‘It was a fan­tas­tic team ef­fort’

The Courier’s Im­pact 100 list has wrapped up for an­other year, and the team be­hind V&A Dundee took the cov­eted top spot. Jack McKe­own talks to the win­ners and looks back over an­other year of peo­ple mak­ing a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in our area

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS -

In retrospect, it would have been tough for any­one but the V&A Dundee crew to take the top spot in our Im­pact 100. In the plan­ning for a decade, fi­nanced af­ter a re­mark­able fund­ing cam­paign, and now fi­nally here to tremen­dous ac­claim, Scot­land’s first de­sign mu­seum is a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion pro­ject.

We spoke to three of those be­hind the at­trac­tion, which has al­ready hosted al­most 300,000 vis­i­tors.

Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma first sketched the de­sign that now juts out over the River Tay.

He said: “V&A Dundee is a pro­ject of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. It shows the fact that ur­ban de­sign and cul­ture can be or­gan­i­cally con­nected. It was such an hon­our for me to have taken part in such a pro­ject, and now Dundee is one of the most im­por­tant places in my life.”

Pro­ject man­ager John Taven­dale over­saw the con­struc­tion of the V&A. “What’s ter­rific is that you’ve given this ac­co­lade to a team,” he said. “The V&A is a build­ing that no one per­son could have de­liv­ered. It was a fan­tas­tic team ef­fort and I’m re­ally glad to see that recog­nised.

“I spent seven-and-a-half years on the V&A and I’m not the per­son long­est in­volved in it. The cast of char­ac­ters I’ve met and worked with dur­ing that time has been amaz­ing. It’s been great to see the build­ing open and be­ing used and en­joyed by so many peo­ple. It was a tough pro­ject with lots of chal­lenges but it was prob­a­bly a once-in-a-ca­reer pro­ject for me. I’ll be sur­prised if any­thing ever tops this.

“Even now I still get a kick from be­ing in­side the build­ing and I think it will be a long time be­fore that feel­ing fades.”

Now that the V&A is open the chal­lenge is keep­ing it vi­tal and rel­e­vant to the city. That task falls to Philip Long, the mu­seum’s di­rec­tor. “I had a very big smile on my face when I heard we’d come top of the Im­pact 100 list – it re­ally does mean a great deal to me,” he said.

“V&A Dundee is a re­mark­able land­mark in the city and it wouldn’t have hap­pened with­out the enor­mous ef­forts of an aw­ful lot of peo­ple, from the de­sign team to the lo­cal partners and the con­struc­tion crew. Peo­ple have ex­pended ev­ery sinew to bring us the build­ing we have to­day.

“From the 22,000 we had on our open­ing week­end to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who have vis­ited since, we’ve shown just how suc­cess­ful and pop­u­lar V&A Dundee is. We’ve got a very ex­cit­ing pro­gramme com­ing up next year. From dis­cussing with other cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions, they’re see­ing a big knock-on ef­fect. I’m very con­fi­dent V&A Dundee will still be draw­ing vis­i­tors from all over Scot­land and be­yond in five and 10 years’ time.”

The Im­pact 100 list was com­piled af­ter painstak­ing re­search and fer­vent de­bate in­volv­ing our chief re­porters, sports, busi­ness and fea­tures edi­tors, deputy ed­i­tor and the ed­i­tor her­self.

An eclec­tic cast of char­ac­ters made the list, with the cri­te­ria be­ing they must come from or have worked in Tay­side and Fife. Cam­paign­ers such as Frank’s Law cham­pion Amanda Kopel and the Soldiers of Kil­liecrankie were recog­nised for their ef­forts, as was dog lover Katie McCand­less, who per­suaded dozens of Perthshire or­gan­i­sa­tions to give en­try to furry friends.

Sports stars in­clud­ing Jamie Mur­ray, Mon­trose boss Ste­wart Petrie and run­ners Eil­ish McCol­gan and Laura Muir bagged top spots.

The BBC’s The Big­gest Week­end and per­form­ers Be Char­lotte and KT Tun­stall brought sonic hap­pi­ness to these parts, while Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dug­dale were among feted politi­cians. On the big screen, Perthshire’s Alan Cum­ming was recog­nised for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion Bafta and Dun­can of Jor­dan­stone grad­u­ate David Macken­zie for his block­buster, Out­law King.

Then there were those who are de­part­ing the roles that made them fa­mous in our area and be­yond. Chief among these were re­tir­ing Dundee Univer­sity Prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor Sir Pete Downs, and the same univer­sity’s star foren­sic an­thro­pol­o­gist, Dame Sue Black, who has gone to Lan­caster Univer­sity.

Fi­nally, there were those who de­fied cat­e­gori­sa­tion. Sonny, the hump­back whale, de­lighted tourists with his frol­ics in the Forth, while an es­caped buf­falo sparked a two-week air and sea search. An­other search, fol­low­ing the theft of a six-foot mack­erel statue from St An­drews Aquar­ium, was scaled back fol­low­ing its mirac­u­lous re­turn in the wee small hours.

Courier deputy ed­i­tor Dave Lord said: “We think the 2018 list re­ally cov­ers all of the peo­ple who have played a huge role dur­ing what has been a mo­men­tous year for the area.

“Who knows what lies in store for us come the new year but, what­ever it may be, you can be sure Im­pact 100 2019 will have it cov­ered.”

What a year it has been for our part of the world. With Christ­mas just around the cor­ner our Im­pact 100 count­down has taken a look back at a quite in­cred­i­ble 12 months for Tay­side and Fife.

From sport­ing suc­cess and char­ity cham­pi­ons to an­i­mal es­capees and – ul­ti­mately – the team be­hind the V&A, there has been no short­age of talk­ing points in 2018.

Well done to all who ap­peared on our list – we hope it in­trigued and in­spired in equal mea­sure.

Pic­tures: Kris Miller/Mhairi Edwards/PA.

V&A Dundee di­rec­tor Philip Long, V&A Dundee pro­ject man­ager John Taven­dale, ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma and ath­lete Laura Muir.

Pic­tures: PA/Kim Cess­ford.

Lo­cal he­roes: Amanda Kopel and Alan Cum­ming.

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