Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Glasgow School of Art’s world-leading research recognised in 2014 REF results

Institution sees 11% rise in research classed as “world leading / internationally excellent” since 2008

The results of the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework), the UK-wide exercise to assess the quality of higher education research, which were published today, 18th December 2014, underline The Glasgow School of Art’s position as a world-leader in Art and Design research. 

 Images: Trial of the Envisage project, which aids post stroke rehabilitation and 3D visualisation of the head and neck, two of the ground breaking research projects in the GSA’s world-leading portfolio

The Glasgow School of Art has the largest Art and Design research base in Scotland, (the 6th largest in the UK), and assessment of its work saw much of it placed in the top categories.

The overall research environment, one of the three criteria against which the work is judged, was classed as being world-leading / internationally excellent, with 70% of the GSA’s work awarded the highest mark (4*). Meanwhile 61% of the work submitted for the impact assessment was also classed as world-leading/internationally excellent.

We are delighted to see the calibre of the research undertaken at the GSA gaining validation from this detailed independent assessment,” says Professor Ken Neil, Head of Research at The Glasgow School of Art. “This success in the 2014 REF offers a strong platform on which to build as the GSA moves forward with plans to strengthen its research quality and grow its graduate research base.”

Scotland as whole has seen a 29.3% rise in the number of submissions classed as “world-leading” since the last assessment in 2008, and the REF has also classed 47.6 per cent of research at universities in Scotland as "internationally excellent" compared to just 37 per cent six years ago.

Commenting on the results in Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Angela Constance, said:

“Our universities have a strong track record of attracting funding from around the world and the Scottish Government will continue to support them to develop new ways of thinking that will further strengthen our economy and improve the lives of people in Scotland and around the world."

The UK REF2014 results are now published and publicly available at


Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A card by a woman for a woman: Scotland’s First Minister unveils her 2014 Christmas card

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her 2014 Christmas card in the Window on Mackintosh at The Glasgow School of Art, today 16 December 2014. The card features an image by artist Phyllis Dodd created in the 1970s and is taken from Conrad McKenna’s collection of Christmas cards by GSA students and staff which is held in The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections. Ms Sturgeon also visited the Mackintosh Building to see the ongoing forensic archaeology in the library and met some of the artists who are benefitting from a Phoenix Bursary. Full details of the visit in the Scottish Government press release below.

To see more of the cards in the McKenna collection visit the GSA Archives and Collections new online catalogue at

Further information on the GSA
Lesley Booth

Friday, 12 December 2014

The GSA unveils 2014 Christmas card by BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker, Ross Hogg

Inspired by the work of pioneering filmmaker Norman McLaren, the e-card references the GSA Archives and the fire in “The Mack”, and looks towards a brighter future for the building.

BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker and GSA graduate, Ross Hogg, has created The Glasgow School of Art’s Christmas card it was revealed today, 12 December 2014. The design, which takes the form of a short animated film, was unveiled in a screening in the Reid Building and will be projected on to the Mackintosh Building from 5pm this evening. The e-card was inspired by the pioneering animated film maker Norman McLaren, (a GSA graduate whose centenary is being celebrated this year), and features imagery which references both the Mackintosh Building and historic Christmas cards in the GSA’s Archives and Collections.

After an eventful year celebrating the centenary of Norman McLaren and coming to terms with the damage caused to The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building by the fire in May, I wanted to make reference to both historic events in this year’s GSA Christmas e-card,” says Hogg, who earlier this year won the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award for Animation.

Hogg’s film was produced by a painstaking process of painting and scratching directly on 16mm stock, using animation techniques pioneered by Norman McLaren. Meanwhile, the sound track by Robbie Gunn, which builds though the film, eventually culminating in a rendition of the popular carol, ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ was created by scratching on the optical waveform of 16mm film stock, recording as it played through a projector, and then rearranged digitally.  The film finishes with the words “Thank You” in the famous Mackintosh typeface as seen on Kenny Hunter’s Citizen Firefighter in the aftermath of the fire, offering a Christmas thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“By working on 16mm film stock, the film inherently speaks to and evokes connotations of ‘archive’ and resembles something which could have existed in the archives and consequently survived the fire,” adds Hogg. The vibrancy, energy and colour towards the end of the film reflect the warmth and excitement of the festive period while hinting at a hopeful and bright future for the Mackintosh Building and The GSA as a whole,” adds Hogg

The Christmas e-card was unveiled in a week that also saw the launch of The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections online catalogue. Work on the project began earlier this year to enhance access to the School’s rich and wide-ranging archival materials. It has taken on a deeper significance since the fire in the Mackintosh Building with access to the physical archive currently not possible. A dynamic resource, the website will be expanded as all artworks and objects in the extensive collections are digitized, and it will also be a platform for the dissemination of the findings from the archaeological investigation in the Mackintosh library and ongoing conservation work.

“The initial aim of the project to create an online catalogue for our Archives and Collections was to make them more accessible for learning, teaching and research, and also to open them up more widely to the general public,” says Susannah Waters, Archivist at The Glasgow School of Art. “In the aftermath of the fire this project has taken on greater significance as our physical archive will be in storage for the foreseeable future.”

“In the coming months this dynamic resource will help us to make sure that people are kept up to date with developments in the forensic investigation of the Mackintosh Library and our ongoing conservation plans.”

The digitization of the catalogue was supported with a grant from Museums and Galleries Scotland.

Visit the GSA Archives and Collections online at


Further information
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474

Notes for Editors

Ross Hogg graduated with a BA 1st class honours in Communication Design from The Glasgow School of Art, and was winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal, the highest accolade awarded to a graduating student. In 2013 he was nominated for the British Academy Scotland Award for Animation and this year won both the British Academy Scotland New Talent Award for Animation, 2014 and the Celtic Media Festival Award for Animation, 2014. He also received a nomination for the British Academy Scotland Award for Animation this year. Ross Hogg currently works from his studio space in Summerhall, Edinburgh. For further information on his current projects visit

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Green Light for The Glasgow School of Art’s return to McLellan Galleries

The Glasgow School of Art was approved as long-term tenant for McLellan Galleries at today’s meeting of Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee. The GSA was formerly based in the B-listed building prior to the opening of the Mackintosh Building in the late 19th century.

Concept image by Page/Park Architects of how a new central courtyard / exhibition space and a public route through from Sauchiehall Street might be created in McLellan Galleries

Over recent years Glasgow City Council (GCC) has sought a tenant to take a long-term lease on the Galleries, repair the building and use it in line with its historic purposes.

The plan, which will integrate the McLellan Galleries into the GSA’s Garnethill campus, will see the institution make an investment of between £10m and £20m to return the building to its place at the heart of Glasgow’s creative and cultural life.

As part of the GSA’s strategic estates development, which is currently being master-planned by Page\Park Architects, the practice created a series of initial concept ideas for the B-listed building which include a new central courtyard / exhibition space providing a public route through from Sauchiehall Street to the GSA’s newly developed precinct between the Mackintosh, Reid and Bourdon Buildings on Renfrew Street. Such a development would also offer the public a glimpse into the creative and cultural production of staff and students enabling the public to engage in the life of the School.

“We are delighted that Glasgow City Council has approved The Glasgow School of Art as long term-tenant for McLellan Galleries,” says Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art ‘The GSA occupied McLellan Galleries for 30 years from 1869 before moving into purpose-designed accommodation at 167 Renfrew Street – The Mackintosh Building. 100 years later, our plans and investment in the Galleries will bring them back to life and secure their long-term future for both the school and the city”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The McLellan Galleries has enjoyed a great past, and now we can look forward to a fantastic future for this wonderful building.  The Glasgow School of Art presented an extremely strong case for the long-term lease, and seem a perfect fit for the Galleries.  This is not just great news for the development of the McLellan Galleries and the growth of the School of Art, but also for this part of the city centre.”

The GSA will now move forward with plans to appoint an architects practice to lead the redevelopment and will establish a timetable for the development of the Galleries which will be agreed with GCC.

The proposed date of entry and commencement of the 95-year lease would be from September 2015.  The GSA is currently occupying the Galleries and will continue to do so until the date of entry on a temporary licence.

Ends                                                                11 December 2014 

Further information on the GSA plans:
Lesley Booth,
0779 941 4474

Notes for Editors

Appointment of long-term tenant for McLellan Galleries
Following a feasibility study which established a significant market demand the council’s property advisers, Ryden, invited interested parties to submit a business case.  Ultimately, The Glasgow School of Art was the only organisation to submit a business case as other organisations, who had suggested they may bid, subsequently did not do so as it was indicated they did not appreciate the complexity of the building nor the associated need for substantial capital investment.

Towards a future for McLellan Galleries
  • Page/Park Architects developed a case study as to how the McLellan Galleries might be usefully brought back to life within the context of the campus masterplan which the practice is currently developing for the GSA.
  • McLellan Galleries are held in great affection by many in the city. The marble stairs surmounted by splendid top lit gallery spaces are a surprise hidden behind the elegant Palazzo Style architecture of the Sauchiehall Street frontage.
  • For over a century and a half the Galleries have been transformed from its single storey origins, to an art school then to its current municipal use - a history of creative and cultural engagement which will continue with its re-embrace as part of The Glasgow School of Art.
  • The Galleries have always been a discovery, and that perhaps has been its problem in terms of a wider public perception of accessibility. Compare the McLellan to Princes Square, an elegant top lit space in a similar Palazzo building in Buchanan Street.
  • The McLellan as it currently stands is like a trapped iceberg inside the city block. Underneath the lovely galleries is a warren of subterranean lightless spaces that take up a huge area and struggle to find effective uses.
  • Page\Park’s conceptual proposal is two-fold and imaginative - to remove the central gallery down to ground level to create a new central covered courtyard around which the ground floor rooms, mezzanine floor and upper level galleries wrap, bringing light in to the heart of the building at all levels and a roof-top extension to the north providing additional space with a new façade on to Renfrew Street providing access to all floors, views of the Mackintosh and Reid Buildings and a new entrance on to Renfrew Street.
  • The Sauchiehall Street entrance will become a new front door for the School of Art with access into the courtyard and a new route up to Renfrew Street and to the Mackintosh, Reid and Bourdon Buildings and the public exhibition galleries in the Reid and Mackintosh, the Window on Mackintosh Visitors Centre and tours of the Reid and once restoration is completed the Mackintosh Building.
  • The new McLellan Courtyard with cafe and exhibition spaces give the public an insight in to the creative production at heart of the School
  • The Project will allow the GSA to directly engage with one of the city’s busiest streets and the School will engage actively with the City Council’s Sauchiehall District proposals of which the GSA’s campus master plan and McLellan development will be key projects.

Further information on Glasgow City Council
Paul Kane
0141 287 5387 / 07766 802811

Monday, 8 December 2014

Alasdair Gray: Spheres of Influence II

Work by Alasdair Gray and Aubrey Beardsley, Eric Gill, Peter Howson, Dorothy Iannone, David Kindersley Lida Lopes Cardozo and Denis Tegetmeier, together with new commissions from Oliver Braid, Stuart Murray, My Bookcase and Hanna Tuulikki

Associated events:
Sunday 14 December 2014 at 7.45pm The Bedfords and A Life in Progress, GFT.
Friday19 December 2014 at 1pm Rachel Maclean: ‘Brawny Batchelors and Macho Maidens’, Reid Auditorium, the GSA.
Wednesday 14 January 2015 at 1pm Edwin Pickstone: A potted history of the alphabet and its designs, Principal Seminar Room 1, Reid Building, the GSA.


 Part of the Alasdair Gray celebration, marking his 80th birthday, this exhibition provides alternative readings of his visual practice, through the prism of others'. Spheres of Influence II is curated by by Jenny Brownrigg, GSA Exhibitions Director. It includes both historical and contemporary pieces from the realms of visual art, design and illustration. Gray’s work forms the central point around which the other works orbit. The broad themes drawn from Gray’s oeuvre include graphic style; symbolism; text and image; lettering and the alphabet; portraiture and identity; labour; religion; war; love and sexuality. The exhibition includes special commissions from Oliver Braid, Stuart Murray, My Bookcase and Hanna Tuulikki.
Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley on show in Sphere of Influence II
'When fifteen or sixteen I discovered Aubrey Beardsley and loved the way he made innocent fun of mild perversity. He drew naked bodies beautifully, but also enjoyed inventing fantastic costumes for them to dress and undress in'.
Alasdair Gray

Spheres of Influence II runs in the Reid Gallery, Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art, 164 Renfrew St, Glasgow until 25 January 2015. Please note that the GSA is closed from 24 December 2014 – 4 January 2015 inclusive.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Duncan Campbell becomes 5th GSA graduate to win the Turner Prize

A still from Duncan Campbell's award-winning It for Others

GSA graduate Duncan Campbell today became the 30th winner of the controversial Turner Prize. The announcement was made at Tate Britain and the prestigious award was presented by 12 Years a Slave actor, Chiwetel Eijofor.

Campbell becomes the 5th GSA graduate to win the award since Douglas Gordon in 1996 and the 4th MFA graduate in the last ten years.

“The Glasgow School of Art warmly congratulates Duncan Campbell on becoming the 30th winner of the Turner Prize,” says Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art. “This is a great accolade both for Duncan and for The Glasgow School of Art. Duncan becomes our 5th winner of this prestigious award since 1996 and the 4th graduate from our Master of Fine Art programme.”

“Duncan and all the previous GSA winners and short listed artists are a great inspiration to the current generation of students and the wider visual art community here in Glasgow.”

Previous GSA graduates to win the Turner Prize are: Douglas Gordon (1996), Simon Starling (2005), Richard Wright (2009) and Martin Boyce (2011).

A further nine GSA graduates were shortlisted for the prize between 1996 and 2014. They are Christine Borland (1997), Jim Lambie (2005), Nathan Coley (2007), Cathy Wilkes (2008), Lucy Skaer (2009), Karla Black (2011), David Shrigley (2013), Ciara Phillips (2014) and Tris Vonna-Michell (2014)

“It for Others (2013), a complex film quartet that moves with real subtlety 
through all sorts of ideas about the uses and values of art.”
Laura Cumming, The Observer

Duncan Campbell is a consummate film-maker with a ferocious intelligence, 
dry wit and a terrier-like tendency to keep on worrying his subject,
Richard Dorment, The Telegraph

Duncan Campbell came to Glasgow to follow the Master of Fine Art programme at The Glasgow School of Art in 1996 and has been based in the city ever since. Using film as his primary medium, mixing archive footage and new material, Campbell questions and challenges the documentary form. He was nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize for his contribution to Scotland’s pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Responding to Chris Marker and Alan Resnais’ 1953 film Statues Also Die, Campbell’s It for Others included new work by choreographer Michael Clark. Previous works have seen him make films about controversial figures such as the Irish political activist Bernadette Devlin or the quixotic car manufacturer John DeLorean. His piece, It for Others can be seen in the 2014 Turner Prize exhibition until January 2015.

Two of the other shortlisted artists for the 2014 Turner Prize are also GSA graduates: Ciara Phillips (MFA 2004) and Trish Vonna-Michell (Fine Art Photography 2005). For further information on their work see Notes for Editors.

The Turner Prize exhibition will be held in Glasgow for the first time next year.

Further Information
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474

Notes for Editors

Canadian born artist, Ciara Phillips, came to Glasgow in 2002 to follow the Master of Fine Art programme at The Glasgow School of Art. Since then she has made Glasgow her base and continues her relationship with the GSA as a lecturer on the Painting and Printmaking programme. Ciara is also working with the artists who have chosen to be based in Glasgow for their Phoenix Bursary supported residency.

Ciara often works collaboratively, transforming galleries into workshops and involving other artists, designers and local community groups. She works with all kinds of prints: from screen prints and textiles to photos and wall paintings, and has taken inspiration from Corita Kent (1918–1986), a pioneering artist, educator and activist who reinterpreted the advertising slogans and imagery of 1960s consumer culture. Ciara Phillips was nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize for her solo exhibition at The Showroom, London.

Tris Vonna-Michell graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2005. Through fast-paced spoken word live performances and audio recordings he tells circuitous and multilayered stories. Accompanied by a ‘visual script’ of slide projections, photocopies and other ephemera, his works are characterised by fragments of information, detours and dead ends. He was nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize for his solo exhibition Postscript (Berlin) at Jan Mot, Brussels.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Statement from The Glasgow School regarding the cause and spread of the fire in the Mackintosh Building on 23 May 2014

The Glasgow School of Art is releasing the following information today, 26 November 2014, relating to the fire in the Mackintosh Building at 12.27pm 23rd May 2014.

Over the last 6 months the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has undertaken a systematic investigation into the fire and has now produced its final report into the incident. The Fire Investigation Report is the property of the SFRS.

The Glasgow School of Art is undertaking an ongoing review of its own policies and procedures.  This will be informed by conclusions from the SFRS investigation.

The GSA wishes to publicly restate its thanks to SFRS for their work to save a significant part of the Mackintosh Building, its collections, archives and the work of staff and students, their thorough investigation of the cause and spread of the fire and their agreement for the GSA to make the following information from their report publicly available:

For a  selection of floor plans of The Mackintosh Building and free for use images visit:


The fire started in Studio 19 located in the north basement, west wing of the Mackintosh Building within a student exhibition space (approximately 6m X 2.5m, constructed of chipboard and wooden studs).

The student work comprised high expansion foam panels (these were fabricated outwith the exhibition space), and were approximately 50-75mm in depth, fastened to three of the walls, with one wall left blank to receive projected images from a projector mounted on the opposite wall. 

At the time of the incident visible gaps between the foam panels were being filled-in by applying foam directly from a canister of expanding foam.  


The fire originated within a projector mounted on a shelf approximately 1.7m from the ground and located on the south wall of the studio. (Projector details - Epson EMP-TW680; this was the property of GSA and had been purchased in 2008; it was maintained by GSA Technical Services Department; it had been subject to inspection, cleaned and tested prior to being loaned, with guidance, to the student; annual portable appliance testing (PAT) had last been carried out in December 2013).

Fire was caused when flammable gases (Isobutane, propane and dimethyl ether) used as a propellant within a canister of expanding foam was discharged in close proximity to the projector.  These flammable gases were drawn into the projector cooling fan.  The SFRS report has ruled out ignition being caused by this equipment being defective, and SFRS could find no evidence to suggest it did not operate as the manufacturers intended. It is likely that indirect ignition of the flammable gases occurred as it passed in and around energised electrical components of the projector.

Once ignited the flame front would have grown in size consuming plastic components and the plastic casing of the projector, flames then impinged onto the foam which was placed on the wall directly behind it. 


As flames and hot gases reached ceiling level of Studio 19 they spread horizontally, igniting further timber panelling and entered voids in the walls on both sides of the doorway of Studio 19. 

Flames then travelled through the voids in the walls into Studio 31 on the ground floor, directly above Studio 19.  Fire spread vertically either side of the doorway and also horizontally behind the timber panelling, in a westerly direction, in Studio 31.  At least four voids run vertically in the walls of Studio 31 and these allowed unchecked fire spread to areas above, as well as on the same level.

One of these voids allowed lateral access to Studio 32 at ceiling level. From Studio 32 the fire spread through voids to the Mackintosh Library above.  The construction, layout, and high fire loading (timber furniture, panelling and books) meant that the room and its contents became totally involved in the fire.  From the Library the fire spread vertically via voids to the Library Storage Space above and then into Studio 58 via these same voids.

Returning to the ground floor within Studio 31, fire spread via all four vertical voids to the first floor Studios above 43, 44 and 45.  The fire achieved this by breaking through timber panelling which cover the voids, allowing access into the corridor outside the studios.

Fire then spread laterally from the Professors’ Studios to Studio 57.  From here, the fire also spread into Studio 58.

A major contributory factor for the fire spreading throughout the building was the number of timber lined walls and voids, and original ventilation ducts running both vertically and horizontally throughout the building.  The vertical ventilation ducts consisted of both brick-lined, (located within the walls), and timber ducts (mounted on the wall surface). The brick-lined ducts were formed within the structure of the walls.  Horizontal ducts were constructed of timber and, in some instances, sheet metal.  A vertical service void ran the entire height of the building to roof level and acted like a chimney. It allowed flames, hot gases and smoke to travel vertically.

A fire suppression system, designed to enhance existing fire protection measures, was being installed and was in the latter stages of completion; at the time of the fire the system it was not fully commissioned and was not operational. 


In the immediate aftermath of the fire the GSA implemented its business recovery plan.  This has ensured the School was able to maintain effective operations, including the annual Degree Show and graduation, and maintaining postgraduate taught programmes over the summer concluding with the Graduate Degree Show in September 2014. 

Since September 2014 and the start of academic year 2014/15, the School has been operating business as usual, with staff and students decanted from the Mackintosh Building relocated to other GSA buildings and the Tontine Building in the Merchant City through a lease with Glasgow City Council.

The Glasgow School of Art has commissioned an external review of its management of the critical incident.

Now that the SFRS has concluded its investigation into the cause of the fire, The Glasgow School of Art will be reviewing the specific lessons to be learnt from the incident. Information from the SFRS Fire Report will also be used to inform the Mackintosh Building restoration and GSA’s broader approach to health and safety management going forward.

Progress is being made on plans for the restoration of the Mackintosh Building.  The Building is now wind and water tight, is being cleared with services being reinstated to allow works to commence, and specialists from Kirkdale Archaeology are forensically excavating the remains of the Mackintosh Library, the outcomes of which will inform the restoration. 

The recruitment of the internal project team is progressing and the appointment (in line with EU procurement requirements) of the design team and the external project management team to undertake the restoration has commenced. 

A special Board Committee has been established under the leadership of Eleanor McAlister OBE to oversee the restoration project.  We aim that the building will be fully restored and operational as a working art school, exhibition space and visitor attraction between 2018 and 2019.

Further information:
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474

Friday, 21 November 2014

BBC Radio 4 documentary: "Glasgow School of Art: Rising from the Ashes" to be broadcast today

Glasgow School of Art: Rising from the Ashes

At 11am today BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a documentary covering the six months since the fire in the Mackintosh Building. The programme will then be available to listen to on the BBC iplayer.


A look at the recovery of Glasgow School of Art since the May 2014 fire, which destroyed students' work and damaged one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's finest buildings. The GSA is looking to the future and has offered affected students a `phoenix bursary', while plans are being considered for a renovation that will preserve and retain the character of the Scottish architect's original design. The establishment is of international importance, and its future is hotly debated at a conference in Venice as part of the Architecture Biennale.

GSA Media enquiries:
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Forensic Archaeologists begin work in The Mackintosh Library

Specialists from Kirkdale Archaeology have today begun the painstaking work of excavating the remains of the Mackintosh Library at The Glasgow School of Art. This investigative work is part of the GSA’s research and documentation of the building after the fire and will help inform the restoration process. Similar work was undertaken after the major fire at Windsor Castle in the 1990s and provided invaluable information to the restoration and archives teams.

“Immediately after the fire, with support from Historic Scotland, the GSA was able to remove substantial amounts of material from the Mackintosh Building,” says Alison Stevenson Head of Libraries, Archives and Collections at the GSA. “We have recently begun sifting this for items which could be restored or conserved and added to our Archives and Collections.”

A conservator with Mackintosh lamps found in material retrieved
from the west wing of The Mackintosh Building after the fire
One of a number of enamel broaches found in material retrieved from the west wing and part of a table from The Library

“We are also turning to what is at once the most complex and potentially most revealing project in terms of conservation. Although the library was destroyed in the fire there are significant remains which we hope will retain artefacts or fragments that will prove invaluable both in terms of our archival records and our restoration plans.”

The work is being led by Gordon Ewart Director of Kirkdale Archaeology, whose portfolio of high profile projects includes recent archaeological excavations at Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Place and Linlithgow Palace.

“Over the next few weeks we will work through the remains of the library excavating layer by layer though the ash checking carefully for any artefacts that have survived the fire or fragments that can be conserved.

Throughout the process we will keep a archaeological record which will remain as a detailed document of where salvageable material was found and we hope will help inform the GSA’s restoration programme.”

“Historic Scotland is pleased that the GSA committed to undertake this detailed forensic survey,” adds Ranald McInnes, Head of Heritage Management at Historic Scotland who has worked closely with the GSA on the conservation of the Mackintosh Building for many years. “This investigation of The Library will be invaluable both to the current restoration plan and for future generations studying the Mackintosh Building.”

The excavation work is expected to take several weeks.

·         The forensic archaeologists will work through the library in 1m x 1m columns excavating the layers of ash in c.25cm increments or ‘spits’.
·         Each new exposed surface/horizon will be photographed and recorded in plan @ 1:10  and each of the 2 - 3 exposed full sections will be photographed and drawn @ 1:10.
·         Each layer will then be transferred to the Mackintosh Museum where a team from AOC Archaeology Group Ltd will sift through the remains to identify salvageable items. Each excavated item and deposit will be logged in terms of its archaeological context, before removal for either suitable storage and treatment or disposal.

The Glasgow School of Art has meanwhile drawn up a list of which items should be kept for conservation.
·         All coloured glass will be retained along with the best examples of exterior window glass, interior window glass, library office glass and bookcase glass.
·         All modern metal fittings will be disposed of with only original fittings being retained. The best examples of lead work from the doors, locks, hinges and one radiator will be retained along with all air vents.
·         All pieces of wooden furniture and decorative/coloured wood will be retained along with the best examples of internal window frames and original boards from the wall lined panels.
·         Large-scale identifiable samples of general books will be retained for assessment along with all fragments of books from the special collections list.
·         Plaster casts from the windows and ceramics will be retained along with some carpet samples.

A series of measured and photographed plans and sections through the entire deposit will be produced, which can be combined to illustrate the deposition sequence at a series of discrete intervals both across and through the debris field.  A written report on the quantity and types of material disposed of as well as detail photographs and written description of anything retained will be produced by the GSA.

The results of the project in terms of all excavated and evidence, historic documentation and any other specialist input, will them be combined in a single project archive and the GSA aims to create an online digital resource that is capable of integrating a wide variety of multimedia components as they emerge during each stage of the restoration project. This would then be made available as a rich resource within the School’s Archives and Collections.

Ends                                                                                                                18 November 2014

For further information:
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474