The Coffee Cantata is about the closest Bach came to opera. Written to be performed in Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzigit tells the tale of Herr Schlendrian and his daughter Lieschen. She is addicted to coffee and her father is trying to persuade her to give up the “evil drink”. Our soloists are Jill Harrison (soprano),Mike Towers (tenor) and Alister Allan (bass) and the band is made up of students led by Beth Wyllie.
2.30pm Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden) - Eat at your peril!: taste, poison and mimicry in evolution
A very long time ago, the Plant Kingdom made a momentous decision to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. This means that plants have evolved chemical defences against animals and other plants leading to bad tastes and poisons. Unpalatability also features as a defence mechanism in the Animal Kingdom leading to the evolution of the amazing phenomenon of mimicry.
2.45pm Jackie Malcolm (Design, DJCAD) – Food as a Trigger for Memory
Our food is driven by our culture and it can offer us a rich source of information about life as it is has been lived and is being lived. This talk will provide insights into life in Dundee, through natural conversations recorded with elderly people, at four sheltered housing locations in the city. Looking back to the 1950s we will observe just how much our food has changed.
3.20pm Trevor Harley (Psychology) - Living to a budget
How much do we need to spend on food to live healthily? How easy it is to stick to a budget? What can be done to make it more likely that we will follow our budget and our good intentions? I review my recent attempt to live economically for a month.
3.35pm Caroline Brown (Archive Services) – Chicago, Dundee and Paris: the passions and prejudice of a 19th-century Dundonian
John James Dalyell was born in France in 1835 but lived most of his life in Dundee and Angus. Using one of his many letter books held by the University Archives this talk will examine his interests and concerns over a period of four years between 1868 and 1872. Dalyell was a keen cricketer and golfer, with an interest in foreign affairs, particularly in America and France. Sadly in 1872 Dalyell began suffering with severe head pains which were to lead to his admission to Sunnyside Asylum in Montrose where he stayed until his death.
3.50pm Brian Hoyle (English) - In America they wash their Oysters. It kills the taste: Food, Sex and Death in European Cinema
This talk will examine references to food and eating in the work of some of the great European filmmakers, ranging from mouth-watering feasts the pepper the films of Claude Chabrol; to the cibophobia of Jan Svankmajer; to the surreal, scatological world of Luis Bunuel.
4.30pm Dominic Smith (Philosophy) - The Appetite for Paradox: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Internet Culture
Since the dawn of philosophy with Plato, paradoxes have been emphasised as important provocations for thought and creativity. This talk will examine how contemporary online culture relates to this. Does the Internet expose us to too few paradoxes, or to too many?
4.45pm Annie Tindley (History) - Appetites of the Flesh: scandal, money and inheritance in the British Aristocracy, 1880-1895
In September 1892, the 3rd Duke of Sutherland, one of Britain’s richest patrician landowners, died, leaving his multi-million pound inheritance to his second wife, the Duchess Caroline. His son, the 4th Duke, was forced to take her to court for his inheritance, a process that saw one of them jailed, and was finally settled out of court. This talk will explore this episode, feverishly followed by the media, and will consider the nature of sensation and celebrity gossip in the high Victorian age.
5pm JOOT Theatre Company – the Seven Deadly Sins scene from Marlowe's Dr. Faustus
Matthew Jarron (Museum Services)
Art with a Smile: Dentist art collectors in Dundee
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Dundee was one of Britain’s major art centres, with many enthusiastic patrons building up large private collections. Unusually, several of these were involved in dentistry, and this talk will reveal something of their exceptional activities.
Paul Harrison (Visual Research Centre, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design)
Connections: Art, Science and Multi-cultures
This presentation will reflect on some of the recent projects that Paul has undertaken addressing issues at the intersection of art, science and society.
Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden)
On Being Happy: Epicureans in the Garden
Our health is intimately connected to our mental attitudes and approach to life. The Greeks advocated living the Good Life but what precisely is that to be - Epicurus had an interesting answer.
Brian Hoyle (English, School of Humanities)
Please Mrs Plunket, You're Squashing My Itinerary
This presentation promises an in-depth reading of some of the Carry On and Doctor films - a plucky tribute to socialised medicine, Hattie and Sid.
Sandra Wilson (Jewellery & Metal Design, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design)
Jewellery, Superstition and Well-being
This talk will explore recent research into superstitious jewellery, demonstrating the connections between values, beliefs, materials and ways of working, and suggesting a continued relevance of this approach for well-being in the 21st century.
Beth Lord (Philosophy, School of Humanities)
Equality, philosophy, and well-being
Many philosophers believe that living a good life requires us to adopt some principle of human equality. But what kind of equality should we aim for to ensure the well-being of individuals, groups, and communities? In this short talk I will suggest that 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza has an interesting and startlingly contemporary answer to this question.
Kenneth Baxter (Archive Services)
Dundee's Doctor Daughters: Early Female Medical Students at University College Dundee
Making use of the University Records and Medical Collections in the Archives, this talk will explore the experiences and remarkable achievements of some of Dundee's early female graduates including Margaret Fairlie and the wider impact they made upon the city and the wider world in a range of ways.
Mary Modeen (Fine Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design)
Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unheard: Attending to the World, Reflectively
As sentient humans,how we take in the world can make the difference between a healthy attention, a rich curiosity, or a baffling ‘muddling through’ the surroundings in our everyday life. Art has the potential to point to the unseen, and interdisciplinary study offers a rich and complex foundation for uncovering the spectral traces of the invisible in the present.
Billy Kenefick & Derek Patrick (History, School of Humanities)
“Fine Physique and Admirable Bearing”: Image and reality and the Scottish Soldier
From Waterloo to the Second Boer War the Scottish soldier was praised for his military and physical prowess and throughout portrayed as a stoic defender of Empire. But does this image match up to reality, and is it a fair reflection of the physical health and well-being of the nation as a whole?
Edward Hall (Geography, School of the Environment)
Making and gifting belonging: creative arts and people with learning disabilities
This talk will argue that the making of arts objects and performances provides opportunities for expression and belonging for people with learning disabilities; that ‘gifting’ these to a wider society can create connection and recognition; and that the safe spaces where art is made can generate senses of belonging.
Don’t miss the current exhibition in the Lamb Gallery – Human Race: Inside the History of Sports Medicine, funded by the Legacy Trust as an official part of the Cultural Olympiad.
At 6pm in D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre (ground floor, Tower), Vicky Strange will be giving a free public lecture about her work as General Manager, Sports Competition for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. All welcome.
Previous Culture Days
Click to see the programmes from previous culture days.