Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Glasgow School of Art seeks stories of students and staff remembered on its WWI Roll of Honour

The Glasgow School of Art WWI Roll of Honour.
Unlike most memorials it records the names of people who fought not just those who died

The Glasgow School of Art has begun a major research project into its WWI Roll of Honour. Commissioned in the 1920s, the memorial bears the names of over 400 staff and students who fought in the First World War recording their regiments and if they fell in battle. The memorial has recently undergone conservation work and has been installed in the Reid Building where it will remain until the restoration of The Mackintosh Building, its historic home, is complete. The GSA is now looking to find out as much as possible about the people who are remembered on the Roll of Honour.

“Over the years the GSA lost touch with the majority of the students and staff who are remembered on the memorial,” explains Peter Trowles, Mackintosh Curator
, the GSA Archives and Collections. “Whilst we know what became of some of them, for the majority we do not know what impact the conflict had on them, whether they completed their studies after the war and went on to make careers as artists, designers and architects or followed very different paths. We know for example that many Scots emigrated to Canada in the immediate post war years and some of our alumni were definitely among them."

“Through this research project we hope to enrich the Roll of Honour collecting and telling the stories of the people whose contribution it marks.”

Tom Gentleman, student, soldier and successful commercial artist

The research project has already begun to reveal a number of fascinating stories including that of Tom Gentleman, who attended evening classes at the GSA between 1905 and 1911 before becoming a full time student. Receiving his Diploma on the eve of war he also won the prestigious Haldane Travelling Scholarship, but had to postpone the trip due to the outbreak of hostilities.


Tom Gentleman during the First World War 
(courtesy of Hugh Gentleman)

Tom Gentleman in the 1950s

(courtesy of Hugh Gentleman)

Immediately mobilised for war service in August 1914, Tom remained in service right through until the end of the war. After demobilisation he returned to Glasgow to continue day classes in drawing and painting at the GSA, and the following year was at last able to take up the Haldane scholarship travelling in France, Italy, Corsica and Spain from 1920 to 1921. From 1921 he worked as a freelance graphic designer, exhibiting his work regularly. He also taught briefly at Coatbridge Technical School - Britain's first technical college - before moving to London where he married Winifred Murgatroyd, a fellow GSA student, and began a long career as a commercial artist working for a variety of working of companies ranging from London Transport to Shell and BP.  He retired from his post as Head of Design for Shell Mex in 1952 having been elected a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists 5 years earlier.  Tom Gentleman died in 1966 at the age of 74.

Tom Gentleman’s relationship with the GSA continued into 21st century. Two of his works were featured in The Flower and the Green Leaf: Glasgow School of Art in the Early Twentieth Century, an exhibition which was held to mark the centenary of the completion of the Mackintosh Building in 2009: an oil on canvas painting, Bullfight in Madrid (1921) which related to his Haldane Travelling Scholarship, and Horses being entrained on to horse boxes in WWI, a pencil drawing highlighted with watercolour wash.

“Both my parents studied at The Glasgow School of Art which had a great influence on them,” says his son Hugh Gentleman. Hugh Gentleman, who is now 80, has kindly provided the GSA with photographs and information about his father who is among the people named on the Roll of Honour. “It’s lovely to know that the GSA is researching information on the Roll of Honour so that future generations can know more about the people whose service to their country is marked on the memorial,” he adds.

Women’s war effort marked on the Roll of Honour

Although the vast majority of the names on the GSA’s Roll of Honour are men it does commemorate the service of twelve women, most of whom were Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses deployed by the British Red Cross.

“Their inclusion in the Roll of Honour, which was commissioned at a pivotal time in the history of women’s suffrage, reflects a considerable shift in attitudes towards feminised labour,” says Maja Shand, who is leading the research project for the GSA. “After a bit of digging into the histories of the twelve women we have unearthed some compelling stories of women who waged another kind of war: a war against conservatism, against the prevailing attitudes of the day, against expectations – against all odds.”

“There were many extraordinary women in this period, many of whom have faded into obscurity. Some, however, have left a paper trail that is enabling us to piece together their stories, stories which demand to be told,” she adds.

 Help the GSA to find out more about the names recorded on the memorial

The WWI Roll of Honour is fully digitised, and over time the GSA hopes to build it into a rich archive of the students, staff and alumni who served their country in WWI both in the trenches and at home.  To see all the names of the staff and students on the Roll of Honour visit http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=digitallibrary/digitalcontent&id=2340.

If one of your ancestors is amongst those listed the GSA would love to hear from you.

The WWI Roll of Honour research is being supported by The Scottish Council on Archives’ HLF Skills for the Future Project: ‘Opening up Scotland’s Archives’.


Further press information

Lesley Booth 
0779 941 4474 

Notes for Editors

The Roll of Honour was commissioned by The Glasgow School of Art in the 1920s. It was designed and created by a former student, Dorothy Doddrell, and takes the form of an illuminated parchment in paint and gold leaf set within a substantial copper and wood framed triptych with one large, central panel and two smaller side panels. 

Historically located in the ground floor of the west wing of The Mackintosh Building the Roll of Honour survived the fire fully intact and underwent planned conservation in 2014 with the support of a grant from the Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund. The work on the Roll of Honour was undertaken by experts in paper and metalwork conservation at Scottish Conservation Studios

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Phoenix Bursary Exhibition opens at The Glasgow School of Art

14 months on from the fire that robbed them of a Degree Show, 90 of the artists unveil new work in a major group show.

  • Five floors of the Reid Building turned into a Fine Art gallery
  • First showing of work made during the Phoenix Bursary residencies
  • A number of Degree Show projects restaged
  • Many of the works on show available for purchase 

The Phoenix Bursary exhibition, which opens to the public on Friday 24 July, sees the GSA’s Reid Building transformed into an art gallery. The exhibition is the culmination of the Phoenix Bursary programme, a GSA initiative which was supported by a £750k grant from the Scottish Government. Through the programme the artists who were affected by the fire in the Mackintosh Building were offered up to 15 weeks studio time, a bursary and a materials budget to enable them to rebuild their practice and make new work. 100 of 102 graduates took up the opportunity with around half staying in Glasgow where they are able to benefit not only from on-going direct support from the GSA, but from the city’s wider visual arts community. Others were based in 21 of the GSA’s sister institutions in the UK, USA, mainland Europe, central and southern America and even as far away as Mongolia.

“In the aftermath of the fire we wanted to support the students who had lost out on Degree Show which is one of the most important moments in their development as artists,” says Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art.

“With the generous support of the Scottish Government and our sister institutions at home and abroad we were able to offer all the artists the opportunity to take time to develop their practice and make new work. The programme enabled them to spend time in some of the world’s leading art schools or visit places they might never have been able to. We are sure that the experience will have a formative influence on their practice going forward.

Today we are delighted to unveil this group exhibition of new work much of which is an outcome of the Phoenix Bursary residencies.”

Acting Minister for Children and Young People Fiona McLeod said:

“I feel privileged to be one of the first to see the Exhibition and I look forward to meeting with all of the artists, hearing how the bursary support has helped them, and seeing the work they have produced.

“The fire in the Mackintosh building was a deeply upsetting event for GSA, its students, staff and people both at home and abroad. The Scottish Government was delighted to be able to assist the students affected by it through the Phoenix Bursary programme.”

“The Phoenix Bursary programme has been an incredible opportunity for the artists,” says Sam de Santis a GSA Fine Art Photography graduate who has run the programme for the GSA. “It has helped them to recover from the traumatic experience of the fire and the disappointment at losing Degree Show which is a seminal moment for all art students. Equally importantly it has helped to smooth the difficult transition from full time study and professional practice.

“Being able to use the Reid Building for the exhibition has been hugely exciting,” adds Sukaina Kubba who curated the exhibition. “Its architect, Steven Holl, created a fully flexible building which can be turned to many academic and creative uses. This is the first time that the building as a whole has been used for a Fine Art exhibition and it has been a fascinating experience working with the structure of the different spaces.”

Work spanning the full range of media from painting and printmaking to video and sound works, photography, sculptural installation and performance is spread over five floors of the award-winning building with the artists making full use of the spaces including the signature “driven voids”.

Rae-Yen Song Pinnywinkis inspired by the story of Alesoun Balfour of Stenness

In one of the voids Rae-Yen Song has installed a huge disjointed finger. Part of Pinnywinkis, the work is inspired by the story of Alesoun Balfour of Stenness who in the late 16th century was implicated in a plot to murder the notorious Orkney Earl, Patrick Stewart. Arrested and tortured she refused to confess. Even the torture of her husband and son failed to extract a confession. It was only when her seven-year-old daughter was taken and her fingers crushed in the “piniwinkies”  - a thumbscrew - the Balfour capitulated and confessed to being a witch, a confession she renounced on the day of her execution.

In another of the voids Katy Hassall has installed oke aɪm hɪər – the outcome of a 3-month residency in Glasgow University’s Linguistics and Phonetics department. Four spectograms are draped across different levels of the void, each visually representing significant dialogues from the past year. At the base of the void, a timed electrical fan generates regular upward movements, embodying breath. In a number of performances opera singers will explore the resonance of the selected texts within the circular space of the void.

Part of Caitlin Merret King's installation that references Daniel Buren’s 
controversial installation at the Palais Royal
Isabella Widger's multi-media installation

Works on the ground floor range in scale from Caitlin Merrett King’s over- sized stuffed soft objects that reference Daniel Buren’s controversial installation at the Palais Royal in Paris to Richard Krantz’ the spotting scope to view a miniature 3D-print of the himself wearing a Superman costume. The model itself will be installed on the Director’s Office balcony on the Mackintosh Building. Amongst the other works in the in the ground floor Reid Gallery is Winnie Herbstein’s And so, in silence. Herbstein spent her Phoenix Bursary residency in Mexico. The video work was filmed outside the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Centro Histórico, Mexico City on 20 November 2014, a day when thousands took to the streets across the country to protest at the violent disappearance of the 43 student teachers. Tim Dalzell meanwhile presents a collection of objects through museum-like format in order to explore the infamous voice of AT&T’s ‘Rich’ and absurdly pay homage to the character.  Isabella Widger had the best of both worlds for her Phoenix Bursary residency spending part of it in New York and part in Glasgow. The works produced for the exhibition form an installation-like display of objects developed through the employment of various modes of production such as digital printing, laser cutting, wood turning, bronze casting, clay modeling and sewing. Frank McElhinney who recently won the Jill Todd Photographic Awardreturns to his Degree Show idea of making a wall drawing and invites the public to contribute to his new work which when complete will have over 2 million points of intersection.

Also on the ground floor Rachel Forrest shows photographs taken during her residency in Iceland. The images show glimpses of her time there as the country moved deeper into winter. Taken on 35mm film with her grandfather’s 1980s Canon SureShot, the images reflect the dramatic vastness of a white landscape, of a tourist-friendly map in an unforgiving wilderness, the geographical and emotional relief of an inhabited settlement and the desolate ice-covered roads gliding over a hostile environment.

A still from Lydia Levett's film shot at St Peter's, Cardross

The first floor studios have been turned into a gallery for sound and video works. Jane Beran shows Farbfilm Notizen (Colour Film Notes) that explores memory through projections of images of a private archive - slides from a photographic archive assembled by her grandfather between 1967 and 1989. The images document his view of East German society of the time. Caitlin Alexandera Robinson looks back at gender roles in mid-20th Century advertising. The audio, taken from original adverts, shows how the differences between genders were emphasised to the point that they were almost a parody of themselves. Through the video she seeks to question lightheartedly these lingering, yet damaging, cultural ideas of gender.  Lydia Levett shows a video piece exploring and questioning process and what it means to make work. Her piece is inspired by the first ever Geodesic Dome, which was made from venetian blinds by Buckminster Fuller. Despite hopes of utopia and reform, the project was a failure. The film was shot in St Peters Seminary, a project holding similar dreams to those of Fuller but likewise met a similar end.

Minnie Carver's triptych of paintings

Ascending the circuit of connection from the first to the second floor the viewer encounters a triptych of paintings by Minnie Carver created over the entirety of the 15 week bursary period, the piece is based on Minnie’s 2014 degree show exhibition which was entirely destroyed in the Mackintosh Building fire.

Sculptural installations by  Adam Quinn and Lin Chau in the Refectory

On the second floor in the mezzanine studios Deborah Lobban shows quilts with imagery inspired by two East Enders storylines, Rae-Yen Song shows another of her works inspired by the story of Alesoun Balfour in this gallery and Alexander Haukrogh Jensen has created an installation of quirky pieces including Steak Bagette and Lyttletrumpet. Meanwhile, in the refectory two large-scale but contrasting sculptural works dominate the space. Adam Quinn’s minimalist concrete installation sits alongside Lin Chau’s living sculpture of plants that will grow throughout the duration of the exhibition

Installations by Mark Wallis and Sean McManus

Some of the artists exhibiting on the fourth floor are revisiting work planned for Degree Show. Mark Wallis, who spent his Phoenix Bursary residency in Argentina, has made a new multi-media installation including a jacket of cigarette packets that had been part of his Degree Show presentation. Sean McManus’s Degree Show presentation featuring pieces from a 1940s traditional kitchen was in a studio in the west wing of the building, but remarkably survived mainly intact. He has recreated the piece for the Phoenix Bursary Exhibition with some elements of the work retaining the traces of the fire. Meanwhile among the other works in the space is an installation by Emma Zetterstrom who has created a large-scale “Newton’s Balls” executive toy from Scots Pine needles the scent of which permeates the air.

The Phoenix Bursary Exhibition will run in the Reid Building from 
Friday 24 July – Sunday 2 August 2015: 
Mon-Thur 10am – 9pm; 
Fri 10am – 7pm; 
Sat-Sun 10am – 5pm. 
Last entry 30 minutes before closing. Entry Free.

Many of the works on show will be available for purchase.

A catalogue will also be available priced £10.


Further information: 
Lesley Booth, 
0779 941 4474 

Notes for Editors

Through the Phoenix Bursary programme each artist received up to 15 weeks studio time with a weekly stipend of £315 and up to £1,000 for materials together with some academic support.

Almost half of the artists elected to stay in Glasgow where they are able to benefit not only from on-going direct support from the GSA, but from the city’s wider visual arts community.

Artists receiving a Phoenix Bursary were generously supported by:

Art Institute Chicago, USA
Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway
California College of Art, San Francisco, USA
Concordia, Montreal, Canada
Emily Carr, Vancouver, Canada  
Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik, Iceland
Leeds College of Art, England
Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, Germany
Leith School of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
Manchester School of Art, England
Massachsetts College of Art and Design, Boston, USA
Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture, Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway
Pratt Institute, New York, USA
Rhode Island School of Design, USA
SOMA Institute, Mexico City
University of the Arts Berlin, Germany
University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland
University of the Arts London (Camberwell college of Art), England
The University of Edinburgh, Scotland
The Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow
The Whisky Bond, Glasgow
Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

In addition artists went to Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

GSA Research Fellow, Mairi MacKenzie, creates second Fashion Cultures for 2015 Merchant City Festival

Following the success of the first programme at the 2014 Merchant City Festival, Mairi MacKenzie, a Research Fellow in the Fashion and Textiles department at The Glasgow School of Art, is to present a second Fashion Cultures at the 2015 festival. Running from 24 July - 2 August, Fashion Cultures 2015 will explore the tools of adornment: perfume, hair and make-up.

Popular workshops at Jigsaw with staff from The Glasgow School of Art return in Fashion Cultures 2015
Image courtesy of Callum Rice

A leading fashion historian, writer and curator, MacKenzie’s research seeks to understand not just what was worn and by whom, but why it was worn and what the relationship is between the clothes that we wear and our culture. Her Fashion Cultures initiative takes her research out into the public realm through programmes of talks, film screenings, events, exhibitions, workshops and interventions.

The wide ranging programme for Fashion Cultures 2015 includes a pop-up shop by New York skin care legends, Kiehl’s; a hair cut event inspired by the limited menu of hairstyles found in the markets of North Korea, India, Vietnam and Thailand with Leigh Ferguson & Sophie Macpherson; talks on the politics of photographic enhancements within advertising (Fiona Jardine), the role of lipstick in the midst of political turmoil (Jennifer McCarey),  a cultural history of hair fashion throughout the 20th and 21st centuries (Caroline Cox); and a smell/taste event with Comme des Garçons Parfums which will see specially commissioned perfume and cocktail pairings, designed to replicate, complement and enhance the vivid scent profile of these incredible fragrances. 

The 2015 programme also includes a return of the hugely popular workshops at Jigsaw with staff from The Glasgow School of Art, and a reading by Mairi from her forthcoming publication, Perfume Was My Hobby about her time as a teenage perfume sales girl in Stranraer.

Programme overview below. For full details visit: www.fashioncultures.org

For further details of the Fashion and Textiles department at The Glasgow School of Art visit



The Glasgow School of Art at Jigsaw Art and Design Workshops

For the duration of Fashion Cultures, Glasgow School of Art will be conducting art and design workshops within the glorious surroundings of Jigsaw, Ingram St. Formerly the Savings Bank of Glasgow, this building is a magnificent and inspiring setting within which to explore your creativity. Session will be open to everyone from age 12 upwards. See www.fashioncultures.org for session times and booking info

Exhibition and Live Event: HAIR CUT FASHION Leigh Ferguson & Sophie MacPherson

Inspired by the limited menu of hairstyles found in the hairdressing stalls in the markets of North Korea, India, Vietnam and Thailand Sophie Macpherson and Leigh Ferguson will recreate the concept which sees customers choosing a style from one of a few bad pictures on the wall. No consultation, no negotiation, no substitutions – just pick the cut, get it done and go. The “menu” will be created by Sophie Macpherson with cuts by Leigh Ferguson.

Talk: Soft Focus, Fiona Jardine 

From Vaseline on the lens to Photoshop, in association with Panel, Fiona Jardine, Sophie Dyer and Maeve Redmond, this event will examine the politics of photographic enhancements within advertising from the 1950s to the present day. 
In association with the Persistence of Type exhibition

TALK - Jennifer McCarey

In an introductory event to the THE BEAUTY PROJECT film screenings Jennifer McCarey will muse upon the question “Finding yourself in the mist of political turmoil and protest, what is the role of lipstick?”

Daily Film Screenings: The Beauty Project by Kathryn Ferguson

The Beauty Project is a series of short films, made in association with Selfridges which exploring the rich theme of modern beauty through the prisms of ageing, natural Afro hair, regional glamour, class and gender, Kathryn Ferguson will introduce her exclusive

Pop-Up Shop: Kiehl's

Visit the pop-up shop to sample and purchase Kiehl’s wonderful formulations; receive a complimentary healthy skin check and consultation; and discuss your beauty routine with one of Kiehl’s skincare experts.

THURSDAY 30 JULY Sessions at 12.30pm, 2pm and 4.30pm: THE BRIGGAIT, 141 BRIDGEGATE, GLASGOW G1 5HZ
Masterclass: How to achieve flawless eye make-up Illamasqua School of Make-Up 

Illamasqua School of Make-Up Art is embarking on its debut road trip to Glasgow! Learn the secrets of the professionals by meeting Nilofar Mussa, Senior Educator at the Illamasqua School of Make-up Art who will be visiting to demonstrate key make-up techniques and how to achieve flawless eye make-up.

Talk: Teasing it out: A Cultural History of Hair and Fashion Caroline Cox

Hair may be mere matter growing naturally from our bodies, yet we believe its shaping can shift our destinies – let’s face it, a poor haircut can blight the next six months. Whether curled, dyed, shaved or straightened, hair remains a potent force and there are many definitive moments in its history. Caroline Cox will trace the chronology of hair fashion throughout the 20th and 21st centuries placing the featured cuts, colours and techniques in their cultural context.

Exhibition and Live Event: HAIR CUT FASHION Leigh Ferguson & Sophie MacPherson /

Inspired by the limited menu of hairstyles found in the hairdressing stalls in the markets of North Korea, India, Vietnam and Thailand Sophie Macpherson and Leigh Ferguson will recreate the concept which sees customers choosing a style from one of a few bad pictures on the wall. No consultation, no negotiation, no substitutions – just pick the cut, get it done and go. The “menu” will be created by Sophie Macpherson with cuts by Leigh Ferguson.


Explore the wonderful world of Comme Des Garçons Parfums, via specially commissioned food and cocktail pairings, designed to replicate, complement and enhance the vivid scent profile of these incredible fragrances. 
Open to over 18s only / Places are strictly limited. To reserve a place and enquire about prices please email m.mackenzie@gsa.ac.uk

Notes for Editors

Mairi Mackenzie
The subject of Mairi’s most recent research project was Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo Tailor. At one time a designer of highly embellished g-strings for New York burlesque artists, Nudie moved to Hollywood in 1947 and developed a look that has become visual shorthand for a particular strain of country music style, that of the ‘rhinestone cowboy’. His fantastical, intricately embroidered and heavily ornamented outfits were worn by almost every country musician of note between the late 1940s and the early 1980s, as well as those from the worlds of film, rodeo and rock & roll. This research was centred upon a collection of Nudie clothing owned by the Belgian singer-songwriter, actor and theme park owner, Bobbejaan Schoepen and culminated in an exhibition of Nudie’s designs at the Mode Museum in Antwerp and a book entitled, Dream Suits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn (Lannoo 2011). Her research in this field continues as she investigates Nudie’s cultural legacy, in particular the influence his designs and those who wore them have upon contemporary designers, musicians and artists. She is also author of Isms: Understanding Fashion (A & C Black 2009).

Mairi is a visiting lecturer at Glasgow University and was lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. She completed her undergraduate degree in History at Glasgow University in 1995 and then attended Brighton University to pursue a Master’s degree in Design History and Material Culture. Before becoming a fashion historian Mairi worked within various fields including time spent within the buying department of Oddbins Wine Merchants, as manager of a Fine Art gallery in London and then as a fashion industry professional working as assistant to the designer Shirin Guild.

Merchant City Festival 2015
The 20115 Merchant City Festival will run from 25 July – 2 August.

Visit: http://www.merchantcityfestival.com