Maggie’s Penguin Parade

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Case Study – Maggie’s Penguin Parade

For our case study this week we are interviewing Neil Cooney who is involved in the Maggie’s Penguin Parade that is a huge hit in Dundee and the surrounding area this summer.

Maggie's Penguin Parade logo
Click to view our Maggie’s Little Penguin Parade map


Why has the Penguin Parade been set-up, what was the vision?
“Following on from the success of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail in 2016 – Maggie’s Penguin Parade is a free and accessible public art and cultural event that sees a colony of colourful giant penguins invade the city of Dundee during 2018, one of its most exciting years in its history. The project brings together businesses, schools, community groups, organisations, creative artists and the media in a celebration of our city. The project will also ultimately raise funds for Maggie’s Dundee.

Together we can help encourage healthy lifestyles, inspire civic pride, and showcase Dundee’s best assets old and brand new. This special project will inclusively involve all communities, provide free days out for children and families, and help create special moments and memories that will last a lifetime.

Maggie’s Penguin Parade has been purposefully designed to include a learning programme which has enabled thousands of young people to experience the importance of creativity and sustainability, both within school and also the wider community as part of the main event.

The education program included every school in Dundee, allowing necessary education through the arts. Every nursery, primary and secondary school in Dundee received a 4ft penguin which was decorated by students and teachers in Term 4 of 2018. 40 inspiring community groups – including several Additional Support Needs groups – also took part.

The 97 baby penguins are being publicly exhibited in local clusters for the duration of the event, primarily in community libraries and art centres. They complement and add real value to the main Penguin Parade trail by showcasing the creativity of Tayside’s youngest citizens while promoting health and wellbeing. After the event the penguins will be returned to their respective schools to be retained as mementos.

This educational engagement is especially relevant as the campaign is a core part of the Tayside Regions’ involvement in the 2018 Year of Young People while meaningfully supporting Priority 2 of the Tayside Plan for Children, Young People and Families 2017-2020 ‘Our children, young people and their families will be meaningfully engaged with learning and combined with high quality learning experiences, all children and young people will extend their potential’”

Why is accessibility important to you?
“Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are places with professional staff on hand to offer the support people need.

Maggie’s Centres are places to find practical advice about benefits and eating well; places where qualified experts provide emotional support; places to meet other people; places where you can simply sit quietly with a cup of tea. Maggie’s programme of support has been shown to strengthen the physical and emotional wellbeing of people with cancer and their families and friends.

It is of course extremely important to underline that accessibility is crucial to Maggie’s Centres as they allow for people with disabilities to take advantage of the benefits of the same health promotion and prevention activities experienced by people who do not have a disability.

Using this principal of disability inclusion, the Penguin Parade aimed to involve people with disabilities in everyday activities and encourage folks to take part in the campaign. The majority of locations for the large penguins took this into consideration and absolutely every location for the baby penguins had to be accessible – hence the use of the public libraries. Dundee libraries work hard to be available to everyone. Their services range from accessibility at library branches to having equipment for people with disabilities and collections for people with disabilities – library material to enjoy in different formats.”

Why is a virtual tour important to you?
“Maggie’s Penguin Parade is such a visual event that not only does it lend itself to social media, but we really want to ensure that as many folks as possible get to see the fantastic designs that have been created by artists, and in this case children and community groups. The virtual tour manages to do both, not just raising awareness of the locations but providing vital information on how and when folks can access the sculptures.”

You are able to view Maggie’s virtual tour for their Little Penguin Parade here.

How has working with OOVIRT made you more accessible? Any other charity work/links to mention?
“From the very beginning Maggie’s Penguin Parade has been described as a ‘free and accessible public art event’ – OOVIRT have driven that accessibility, crucially using their experience, audience and platform to offer a unique view on the sculptures. To my knowledge no other Wild in Art trail has managed to provide such a service. What makes it more reassuring is that these particular sculptures have been created by schoolchildren from across the city as well as many community groups and charities such as Advocating Together and Rock Solid.”
What special offers/events/promos do you have?
“We really want to encourage folks to visit and interact with the sculptures and so with this in mind have developed an app that allows you to ‘collect’ the penguins. There are various rewards for doing so and if you collect all 80 of the big penguins you can enter a competition to win a year’s supply of Nando’s. If you collect all of the wee ones you can win a ‘magic moment’ meeting and feeding the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo. If you can collect all of the big and wee penguins you go into a comp to win a Golden Baby Penguin. Finally, you can vote for your favourite – the school of group with the most popular baby penguin will adopt a real penguin at Edinburgh Zoo – one of the original Penguin Parade Penguins!”

To help on the hunt for Maggie’s Little Penguin Parade, don’t forget to visit our virtual tour map here.

Thank you to Neil Cooney from Maggie’s Penguin Parade for answering our questions this week and stay tuned for our next case study coming soon.

Follow Claire D'All:

I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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