DJCAD Level 3 Illustration students have been working on an Archive project each year since 2017. Normally, they use boxes of plans, diaries, photographs and other archival material from the collections, but with lock-down we turned to online oral history sources.

The Dundee Oral History collection is a series of interviews with people associated with Dundee, covering themes such as the jute and textile industry, the arts, journalism, the police, music, the sciences, sport and leisure. Choosing an interview at random, the students were asked to listen and use what they heard as the basis for a finished piece of artwork.

 Ceidyn’s embroidery section for her piece ‘Jute Journeys’
 Morgan’s draft set for ‘Silence on Stage’

Researching their chosen participant and the themes covered in their interview, the students embraced the challenge.

 James’s initial sketches for his ‘Research at Dundee’ posters

As all the students were based at home with no access to DJCAD’s workshops, we weren’t expecting to see the range of pottery, textiles, metal and woodwork which have featured in past exhibitions. But we underestimated the inventiveness of this year’s students!

 Jen working on her ‘Ultimate Instrument of War’
 Maisie converting her collection of fobs for her piece ‘Islay – Around the Clock’

At progress meetings, where they presented their ideas, it became evident that a lack of resources couldn’t stifle their creativity and ingenuity as you can see from Giorgio’s response to an interview with James Cameron, CID officer below.Some of the students also created videos which charted their creative process: such as Shauna’s film on the inspiration behind her creation of a WW2 food parcel.

 Shauna’s finished food parcel inspired by an interview with a Polish war veteran


We’re planning to show the films, sketchbooks and final pieces in February 2022 as part of next year’s Archive & Illustration project exhibition. Meanwhile, all the student’s finished works can be viewed at

Part of the online exhibition

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