A Dundee High School pupil is hoping there will be a happy ending to her story, after reaching the final of BBC Radio 2’s 500 words writing competition. Emily Baxter’s story, inspired by the suffragette movement, is one of 25 entries still in the running in her age group. The winner will be announced live on Friday’s Chris Evans Breakfast Show from an event in London’s Globe Theatre. Joining Emily in the audience at the gala broadcast will be the Duchess of Cornwall, and some of the UK’s most popular children’s authors including Malorie Blackman and Charlie Higson. Emily said: “When I found out I had made it through, I was shocked. I didn’t expect it at all. “I’m really excited but a little bit nervous too as the whole thing is live on the radio. “I like to write but I hadn’t done a piece like this before. Hopefully it will give me confidence to try writing more, and also encourage other pupils to give it a go as well.” The winner will receive a pile of books as tall as Chris Evans and 500 books for their school library. Read Emily's story, and the other finalists', here.
A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.
A range of local and international artists are set to perform at this year's Dundee Jazz Festival. The line up for the annual event has been announced, featuring a wide selection of musical genres and acts. As well as traditional jazz, blues rock, hip-hop and swing will also be on the cards at venues across the city centre. Highlights include double MOVO award winning saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch at The Reading Rooms and Dundonian Gordon McNeil at the Dundee Rep. Agnese Daverio, festival producer, said: "We are delighted to invite so many great international and local musicians to play in Dundee, from the likes of American Nikki Hill and Aaron Diehl to Dundonians Gordon McNeil and Vardo. "We’re also very excited about our new collaboration with the Reading Rooms, and our return to the Rep for the late jazz night session. The Gardyne Theatre remains our core venue with its great acoustics, comfortable seating and easy parking. This year we’re presenting more activities in the city centre with the aim to grow the festival further in the years to come. "We’re hoping to engage with a wide range of people from the local community, from older generations to younger music fans, hence our programme is very varied and presents a different flavour every night – from edgy sounds by rapper/saxophonist Soweto Kinch, to rootsy rock by Nikki Hill and classic jazz tunes from the swing era presented in the Story of Swing by the Scottish Swing Orchestra. "As jazz is a term that umbrellas over many different styles of music, we are presenting Jazz in the Ferry, an afternoon packed of great music, during which eight bands will be taking the stage across five venues, and where audiences can freely roam between sites with a rover ticket. "This event is also great for those who are not quite sure whether jazz is for them or not, as it gives them the opportunity to explore and sample different genres at once." The event takes place from November 16-20. Tickets are available online or through the city box office, with some bookings available through individual venues.
Volunteers are taking to the skies to search for missing teenager Ralphie Smith who fell from Arbroath cliffs last month. The 18-year-old has been missing for 9 days, and Police Scotland has called off its rescue efforts. However, the UK Civil Air Patrol Scotland (UKCAPS) has since begun its own operation across North East Fife and the Tay. Archie Liggat, the chief pilot with UKCAPS, said they were committed to continuing to search for Ralphie and would scan the waters off Dundee, Angus and Fife throughout the week. Mr Liggat said they weren't there to help the emergency services, but rather the communities and families affected by a missing person. He added: "We are only interested in humanitarian activities. We only assist to help the community - if the police or fire service benefit from it then that's just a side effect. "We are there just to help the communities. "The family were very enthusiastic that we would continue the search. "We will continue looking and we are planning another sortie on Monday and another couple through the middle of the week. "There comes a time where you have to decide that something is lost. But in the meantime we will keep doing what we do." Most of the volunteer pilots in Scotland were previously in the RAF or police forces and have tens of thousands of hours' flying experience. Mr Liggat added: "We search with the naked eyeball and we also carry binoculars so if the observer spots anything he can tell the pilot to turn and we can go back and look." Ralphie is believed to have fallen from Arbroath Cliffs at around 1pm on Saturday February 25. The family has since faced further tragedy when two of Ralphie’s relatives – Julie McCash and David Sorrie – died the day after his disappearance as they attended a family vigil for the teenager. Two separate crowdfunding campaigns - which can be seen here and here - have raised a combined total of £7,590 to support the family during the difficult time. For more on this story see Tuesday's Courier, also available as a digital edition.
Thousands of people will flock to the annual Dundee Flower and Food Festival which gets under way today. The annual extravaganza, which features high-profile chefs and extravagant garden displays, has become a highlight of the Tayside and Fife events calendar. Culinary guests this year include Jak O’Donnell from STV’s cookery show Jak and Eddie’s Best of Scottish Food, renowned French chef Jean Christophe Novelli and Scottish chef Tony Singh. Carole Baxter, from The Beechgrove Garden, is one of several horticulturists to be leading gardening talks and demonstrations throughout the weekend. As he enjoyed a tour of the festival grounds at Camperdown, Dundee City Council neighbourhood services convener John Alexander said: "I am sure that visitors to the festival will be delighted with the colourful floral displays and the quality of the celebrity guests that will be appearing over the weekend. "This year's festival is on track to be as popular as ever and we have managed to attract a range of celebrities that will appeal to a wide audience. I can safely say visitors are in for a treat. "This is a packed weekend programme of cookery and gardening demonstrations, stunning floral displays and inspirational ideas for your home and garden. "This festival acts as a boost for the local economy and I hope it will be enjoyed by everyone who attends." Lord Provost Bob Duncan will be joined by representatives from Orléans to mark the 70th Anniversary of their twinning relationship by planting a tree at Fire Pond. Other attractions include the world potato and gladioli championships, musical performance and cookery and bakery competitions. Woodlands4Yew will also be running interactive activities including woodturning and den making. Among the crew who have been preparing for the show are a team of apprentices from Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services. The Dundee City Council-organised three-day extravaganza runs from 10am-5pm today and 10am-5.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Full details of the programme can be found at www.dundeeflowerandfood festival.com. Tickets for the festival are now on sale and are available from www.dundeebox.co.uk or can be purchased in person on festival days.
Dundee museums and galleries are gearing up to open their vaults for this year’s Festival of Museums. The festival, now in its tenth year, will feature over 100 day and night events across Scotland from May 13 to 15, curated to offer unique, hands on experiences in the nation’s museums and galleries. Headlining Dundee’s programme is an event at the city’s Jute Museum, where visitors will decorate the mill for Queen Victoria’s birthday celebration ahead of a film and Victoria sponge. The Verdant Works museum is also offering a gin tasting session for adult participants. The Victorian Mill will provide a dramatic backdrop to the event, providing the history of the drink and an opportunity to sample a variety of alcohol. Joanne Orr, chief executive of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Over the past decade, we have been able to fund and support museums across Angus and Dundee to take part and help to increase visitor numbers and sector expertise across the board. We’re delighted to return for our tenth year and are looking forward to the best festival yet.” McManus Art Gallery is also going back in time, with a 20s and 30s theme. Their free event will celebrate the era of of jazz, cinema and comic books, and feature a special screening of a short film highlighting life in Dundee in the 1930s. In addition to the Jute Museum and McManus, D’Arcy Thompson Zooology Museum is also taking part in the festival with a selection of fossil-themed events. For more information or to book a place for an event, visit www.festivalofmuseums.com
Campaigners have said Police Scotland must provide clarification over the future of Ryehill Police Station in Dundee amid concerns it may close. West End councillor Richard McCready and North East MSP Jenny Marra joined volunteers outside the police office on Pennycook Lane on Saturday to gather support for a petition to keep it open. Mr McCready said he had concerns over the lack of information about any future consultations. He said: "I think there a whole range of reasons for concern about how Police Scotland have taken this forward. "They have said there will be an informal consultation - I don't think anybody knows what an informal consultation is. There needs to be clarity. "If there is to be a consultation, which we don't want, what is the timescale? How can people respond? That information has not been given out." Ms Marra, who raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament last week, said: "The response from the public hasn't surprised me at all. "I grew up very near here and the station has always been here. It gives a sense of comfort that there is a police presence here. "At the last meeting of the West End Community Council, when Police Scotland said they wouldn't be dictated to, I think that has frankly been an unacceptable situation. We all pay our taxes and expect to see these services." A letter from a senior officer in Police Scotland shared at the most recent meeting of the West End Community Council said: "It is clear from our discussions that there exists a real passion and determination within the West End community to secure the long term future of Ryehill Police Office. "Whilst I cannot give any assurances in respect of this I can guarantee that Police Scotland will endeavour to continue to provide a high quality, visible, proactive service to the local community. "Shared services was very much at the forefront of this feedback from many and whilst this has always been an option for Police Scotland, taking cognisance of the feedback, this is an area that we will commit to exploring further. "No timescales have been set for completion of this piece of work; however I can confirm that the status quo will remain in respect of Ryehill Police Office with our main focus being on continuing to maintain a high quality of service to the West End community."
Vans carrying billboards accusing the BBC of anti-SNP bias have travelled across Tayside and Fife in recent days. The large posters, emblazoned with the slogan "BBC is mis-Reporting Scotland", are currently on a tour of the country. They visited Dundee on Thursday morning, having previously travelled across Fife. Created by Inform Scotland, a group set up in the aftermath of the 2014 independence referendum, the billboards form part of a campaign aimed at what organisers see as anti-SNP output by the broadcaster and "the unchallenged lying" of secretary of state for Scotland David Mundell. In a post on the Inform Scotland website, campaigner Simon Malzer explains the reason for the billboards. He said: "The Inform Scotland campaign is not aimed at the BBC. It is aimed at people who unquestioningly believe everything the BBC tells them. By acting as a bridge, opening doors and signposting the existence of an alternative narrative to what they regularly hear or read on the BBC and in the mainstream media, we want to help more and more people break out of their cocoons into the fresh air of the vibrant, reality-based discourse that has enlightened so many people in the past few years throughout Scotland. "The Inform Scotland billboards are a means of providing that bridge. Our hope is that people go to the Inform Scotland website, click through to the wide range of articles the site signposts, and make their own minds up about whether the BBC is guilty of bias or not. "This is not some thoughtless, blind kickback against a vaguely perceived sense of injustice. It is a well-researched, organised and determined attempt to make a difference, to stand up for balance in what is meant to be an open democracy, to express our justified concern that a publicly-funded institution with a charter proclaiming impartiality and balance, can be shown to be failing in this regard. "We accept there is an element of disruption in this – direct action is meant to be disruptive. We accept that there may be greater minds than ours bent upon our common goal of independence. "Ours may be the blunt instrument approach to creative persuasion, but at least it’s an approach."
Supporters of Scottish independence turned out en masse for a march across the Tay Road Bridge. The Fae Fife Tae Dundee event started at 11am on Saturday on the Kingdom side of the bridge, with the crowds working their way over to Dundee City Square for a large rally. Hundreds of people are thought to have crossed the bridge ahead of a rally which attracted guest speakers including Lesley Riddoch and Robin McAlpine. Other speakers included writer and broadcaster Billy Kay and Paul Cavanagh who writes as the 'Wee Ginger Dug'. Several musical guests also attended, including The Wolves, Bring in the Spirit and Kenny Martin. Supporters travelled from right across Scotland to take part in the event. The event, organised by Yes North East Fife, was held to coincide with the very first international march for Scottish independence, which was held in the Hague. The Netherlands for Scottish Independence Group organised that march, with members of the Germans for Scottish Independence group also attending. Raimond Dijkstra, founder of the Netherlands for Scottish Independence Group, said: “I have been interested in Scotland and its history my entire life. “About seven or eight years ago, I visited for the first time with my dad. And the interest turned into a love for the greatest country on earth. Then I started being active online in creating pro-independence artwork right before the 2014 referendum. “After the result, I felt gutted and felt the need to do something more. And having being politically active here in the Netherlands, I joined the SNP and have been a member ever since.” Colin MacPherson, a member of the Germans for Scottish Independence Group, said: “Our members come from all walks of life, Scots and Germans living in Germany, Scots and Germans living in Scotland. Like other groups in the Yes movement we are currently reorganising ourselves in order to be ready to do whatever we can to help Scotland on its road to independence.”
Drivers using part of Dundee Waterfront are being asked for their patience while a lane is closed for essential building works. The Perth-bound inside lane of Riverside Esplanade will be closed until the new year while external cladding and landscaping works take place at the V&A Museum of Design Dundee. Drivers using the west bound off ramp at the Tay Road Bridge will also find the inside lane closed. The closure will affect drivers between April 3 and August 4 and then again from September 25 to the end of the year. Signs warning of the lane closure will be displayed at the south end of the Tay Road Bridge, and on other approaches to the area. Meanwhile, members of the public will get their first chance to visit the construction site of the V&A. Three hour-long tours have been planned for April 1 as part of Open Doors Week. The unique opportunity to get a sneak peek of the £80.1 million building has proved popular, with all 45 tickets selling out within just hours of being advertised online. The tour is being conducted by BAM Construction, the company which has been working on the new museum for two years. A spokesperson for V&A Dundee said: “We’re delighted that the site of V&A Dundee is being opened to the public as part of Open Doors 2017, which lets people see behind-the-scenes of the construction industry. “V&A Dundee has been working with communities across Scotland since 2014 and we’ve met, talked to and designed with tens of thousands of people in that time. “Ahead of the museum opening next year it’s very exciting for the team to see how public interest is growing in the creation of a new world-class visitor attraction in Dundee.” As previously reported in The Courier, work has been progressing well on the building, with scaffolding recently removed from the external walls. The V&A is set to open next summer.