What does Dundee’s new V&A have to do with ambition? Shirley explains the connection.
Alex and I did a Facebook live session from outside our gorgeous new V&A this morning. Did you see it?
This “live” stuff is a new experience for us all. When I knew I was up this week to accompany Alex, I planned all these things I would say – and they all flew out of my head once we were down there. You know, with the camera in our faces and V&A visitors milling around, peering at us, wondering if they should know us.
My main topic was going to be ambition. Dundee is quite a small city, but it’s always had huge aspiration and ambition. And it’s been kind of fearless in going for it.
We were ambitious when we sent our whaling fleets out to the Arctic and Antarctic. Dreadful to look back on now, of course, but it’s where a lot of our early prosperity came from.
That industry led to our reputation for building ships. Good sturdy ice-proof ships – like the RRS Discovery that took Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic.
Keillers: world famous for its jams, marmalades and sweets….
Our own company, DC Thomson, a local family, started out in shipping, bought a newspaper – and look where we are now. Still a local company, yet now one of the largest consumer magazine groups in the country. And we’re still ambitious. We’re still growing and evolving as a company.
Dundee is world-renowned for its computer games industry.
What more ambitious environment is there than a university? We have two: Abertay and Dundee, the latter being one of the leading universities in Europe for research in Life Sciences. A medical school. The art college.
And we have the V&A. It’s at the heart of our multi-million-pound city regeneration. We saw the possibility, and went for it.
Ambition. It’s as if it flows through us like our magnificent River Tay. We know who we want to be.
Ambition. To be a writer. To have your first story published. And your second. And your third.
Ambition. It’s a great story starter theme, too.