Art School in Action 3rd September, 2015

Poster Designs by Jessica Taylor

7 – 10 September, 11am-5pm
Project Space 3

Art School in Action (1970-1986) looks at the approaches to teaching at Glasgow School of Art in the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition centres on a series of podcasts produced as part of GSA’s research project, New Wave: Materials, Methods and Mediums, Glasgow School of Art 1970-1986 alongside artefacts, ephemera and documentation from the School’s archives.

From the 1960s onwards art schools across the UK underwent a shift in emphasis in approaches to teaching visual art following the first Coldstream Report in 1960. Radical and alternative teaching practices begin to emerge in art schools such as Hornsey College of Art, Ealing School of Art and Central St Martins. Appearing at a time of fundamental change in the framework of art school education as colleges gradually shift from awarding diplomas towards awarding degrees. These two factors contributed to an increased critical reflection, external engagement and interdisciplinary working within art schools at this time. The 1970s and 1980s marked a crucial turning point in pedagogy at Glasgow School of Art. Art School in Action explores this especially fertile period in GSA’s history and considers its legacy. Particular attention is paid to extra-curricular activities, first-year pedagogy and the introduction of new courses in Fine Art that no longer exist.

This exhibition is curated by Debi Banerjee and Susannah Waters. It received partial funding from the Design History Society.


Visual Perception Workshop has been formulated in response to Debi Banerjee’s archival research into the experimental practices emerging from Ted Odling’s Section 5 of First Year Studies at Glasgow School of Art from 1965-1982. The workshops are inspired by Odling’s perspective exercises, and seek to explore ways of looking and seeing through apparatus and devices. The workshops aim to recontextualise Odling’s methods in light of recurring discussions surrounding film and moving image practices at GSA and contemporary technological advancements.

The first workshop will take place during the Material Culture in Action conference, taking as its starting point an exercise devised by Odling that had students animate basic geometric shapes to music. The workshop aims to address this haptic relationship to filmic material by utilising low-fi animation techniques and materials.

Using the animations generated during the first workshop, the second Body Language workshop, will take place during Freshers Week and will function as an interpretation of Odling’s initial exercise. Developed in collaboration with current GSA student MollyMae Whawell, this movement based workshop will explore the spatial and material capacities of Odlings research drawing upon notions of embodiment, exploring how we calibrate our bodies in space.

These workshops are devised and will be led by Debi Banerjee, Research Assistant, Susannah Waters, Archivist and Kirsty Hendry, Student Engagement Co-ordinator, GSA Students’ Association