Dundee Women’s Festival is an annual event run in the Dundee and Angus area, and online, to span International Women’s Day on 8th March. This year the Festival runs from Saturday 4 March until Sunday 19 March. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Women Emerging Stronger’ with a tag line ‘Resilience, Rebuilding, Renewal’.

To promote the festival, a programme and accompanying poster are created. In 2021, the Festival committee decided to offer this paid opportunity to a woman studying illustration or graphic design at DJCAD. This provided the individual chosen vital experience early in their career and content for their portfolio. Having an illustrator and designer familiar with Dundee allowed for the city to shine through in the illustrations. For the 2023 Festival, Rachel Middleton undertook this role. 

Woman looking at poster “Commissioning for Dundee Women’s Festival has been my first, but not last, taste of commercial design work. It has been an extremely insightful experience,” explained Rachel.  

“The audience and users are at the heart of what I do, so developing my designs with the guidance of the committee was very beneficial. Completing the brochure at the same time as my university studies was a challenge, but one I wanted to succeed at. I enjoyed every part of the process. I mean that, every draft, every new event, every illustration that was created here. The illustrations had to be developed to a continuous art style, which I didn’t really have before this project. The illustrative process was very fun, and I loved the final style.”  Poster for festival

As well as the opportunities it would bring, I enjoyed the project as it allowed me to improve and gain critique on my designs on both the graphic design and illustration aspects. It was really insightful to hear another’s opinion and have that extra guidance on the brochure and its contents. I enjoyed creating the posters too. With few limitations, I had free rein for the project and enjoyed the freedom of the design process. 

The joy I felt seeing the final brochures and posters for the first time was overwhelming. They looked amazing, were readable and colourful. I hope to see them around Dundee City and for people to enjoy the events we have in store!”  Drawing of the V&A with two cyclists in front advertising the festival

Members of the University community have contributed a wide array of events to the festival that range from celebrating women, sharing their achievements and skills to the challenges women have faced and continue to do so.  

View Rachels work in the programme on the Festival website:  



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