Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is carved out of an old jute warehouse. The galleries upstairs were, a century ago, packed full with packaging materials made of jute, bags waiting to be filled with coffee, cacao, tea and the other consumables that define the British Empire's reach into the worlds' marketplaces. Some of the jute would become roofing for Conestoga wagons that brought new Americans west. Today, this history is gestured in the name of the basement bar: The Jute. Serving local salmon and other fruit of the River Tay and North Sea alongside salads of locally produced greens and fruits, The Jute mixes locavore pride with ingredients from the markets of twenty-first century globalization. The view from the Jute Bar looks over the Scot Rail tracks, across the Tesco—one of Britain's big box retailers—and then out to the Tay, a brackish mix of highland rainwater and the North Sea. Porpoises and seals occasionally play in the shallows, and half a mile downstream, two rocks still display their crowning World War Two decoys: conning towers made to look like submarines atop Fowler and Beacon Rock.
In September of 2013, I spent an afternoon with Maxine Dodds, founder and leader of Scottish Women in Games, and DCA is a perfect meeting place. As you can hear, the Jute is an important space in this dynamic city, where Dondonians meet, where the postindustrial future is being defined amid the ruins of the industrial past, often referenced in shorthanded as Three Js: Jute, Jam, and Journalism. As I waited for Maxine, I became excited and apprehensive. We had not met before. In email, she had already been generous—pointing me to stories and organizations across Scotland revealing the vibrant and dynamic Scottish games industry. But as excited as I was waiting to meet her, I could never have anticipated just how mind-blowing our conversation would be, how incredibly powerful her representation of gaming Scotland would be, and how fortunate I was to meet up with the founder of Scottish Women in Games.
Our conversation touched on many aspects of gaming in Scotland, and the important role Scottish Women in Games is playing. The interview is available as a podcast that can be downloaded, as well as in four parts that have been visually enhanced by Adam Strantz, who knows this conversation better now than Maxine and I do. Maxine generously shared her mindmap, and Adam has used it as an interface for accessing the content of our conversation. Download the whole thing for listening, or watch each of the parts on your computer, with visual enhancements. Links to organizations and individuals Maxine mentions appear during the interview.
- Michael Salvo