Anna – University of Glasgow, Scotland
Short-Term Program: ‘Scottish Urban Landscapes in Film and Glass’
Bachelor of Design (Architecture)
While Brisbane shivered this winter I was over in sunny Britain studying Scottish Urban Landscape in Film and Glass at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). This intense one-week course combined research with technical experience in the renowned
photography and glass workshops at the GSA.
Through my research I discovered that Glasgow has been settled since prehistoric times and rapidly expanded during the 16th century when traders and craftspeople converged in the city. Glasgow still maintains that legacy of quality of craftsmanship,
with the GSA being an exemplar of world-class art education.
On day one and two I learnt 35mm photography. With a camera provided by the university I roamed the gritty streets of Glasgow capturing moments of urbanity in one of the most beautiful and diverse cities I have ever experienced. Developing my
film in the dark rooms was both technically and creatively challenging. There is a lot of scope for creative expression after the film is shot. In making my prints from my negatives I experimented with exposure and filter to get the results I was after.
For days three to five we moved into the glass studios to learn glass art. The photographs I developed on my first two days informed the design of my bespoke stained glass panel. In this studio I learnt how to design my panel, cut the glass,
solder the lead, apply the putty between the lead and glass and paint the glass.
On the last day all the international students were invited to a gathering were we met other students and saw the work people had produced. All the staff at GSA were really friendly and approachable. Though it’s part of huge university the vibe
at the GSA is more like a boutique studio run by artists who value collaboration and push the creative boundaries.
Before I took this course, I’ll admit Glasgow was never on my list of places to see. I had been to Edinburgh and the Scottish highlands and considered Scotland ticked off my travel list. Big mistake – Glasgow is brilliant! If you’re after culture it’s home
to fine institutions like the Scottish Ballet, if you want a social atmosphere head to the West End and explore the bars. If you want history there are loads of museums and if fancy gardens the Glasgow Botanic Gardens can take a whole day to
explore. It doesn’t get dark till after 10pm either, so you can take your time. One of my favourite nights out was seeing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in the Botanic Gardens for five pounds.
I stayed at the GSA accommodation where I had my own ensuite room. It was modern and clean with a shared kitchen with all the facilities needed to cook meals. With so many places to eat out I only really used the kitchen for breakfasts but if I’d been there for longer I would have been cooking up a storm. Washing machines were also available for laundry, it was five minutes walk from the studios and staffed until 7pm every day. Price of living is similar to Australia. For lunch I usually went to a convenience store and got a sandwich or salad for about $5 AUD. Once I was in Glasgow I walked everywhere, or took a black cab if it was late at night. Getting to Glasgow from London or Edinburgh is easiest by rail and prices are
lower if you book online in advance.
My experience at GSA differed from my experience at QUT in that GSA was all studio based. Other than that it was similar – we learnt the techniques, studied the context and worked from a design brief under the guidance of our tutors.
If I could offer advice to anyone considering taking this course is to go with an open mind and willingness to push yourself creatively. I’d also recommend you give yourself a few days either side of your course to explore the city and meet some
locals. I extended my trip to three weeks to visit London and Copenhagen. It was great to have that down time to balance the trip with work and play. My only complaint about this course was that it wasn’t long enough!