Transforming Spaces at Dundee Contemporary Arts

I’m delighted how the spaces have been transformed to be lighter brighter and more welcoming, inspired by the ideas of the Dundee International Womens Centre ‘Flourish’ group.  I enjoyed taking the women on a journey through the design process to come up with ideas, explore colours and consider the people and how the space is used. 

What I loved about this project is that it started as a seed of an idea to add a few bits of art and design on the walls by the women but as we investigated the space we identified more things that needed changed, a bit like opening a can of worms! 

This instigated further research through consultation and focus groups to make sure we were getting this space right.  I loved how the DCA have embraced this and helped make it happen.   

On all projects I work on I love to understand the space and people who use it and use creativity to make a positive difference in the world.


I designed six workshops that would take the group through a design process in an accessible and fun way.  We took a lovely inspirational trip to University of Dundee Botanical Gardens where we spent time in the glass houses finding shapes, textures and colours we liked and shared with each other and how it made us feel, we continued with some  houseplants  drawings from the DCA learning space and  through the weeks we experimented with colour, shape, pattern, textures and layouts where I encouraged play and collaboration. 

From their medley of their ideas and feedback from the consultation I refined the concepts and we mocked them up to scale in the DCA learning space for the public consultation. From this I tweaked designs ready for fabrication of Barry from RobertSigns.  I love how it has all come together.   

It was an absolute pleasure watching Louise guide the flourish group learners through the design process. Louise has a real talent for creating joyful moments that bring people out of their shells and help them to see their creative potential. 

Louise shared so many skills with the women, they were very vocal about how appreciative they were to learn these new skills, colour mixing in particular was something the women massively enjoyed.

Having Louise’s artistic vision to collate all of the women’s idea’s into a cohesive design was incredibly important and her consideration of those who would use the infant feeding/changing and gender neutral toilet area made for a joyful design that fit the needs of the of users and that DCA is incredibly proud of”.

Lynne McBride, Learning Coordinator, Dundee Contemporary Arts.

User Experience and consultation

I believe in the importance of understanding the user experience and getting a range of viewpoints so I can make the best decisions for the site specific space.  We spoke with Dundee International Women’s Centres (Flourish parenting group), Breast Buddies, NHS Infant Nutrition Coordinator, Dads group, Bring A Baby audience and staff at the DCA.


Colour is so important to space, we played with colour, mixed colour and put colour palettes together.  Through my knowledge of colour in spaces and consideration of the size and usage of the space we chose a calm palette for the feeding space with plants and geckos and a more abstract design of textured spots in the changing area and shelf of houseplants in the gender neutral toilet and all linked together to create coherent theme.

Transforming Spaces

I had to trust my ability and process that I would be able to draw ideas from the women and use my skills as a designer and facilitator to get high quality end results.


It was good to hear that some of the women have revisited DCA and the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens in their own time with family or friends.

“To have the DIWC learners feel included in planning the infant feeding room, has had a massive impact on the learners confidence. The group feedback has been excellent”

Salma, Dundee International Womens Centre

“I felt valued”

Flourish participant

“It was such an honour to have this opportunity to take part in this project”

flourish participant

Before and After

Please share this space is open to the public to use at the Dundee Contemporary Arts

Louise Kirby

I have a vision of the world full of colourful creative interventions to bring more joy to the spaces we play, live, work and travel through.  My aim is to uplift and connect people and highlight the positives by creating artworks that capture a sense of place which creates a sense of belonging.  I love to do this with my use of playfully applying colour and pattern.

I am ready to take on new design challenges and if you have a project, collaboration or commission in mind please get in touch or you can check some samples on my website to give you a flavour of previous projects.

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