V&A Dundee’s lavender coloured labels signpost LGBTQ+ connections

Image: One of the Lavender Labels in the Scottish Design Galleries

The labels, which explore the LGBTQ+ connections of some of the objects in its Scottish Design Galleries, are part of a wider effort to redress missing narratives in Scottish design history

A series of new objects have been introduced to the Scottish Design Galleries at V&A Dundee this month, which explore themes such as women in architecture, activism, LGBTQ+ history, and how design has impacted area’s centres and mental healthcare.

Alongside the new objects is the introduction of ‘Lavender Labels’ in Galleries. The appropriately lavender-coloured labels sit alongside the existing labels, and explore LGBTQ+ connections to some of the objects.

The labels have been co-written by V&A Dundee’s LGBTQ+ Working Group with an external advisory group and have been created to illuminate histories and expand the contexts of ten objects from LGBTQ+ perspectives.

The LGBTQ+ Working Group at V&A Dundee was founded in the months after the museum opened in September 2018.

The group is a combination of staff and freelancers who work for the museum and identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. They advise on exhibition content, events, website content and policy relating to LGBTQ+ identities, with the aim of helping to bring narratives about the LGBTQ+ community into the wider work that the museum does.

Some of the objects with the Lavender Labels include a set design for the Royal Opera House, a Cream jug and sugar bowl, a 1985 issue of The Face magazine.


A Lavender Label in the Scottish Design Galleries

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, the V&A Dundee also recently hosted “Queer Space in Scotland: co-opted, redesigned”, a discussion chaired by Dr. Adele Patrick in conversation with experts, activists, and those with lived experience to consider how the LGBTQ+ community have redesigned and co-opted space to find each other and define spaces of their own.

This event, and labels, are part of ongoing work V&A Dundee is undertaking to redress missing narratives in Scottish design history. The V&A Dundee said it aims to become a “more inclusive and welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community, with insights from its recent open roundtable discussion informing future plans.”

Meredith More, Curator at V&A Dundee said: “The new objects we are bringing in this year explore how architecture and design can make the world a better place to live. We have included more women in the selection and have also tried to show the way often the grand ideas of architects and designers are adapted by the communities who use the spaces day to day.

“We have also introduced themes such as mental health and the environment into the gallery.”