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Press Change

Make your voice heard and be the change you want to see happen! ☀︎

For the past three months, Creative Dundee led a brand new pilot project as part of Dundee Changemakers Hub – Press Change, bringing five young people and five creative practitioners together for 10 days, to explore local issues and opportunities for greater social and climate justice across Dundee.

Creative Dundee centres creative practitioners and communities as powerful catalysts for collective good. A social enterprise that amplifies, connects and cultivates projects which imagine and act to benefit our communities and place.

We invited Gemma Nicol and Lisa Williamson from hidden route, who facilitated Press Change, to tell us more about how they supported the young people’s journey into building more confidence and connections, to raise their voices on what is and what could be, through creativity and community journalism.

Photography by Ben Douglas

hidden route facilitate spaces where young people from all backgrounds and experience can come together to collaborate, be curious and respond creatively to the world around them.

They were joined by local creative practitioners and activists: Ben Douglas (documentary photographer and youth work project coordinator); Avery Duncan (graphic/digital designer and filmmaker); and Fatima Ishaq (youth worker and activist, previously involved in the Scottish Youth Parliament and Dundee’s Youth Council).

Photography by Ben Douglas


Press Change is a youth community journalism project led by Creative Dundee as part of Dundee Changemakers Hub. This brand new pilot project aims to develop their skills, confidence and agency in raising their voices, whilst exploring local environmental and societal issues across Dundee.

This is the brief that we set out to explore on this pilot project – discovering as we went what happens when people come together and think about what it is they would like to say about their community, about the world around them, and how they might like to say it; through writing, art, photography, music or even sculpture. 

As a group we have been meeting fortnightly in a shop space in the Keiller Centre to develop a series of individual creative projects with a variety of aims, from amplifying the voices of the people behind community projects in Dundee to exploring the relationship between art and community by interviewing people on the streets of the city.

But how did we get to this point? We started by asking lots of questions. We had to find out what was important to us as a group and as individuals so we could start to figure out how to shape our projects. So we began with a few prompts to get us thinking: 

💭 What topics/subjects are important to you?

  • Local history

  • LGBTQIA+ rights

  • Food poverty in areas of Dundee 

  • Everyday stories

  • Seeing good in the world

💭 What do you think that you would like to see more of?

  • Local creative initiatives

  • Community Connection 

  • Green Spaces

💭 What creative outputs interest you?

  • Graphic Design 

  • Photojournalism

  • Sculpture

There were lots more questions and lots more answers, and these started to give us a sense of what we might start exploring. These initial questions and the exercises that accompanied them allowed us to start finding the common threads whilst acknowledging the very individual areas of interest that each person held. 

Of course a key element to any project that looks to embed collaboration and skill sharing at its core is to build a sense of community, to get to know one another and to feel at ease sharing ideas with one another.

As practitioners we did this in the only way we know how – games! Setting up challenges to find the things we had in common, finding out who can talk about the colour blue for 30 seconds, drawing portraits of one another in an exercise we have dubbed ‘the David Shrigley Challenge’, and holding debates where we voice our opinions around the very important topics in life such as ‘Tea or coffee?’ ‘Pizza or Pasta?’ and of course ‘Would you rather be able to time travel or teleport?’.

And whilst these seem like light topics to talk about, they actually paved the way for us to feel more confident about the topics that really matter to us and wanted to discuss. 

We spent time exploring and learning from the different skills of the creative practitioners, developing our skills in photography – heading out to explore the city centre with our polaroid cameras in hand, and being encouraged to look up, to look around and to take portraits of our partners. We developed our design skills by writing, drawing and creating our own mini zines, and we thought about political action, activism and community through discussions and conversational prompts.

Photography by Ben Douglas

Something that became very clear very quickly is that there was a real interest in gathering people’s stories – undertaking interviews with a variety of people across the city. The change makers were keen to use their projects as a way to tell the stories of other people in the city.

Once ideas were bubbling away, a question still remained – how do we share these projects? 

So we headed out of our wee shop to get some inspiration. Taking in the brilliant Dundee Tapestry exhibition at the V&A, as well as Michelle Williams Gamaker’s ‘Our Mountains are Painted on Glass’ at the DCA. Giving us lots to reflect on about how you share work, how you frame what you have created and what you want to say to an audience. Leaving us with lots to think on what is the best way to share our work and importantly who do we want to share our work with?

We were also invited to chat with journalists at DC Thomson, we went on a behind-the-scenes tour of their busy offices, chatted with staff about their jobs and discussed how we research and engage with news, what kind of news and platforms we go for, and what helps us trust and share content with others.

From here it was time for the young people to start developing their projects on their own, with our support of course.

Photography by Ben Douglas

We had interviews taking place at community organisations all over Dundee, and young people hitting the streets of the city centre to interview people. Pairs in the library scouring the archives of the city and a small team raiding ScrapAntics for material to create a sculpture of the world that will house a poem about climate action, all the while another participant created their own original piece of music on Ableton in the corner of the shop. 

With a wealth of stories, writing, photographs, a piece of music and a sculpture to show for our time together, we’re delighted to share more about each young person's project in this series of blogs, also giving insights into their processes and learnings:

We also invited them to talk about their project and experience at our recent Not Another Visioning Event, on Tuesday 26 March 2024, at the Steeple Hall.

It was wonderful to see the young people growing their self-belief and enthusiasm through this project, challenging themselves, developing new friendships, and learning new skills.

The young Changemakers shared with us how much they have developed their confidence, skills and agency even within this short Press Change pilot, while valuing the opportunity of experiencing new things in a small, supportive collective of people.

Culture and creativity brings people together – in shared moments we find much-needed space to build community and confidence, and collectively imagine possible futures.

The climate crisis can feel a daunting responsibility, it is clear to us that these young Changemakers demonstrate how vital it is to create safe(r) spaces, and find creative approaches to ensure perspectives are heard and action can be taken collectively.

We are grateful that Press Change has been enabled as part of Dundee Changemakers Hub by the Scottish Government’s Climate Action Fund.

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