Historic arts campus undergoing major overhaul with facility changes and growth of student body
GLASGOW School of Art (GSA) students held a noisy protest today outside their main campus building against what they claim is a sharp deterioration in learning facilities.
The students, who timed the protest of around 200 to coincide with the university’s open day, called the protest after attempts to hold talks with university management, over teachers’ workload and lack of access to facilities, failed.
At the centre of the dispute is the overhaul of the university campus, which has included centralising learning services into new buildings and attempting to expand the student body by up to 25 per cent.
Speaking to CommonSpace at the protest Joe Duff, a fifth year architecture student at GSA, said: “We are protesting against the general decline of teaching.
GSA student take to the road to protest when a member of university management adresses the press
“Teaching staff are being really pushed and over-worked. They are struggling to teach us.
“We are losing a lot of space in our departments, we lack proper facilities, we don’t have enough desk space, we losing our workshop spaces.
“A lot of decisions are being made without any of us knowing about it, without us having any say.”
Students placed signs in university windows reading “let us learn” and protesting about conditions they face
Students contest that the GSA is being developed as an internationally known “brand” rather than an educational institution and acting like a “financial services institution”.
Many of the protesting students were from outside of Scotland, and are therefore expected to pay the up-to £9,000 per year in university fees charged by institutions under laws brought in by the UK Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government elected in 2010.
Student materials used to publicise the demonstration complained of having to pay the hiked fees whilst services including access to studios for producing artworks have diminished.
University management claims that they are making significant investments alongside the increase in student numbers, and that they want to consult student through “more formal routes”.
GSA has a world reputation as an institution for producing skilled artists and creatives. Its historic main building was designed by world famous art nouveau pioneer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The building was damaged by fire in 2014.
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