Press release

It’s no stitch up: Dundee hospital celebrated in student exhibition

Published on 25 February 2020

Being asked to create a piece of art to celebrate the work of staff at a city hospital was just what the doctor ordered for one University of Dundee student.

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Being asked to create a piece of art to celebrate the work of staff at a city hospital was just what the doctor ordered for one University of Dundee student.

Isla Beaton used some of the original plans for Ninewells Hospital as inspiration to produce a doctor’s coat from old hospital linen, tagged with ceramic badges paying tribute to the design of the building and the people that work there.

The 20-year-old from Forfar is one of more than 30 third-year Illustration students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) presented with materials from the University archives to create new work that celebrates some of the city’s most famous institutions. The Archive Project collection forms a new exhibition that will be hosted in DJCAD’s Matthew Building Reception Gallery from Thursday 27 February.

After coming over cold when first presented with the brief, Isla said that further research was the perfect medicine to help channel her artistic talent.

She said, “The box I received contained plans and diagrams of the Ninewells building, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to produce at first. But then I used those to research the history of the hospital and I became fascinated by the whole project.

“The design was very considered for its time. For example, the wards were set on the south to keep them away from noisy roads, while the corridors were inspired by airports to allow them to flow more easily. It’s an amazing building and I never really appreciated it before I started this project.

“My mother was a nurse for 25 years and I spoke to her about her experiences. That helped me to realise the holistic nature of a hospital and how everyone who works there makes a valuable contribution. That’s what I’ve tried to capture in my work.”

All Illustration students were presented with a specially prepared box from the University archives, containing a small selection of items based on a particular theme. Along with Ninewells, other aspects of local life captured in the exhibition include a dolls house-style replica of Dundee Royal Infirmary, a pinball game celebrating Dundee Dental School, and works celebrating the historic links to the jute and seafaring industries

Illustration lecturer Natalie Russell, said, “The Archive Project is a great test for our students and really pushes their creative talents. They only have a short period of time to produce their work as well, so it’s great preparation for taking on commissions after they graduate.

“Many of the finished pieces have strong links to Dundee and it is always fascinating to see how our students have interpreted what was in their boxes. By putting their work on display, we can welcome the people of Dundee to witness art that celebrates everything that makes this city so special.”

The Archive Project exhibition opens in the DJCAD Reception Gallery on Thursday 27 February and runs daily until Monday 16 March. Entry is free and open to all.


Jonathan Watson

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489