17 November 2020

Abertay and Verdant Works online jute exhibition launches

Abertay and Verdant Works online jute exhibition launches

Textiles Teaching at Dundee Institute of Art and Technology

Abertay University has teamed up with one of Dundee’s best-loved tourist attractions to launch a fascinating online exhibition exploring the University’s historic connections to the jute industry. 

Developed in conjunction with Verdant Works, Scotland’s jute museum, A Factory in Miniature: Abertay University and Jute Training 1889-1984 will launch on 6 November 2020 on Abertay’s website.

Attendees to the free exhibition will be able to enjoy a 360 walk-through of the exhibits, finding out how jute classes starting in 1889 developed into a Textiles department that gained a lasting international reputation, training students from at least 17 countries around the world until its closure in 1984.

Using Abertay University’s Archives and the nationally recognised collection at Verdant Works, virtual visitors explore how the jute classes developed in the face of the economic and technological challenges that affected the wider industry.

Part of the exhibition will feature the chance to hear extracts of an interview with the last Head of the University’s Textiles Department, Jim Gordon. 

Ruaraidh Wishart (pictured above), Abertay University’s Archivist, said: “This exhibition has been such a joy to research and curate. Abertay University has a very rich history, which has been an honour to explore in these last two years since I started in post. Our history with the jute industries is the perfect reflection of the importance of this institution.

“It reflects Abertay’s strong connections to industry, educating generations of mechanics, engineers, jute managers and more. It reflects our international connections, inviting students from countries all over the world to receive the best education for their futures. It reflects the city’s pride in providing opportunities for all as a place of discovery.

“We still hope to be able to show the exhibition at Verdant Works at some point in the future so visitors can see the objects and archives first-hand. However, the show must go on and despite current restrictions our goals to share Abertay’s history with the public are still very much a priority. This online exhibition has provided fantastic new opportunities to do this.”

"The exhibition has allowed us to explore and bring together objects and documents in ways which we haven’t had the opportunity to do before" - Mel Ruth Oakley, Curator, Verdant Works

Mel Ruth Oakley, Curator at Verdant Works, said “It has been a pleasure to work with Abertay University to explore the ways the Jute Industry and Abertay University connect.  The exhibition has allowed us to explore and bring together objects and documents in ways which we haven’t had the opportunity to do before. 

“We hope that we will be able to host a physical version of this brilliant exhibition in the future and in the meantime I am delighted that it will be available online for all to enjoy.”

To visit the exhibition, go to https://www.abertay.ac.uk/visit/a-factory-in-miniature/

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