GSA Students’ Association

Students are welcome to drop in and visit us in the Students’ Association on 20 Scott Street, or email us at: studentengagement@theartschool.co.uk (Student Engagement team), Karin Tokunaga (Events Convenor), Ale Marini (Student President).

Welcome from the Student President

Well done you bloody legend, you got into Art School!

And for those of you who have returned – power to you.

I welcome you on behalf of the Glasgow School of Art Students’ Association (GSASA)! I welcome you to your new school! I welcome you to your new home, bonnie Glasgow – where the weather may be dreich but the people are braw. I know we have a rough reputation here in Glasgow, but if you do find yourself confronted by a fast talking Glaswegian at the bus stop, do not be alarmed, it’s very common to have a blether with a random. Anyway, I am not here to tell you about Glasgow or how much I love it, I am here to tell you about your Students’ Association.

At the GSASA we do so much and everything we do is centred around YOU. As a non-profit charity all proceeds made by The Art School (that’s the cafe / restaurant / bar / venue where you can eat, drink, socialise, be happy, be sad, be yourself, be political and very importantly party your wee butt off) go back into student initiated projects like exhibitions, society activities, club nights and pretty much anything you suggest that other students think is a good idea. I know that sounds crazy, all the profits made on your pizzas and pints being redistributed fairly, but it’s true. We also like to programme fun and informative events, lectures and workshops to supplement your academic experience.

I like to see our Students’ Association as a political space, where we can be critical of our academic and social experience at GSA, in Glasgow and beyond. We all need to help one another become more empathetic and understanding of each others’ experiences and opinions. Our political space must be an equal and accessible platform for everyone. To be the progressive social space which we are, we all need to be open minded and respectful of each others’ voices and ideologies. We have formal systems in place, such as the Student Representative Council, and informal events, such as pecha kuchas, club nights and drag brunches – all of these are places you can talk freely and participate in discussions.

Now, I can completely understand the mass political apathy we are experiencing in the smoggy mist of this climate emergency… where systematic inequality and social injustice is rife, where the oppressed and downtrodden are dashed on the pavement under the feet of profiteers who rule the world. But let’s turn that apathy into action! It’s time to wake up, regroup and become a more engaged, political and socially aware student body. All of the good stuff we try to do at the GSASA depends on your participation. If we want to petition the school to change, we need to band together. If we see fellow students being treated unfairly, together we can change that. If we want to declare a Climate Emergency then we must do so as a unified student body. If we want to diversify the curriculum and change the current eurocentric and unsustainable syllabus then we must do so together. Not only does this coming together as an active community allow us to change our own institution and Students’ Association, but it allows us to have a voice on a national level, it allows us to be innovative and at the forefront of change. Together we stand a chance of being the place others dream of becoming – we can be the ones who set the bar.

We here at GSASA can only give you the tools to affect positive change but we can’t make you do anything. Having said that, I can promise to put all my energy into facilitating and empowering all of you. I am here for you at all times, to listen and advise. Come see me in the office, stop me in the street or email me. Your input is vital to my role. I am not an expert in anything, I only have the volition to see a better student experience and a better world.

Before I say goodbye, think on this proverb:

‘You can take a horse to water, but you canny make it drink’

To contextualise: you are the horse, GSASA is the water and the sabbaticals are the wranglers.

Many, many, many warm wishes, solidarity and thanks,
Ale (Alessandro Marini, Student President)

a drawing of a bee by Edith Ault

Welcome from the Events Convenor


Hi and welcome (back) to incoming and returning students!

Events Convenor is a weird job title, it’s best described in a list of buzzwords: student representation, organising workshops, programming club nights and gigs, facilitation of student fundraisers, guiding student societies, doshing out extra curricular project funding, and any other after-school-activities you can dream up. It all starts to make more sense if you spend some time getting to know the Student’s Association. 

Despite the shadow that le Mack casts over everyone living and working in Garnethill, the Student’s Association remains a shining beacon of light for GSA students. Over the past four years, the Vic was for more days than not, the first place I came to in the morning, and the last place I left at night. The building is a rare gem with a truly malleable programme. There’s space, time, and a dedicated team of staff who are employed to help accommodate student activity in a welcoming and unintimidating way. We have so many valuable resources to share and distribute while you’re a student here. Chances are the time you spend at The Student’s Association will be your best memories when all is said and done with your degree.

Get to know the clubs around the city centre, you’ll quickly learn which ones aren’t for you and the ones that are. Go to the gallery openings even when it gets dark at 7pm and it’s pissing it down, contextualising yourself in the city is important. Look out for each other, follow up on that ‘got home safe’ text! Shop local, support small businesses. Visit your friends in their studios, it’s fun to see the work that people make out with your own and god forbid you manage to find time to collaborate across courses. Get your money’s worth from the school! I promise they won’t supply that for you. 

Your time here (un)fortunately is only going to be as lively as you make it. Chip in your time and effort to stuff outside of your course and you’re guaranteed more likely to acquire skills and pals you never thought you needed.

To close this out I’m going to plagiarise a student handbook from the Association in the 80s, credit to that Sabbatical when I say…
A word of warning: You may think that now you’re an Art Student everything’s going to be really Fun and Whacky. We’ll do our best, but BEWARE… there are innumerable cases of Terminal Apathy in the Art School, so whatever you do (and we hope you do a lot)…

Don’t let the bastards get you down!

Bisous,
Karin