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V&A on the Tay

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February 26 2009

V&A on the Tay
V&A director Mark Jones has promulgated the notion of a northern outpost for the venerable South Kensington institution, which has designs on broadening the scope of its collections across Britain.

Famed for its hugely popular “blockbuster” exhibitions, the museum is currently staging an exhibition on one of the worlds most famous milliners in “Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones.”

Jones insists his ambitious plans aren’t mad as a hatter however and inevitable comparisons are already being made with the world’s most famous crushed tin cans in Bilbao. Despite the clichéd spiel Conran & Partners, who have undertaken a feasibility study for the project, reckon that the cultural embassy could generate valuable tourist pennies as a symbolic trophy piece on Dundees’s waterfront mantle.

Despite tapping into the cachet of international pedigree afforded by the V&A brand, the Dundee venture will be a very different kettle of fish to its most obvious contemporary, Tate Liverpool. Unlike that establishment this won’t be a subsidiary branch but rather a partnership between the University of Dundee and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

Jones is quicjk to deny that his establishment will prove to be a fly in the bonnet of Scotland’s uber design centre, The Lighthouse. He says: “I don’t think there’s much competition between Glasgow and Dundee. Scotland has room for both places and we would like to develop a collaborative relationship with the Lighthouse which is an interesting and lively place.”

The project is reliant on Scottish Government funding and has secured verbal backing from the not yet warm chair of Scotlands fresh on the scene culture minister, Michael Russell.

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