Things What I Learned From Dundee University’s “Radical”-Themed Culture Day:


  • As well as lowering consumption of alcohol, tobacco, sugar etc, lowering stress levels can also have a positive impact on dental health (c/o Peter Mossey, School of Dentistry)
  • Darren McGarvey, one of its fiercest critics when announced, was considerably more balanced in his view of the “Glasgow Effect” art project after its completion, reflecting that it was not the “poverty safari” he had initially accused it of being (c/o Ellie Harrison, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design)
  • A “butter pie” (figure 1.1 above) is a traditional staple of Preston and the wider Lancashire area, consisting of sliced potatoes, copious quantities of butter and a little onion, all ensconced in a crisply baked pie case. Damn tasty too (c/o Richard Holme, School of Education and Social Work [who also talked a bit about teaching and professional development but that part wasn’t nearly as interesting])
  • If we subscribe to the Dadaist manifesto of Mr Hugo Ball, we may call a tree a Pluplusch and, if it has been raining, a Pluplubasch (c/o Tim Morris, School of Humanities)
  • Scientists describe as “wet” laboratories those in which experiments are carried out on physical specimens with chemicals, drugs, and other such biological materials, and “dry” laboratories those in which data obtained from the wet labs is processed and analysed on spreadsheets, computers etc (c/o Inke Näthke, School of Life Sciences)
  • Whilst Professor of Physiology around the First World War, and working under a German alias, one E. Waymouth Reid exploited students and lab facilities at University College Dundee to operate an illicit sweet-making factory (c/o Kenneth Baxter, Archive Services)
  • The “iGen” generation, otherwise known as Gen Z or Zoomers i.e. those currently in their teens and early twenties, are statistically the most right-wing age demographic since pre-World War Two, advocating a strongly neoliberal society with reduced welfare systems, more punitive prison sentences, and a culture that lays responsibility for success and culpability for failure predominantly on the individual (c/o Jane Fenton, School of Education and Social Work)
  • The Great War Memorial on top of the Law in Dundee was unveiled in 1925 by General Sir Ian Hamilton, whose disastrous leadership in the Gallipoli Campaign killed over 100,000 Allied soldiers, hundreds of them from Dundee, Tayside and Fife divisions (c/o Matthew Jarron, Museum Services)
  • In apartheid South Africa, black men wearing hats outdoors were required to remove them and scrunch them tightly against their chests when passing in the vicinity of white people (c/o Matt Graham, School of Humanities)
  • Land that has been cleared by felling rainforests for farming is often very poor for this purpose; tropical rains tend to wash out nutrients from the exposed soil whilst simultaneously washing in deposits of iron oxide, which stifle crop growth and give this earth its characteristic red tinge (c/o Neil Paterson, Dundee Botanic Garden)


Culture Day was part of Dundee’s Festival of the Future, taking place from 16th-20th October in and around the University of Dundee. For more information visit dundee.ac.uk/festival-future or search “Festival Future” on Facebook or Twitter.

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