Press release

Treasures from the deep and beach cleaning at Broughty Ferry

Published on 12 November 2019

Students and staff from the University of Dundee will this weekend lead members of the public on a treasure hunt and beach clean – with tantalising tales of creatures from beneath the Tay thrown in for good measure

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The Tay Treasure Hunt & Beach Clean takes place at Broughty Ferry Beach on Sunday 17 November. The event is one of around a dozen being held across Dundee as part of the Being Human Festival, the UK’s national celebration of the humanities, along with film screenings at Dundee Contemporary Arts, a take-over of Dundee Science Centre and more. All events are free, although advanced tickets are required.

The University is the Scottish hub for the festival and its programme is built around the theme of ‘The Aquatic City’, with events examining the relationship between Dundee and the river upon which it was built. The starting point for many of these activities is a hitherto undiscovered civilisation living beneath the River Tay, with these imaginary creatures helping to explore issues as diverse as exploration, colonisation, pollution, animal rights and inequality.

Sunday’s event will also feature discussion of these events prompted by the improvisational storytelling of local playwright and historian Eddie Small. Eddie, a tutor at the University, will deliver a humorous history of the Tay folk, whose treasures participants will be searching for.

“Our treasure hunt and beach clean will contain big surprises and tiny treasure galore while helping address the serious problem of pollution,” said Dr Daniel Cook, Being Human lead for Dundee and a senior lecturer in English at the University. “Being Human looks to address the relationship between humanity and nature, and nowhere is this more evident than the ways we treat our waterways and the land that surrounds it.

“For this year’s Being Human we are conducting an elaborate thought experiment by using the concept of a Scottish Atlantis to question the treatment of our shared environment. What lurks beneath? What can we learn from these mysterious people? And how do they see us?”

Anyone interested in taking part in the Tay Treasure Hunt & Beach Clean should wrap up warm and meet outside Broughty Castle for a prompt 9am start on Sunday 17 November.

Being Human 2019 will see universities and other organisations across the UK host events alongside a series of international activities. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research.

The festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich lives, helping us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world.


Press Office, University of Dundee