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Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is one of only two independent art schools in Scotlandmarker, situated in the Garnethillmarker area of Glasgowmarker.


It was founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design, one of the first Government Schools of Design. In 1853 it changed its name to The Glasgow School of Art. Initially it was located at 12 Ingram Street, but in 1869 it moved to the McLellan Galleries. In 1897 work started on a new building to house the school on Renfrew Street. The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the first half of the building was completed in 1899 and the second in 1909.

Departments include Fine Art photography, founded by Thomas Joshua Cooper in 1982, Painting and Printmaking,Sculpture and Environmental Art, Product Design, Product Design Engineering, Textiles, Silversmithing and Jewellery, Interior Design, Visual Communication and architecture. The School of Architecture is named after GSA's most famous alumni Charles Rennie Mackintosh and highly rated by the architecture profession.

During the early stages of the Glasgow School of Arts, Mackintosh produced one of his purest works. Queen's Cross Churchmarker, in Maryhill, Glasgow is still a hidden gem, one of the artist's most mysterious works, which was built between 1897 and 1899.


Western facade of GSA's Mackintosh building
The school is situated in a compact campus, spread across 10 buildings, in the centre of Glasgow, north of Sauchiehall Streetmarker, with the exception of the school's digital design studio which is situated at Pacific Quay.

The Mackintosh Building — or "The Mac" as it is colloquially known — is the heart of the campus and continues to be a functioning part of the school. It primarily houses the Fine Art Painting department, the Interior Design department, first year studios and administrative staff. It also houses the Mackintosh gallery which holds many different exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery is the only part of the Mackintosh building open to the general public; all other areas are of the school are only viewable by guided tour. An exception to this rule is the Degree Show where all the studios within the Mackintosh building are opened to allow people to view the graduating year's final artworks.

Directly opposite the Mackintosh Building are the Newbery Tower, Foulis Building and Assembly Building. The Newbury Tower houses the Textiles, Jewellery & Silversmithing departments and the Refectory cafeteria, actually a second branch of Where the Monkey Sleeps, a city centre cafe and restaurant run by three ex-graduates. The Foulis has the Product Design Engineering, Product Design, Visual Communications departments and the Centre for Advanced Textiles.

The Richmond Building is home to the Fine Art photography department. Connected to the Richmond Building is the John D. Kelly Building which houses the printmaking department, as well as the first year design programme.

The Mackintosh School of Architecture and the school's library are situated in The Bourdon Building.

The Barnes Building on West Graham Street is the base for the MFA and Sculpture and environmental art studios.


Currently, the GSA is planning on developing the current Garnethillmarker campus see The Mackintosh building will still be centrepiece of the campus, though there are plans to sell of some of the more peripheral buildings and to redevelop the Newbery site. As part of the planned expansion Glasgow School of Art has taken control of Glasgow City Council's McLellan Galleries.

An international architectural competition was launched in March 2009 to find the design team to prepare a campus masterplan and first building.

GSA has a research and postgraduate digital design studio (DDS) based on the southside of Glasgow in a new facility at Pacific Quay by the River Clyde in a building called The Hub.

Students and teaching

Of its 1,900 students, almost 20 per cent are from outside the UK. Oddly enough, they pay 3 times as much for the privilege.

HESA statistics show GSA to have one of the lowest student drop-out rates in the UK.

On December 18, 2002 the funding councils published figures which placed Glasgow School of Art as having the second-lowest number in the country of students from a working class background. With just 7% of its students coming from social classes IIIm, IV and V (skilled manual, semi-skilled or unskilled workers), the figures put it above Oxford and Cambridge in terms of exclusivity.The GSA has been ranked eleventh of 32 specialist educational institutions in terms of teaching quality.

Student Unions and representation

Architectural model of the Glasgow School of Art.
The Assembly Building houses the Glasgow School of Art Student Association's administrative offices. These are known by many of the staff and students as "The Vic" due to the remains of a Victorian cafe, called The Victoria cafe, saved from beneath a condemned building in the 1960s.

The GSASA also has different societies including the Mural society, LGBT society, Cinema Society and the Real Ale Appreciation Society.

The SRC is a body of students elected by fellow students. They meet once a month with different sections of the school to discuss issues affecting the students.

Notable alumni

Research and development projects

The Glasgow School of Art is host to a number of high profile research projects, funded primarily through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Economic and Social Research Council, although other UK research councils have funded projects in the past. Current projects involve research into sustainability and domestic laundry, new dynamics of ageing, and ethical consumption at Christmas.


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