Discovery Point hosts ‘Whale’ project celebrating Dundee’s whaling and jute industries

Dundee’s Discovery Point, home to the historic RRS Discovery, is playing host to a fascinating new art project celebrating two industries that form the city’s backbone – whaling and jute.

In Whale, visitors to the historic vessel – now a popular visitor attraction on Dundee’s waterfront – can immerse themselves in the world of whales by wearing headphones roped with Dundee jute. The jute uses a Celtic 16-strand hollow braiding technique.

Oceanic voices of bowhead whales, bearded seals, beluga whales and narwhals speak directly into visitors’ ears as they stand at Dundee’s waterfront overlooking the River Tay. Whale, by artist/scholar Yolande Harris, is part of NEoN Digital Arts pop up programme for Dundee’s Ignite Festival.

The 30-minute Whale ‘sound walk’ is available separate from RRS Discovery’s exhibition and tours, and is free of charge.

Paul Jennings, executive director of Dundee Heritage Trust, which runs RRS Discovery, said the partnership with NEoN and Yolande Harris was a logical one given the Trust’s involvement in both the whaling and jute industries.

RRS Discovery – whose slogan is ‘Made in Dundee, Designed for Adventure’ – famously carried explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his crew to the Antarctic. It was built in Dundee because of the city’s experience in making hardy whaling ships. The Trust also operates textile and social history museum Verdant Works, on the site of a former jute factory.

Jennings said:

“Dundee Heritage Trust was set up to preserve and portray Dundee’s heritage through both RRS Discovery, famously made by builders of whaling ships, and the jute and social history museum Verdant Works. So it made sense to host Whale, which straddles both of these worlds. We know that visitors to Discovery Point will be as fascinated by Whale as we are.”

Donna Holford-Lovell, director of NEoN (North East of North), said:

“We are delighted that, through Yolande Harris’ exhibition and Ignite, we can add an extra dimension to visits to Discovery Point. Whale highlights Dundee’s past as well as the changing face of the city, and in particular its waterfront.”

Whale takes place from May 20th to May 28th 2017. Headphones can be picked up at RRS Discovery’s reception area.

More information on Whale is available at

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