Dundee art student uses tea to break ice

Image caption, Sarah Griffiths stopped strangers for tea and a chat

A Dundee student stopped strangers in the street and invited them to sit down for a cup of tea and a chat as part of an art project.

Sarah Griffiths, 37, said she wanted to explore how the power of tea could be harnessed to create community spirit.

The Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design student also left cameras around Dundee with a note asking people to photograph things that represented community to them.

A tea bag was left with each camera.

Her work is currently being featured at the 2010 Dundee Degree show.

Ms Griffiths, from Broughty Ferry, said she wanted to use tea as a starting point to gather opinions about community.

The cameras and booklets - for people to jot down their thoughts - were left on benches and bus stops around the city.

The returned photographs and booklets are on display as part of the show.

Ms Griffiths designed a portable tea trolley to take around Dundee and set it up by the side of the road.

She said: "The reason I chose tea as a means of exploring community is because the obsession with tea is such a British peculiarity.

"It is a staple of community life in this country. It's a light-hearted way of getting across a serious message - that there needs to be public spaces where people can come together and be a community."

The University of Dundee said more than 6,000 people had visited the degree show in the first few days of it opening.

The university estimates the show at Duncan of Jordanstone College generates almost £1.5m for the local economy.

Laura Simpson, assistant curator at the college, said: "I am not surprised that this year's show had once again proved a massive draw, with visitors from both the local area and from further afield.

"The talent and creativity of Duncan of Jordanstone students is well known."

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