Laura BennisonBy Laura Bennison, Community Engagement Officer

Over the course of several Saturdays in autumn, children and families have been gathering together in different venues across Edinburgh to create a monster!

The project, organised by National Museums Scotland Community Engagement team, has brought three groups of people based in Leith together with an artist to create a spectactular sculpture of a Chinese dragon. This dragon will hang at the entrance to the Imagine gallery, which opens as part of the new National Museum of Scotland in 2011. The eight-metre-long dragon will lure visitors into the gallery, a colourful interactive space where families and other visitors will be able to explore festivities around the world.

Dragon's den: developing ideas for the Chinese dragon

Dragon’s den: developing ideas for the Chinese dragon.

Several groups, including pupils of the Edinburgh Chinese School, Leith Primary and Macdonald Road Library’s multicultural family learning group, have participated in very successful workshops ofer the last two months. In these workshops, participants have found out more about Chinese culture, researched the significance and meaning behind Chinese dragons, and created their own moving dragons of various shapes and sizes.

Working on dragon designs at Macdonald Road Library.

Working on dragon designs at Macdonald Road Library.

The artist appointed for this project, Kim Bergsagel, has worked both locally and internationally, collaborating with communities to create large-scale artworks. Most recently she made Big Man Walking, an eight-metre blue puppet who toured Scottish towns to great acclaim.

Over the next few months these groups will visit Kim’s studio to see the dragon take shape. They will also be involved in our Chinese New Year celebrations in Feburary, which will take place in the National Museum of Scotland. We’ll also be involving these groups in other consultation for the Imagine gallery, for instance, working with them to choose books for our Story Corner.

The aim of the project is to further strengthen our connections with local audiences and, by involving families in the creation of content for the National Museum of Scotland’s reopening, ensure that they feel a real part of our new spaces for a long time to come.

Decorating a picture of a Chinese dragon

Decorating a picture of a Chinese dragon.

A dragon created by families at Macdonald Road Library

A dragon created by families at Macdonald Road Library.

You can see more pictures from the workshops on Flickr.