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The Royal Society of Arts

Broad understanding of what makes for shared identities within city communities with reference to heritage, is at the heart of research undertaken by the RSA. Dundee for example can trace its built form, and its image as a booming industrial city back to Victorian times, Jute mills, which numbered 130 at the peak of activity, was the largest employer for nearly a century, with the largest of the mills employing 5,000 workers.

In current times, with the arrival of City of Design status and the new V&A museum anchoring regeneration on the waterfront and city centre, the heritage sector now sees a great chance to enhance its strong creative networks.

The RSA considers that heritage in Dundee can underpin a distinct and confident identity, pushing forward engagement of communities in the next era. Growth in the creative industries and life sciences means that 49% of Dundee’s employees work in knowledge-intensive jobs – higher than the Scottish average of 42%. Public sector work however is in decline and 29% of Dundonians live in Scotland’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Professor Mike Press, Chair of Design Policy at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, says: 'in a sense we can characterise Dundee as two cities in one. How can heritage and culture bring them together?'

Come to our 13th June Forum at Burlington House, London and find out more about the RSA's research into cultural identity and communities from Jonathan Schifferes, Associate Director, Public Services and Communities.

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