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GSA Graduate Showcase 2021 demonstrates role of creativity in tackling major issues facing the world today - FAD Magazine

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GSA Graduate Showcase 2021 demonstrates role of creativity in tackling major issues facing the world today

Students at The Glasgow School of Art have demonstrated the importance of bringing creativity and innovation to the most pressing issues facing society in Graduate Showcase 2021 which is now live at www.gsashowcase.net . Tackling issues ranging from the need for a more sustainable way of living, to gender, racism, health and well-being, and post-Covid redevelopment, over 500 students from the GSA’s five Schools – Architecture, Design, Fine Art, Innovation and Simulation & Visualisation – have unveiled work on the specially-created digital platform. As graduates they will also be able to add to their profiles on the showcase for 12 months offering the opportunity to present their developing professional practice.

Ella Josephine Campbell, Wood Sprite, pine sprite, 2021

Across the showcase key themes have emerged whether in textile design, fine art, architecture, design or innovation. In the build-up to the rescheduled COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the theme of Climate Emergency and Sustainability is at the forefront of many graduates’ work. Product Design graduate Calum Ferguson’s Athurachadh is a response to the current difficulties seen by young people and new entrants to crofting amidst the culmination of events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the island’s housing crisis and the effects of the climate crisis. Fine Art Photography graduate Ella Josephine Campbell’s stunning works at the intersection of puppetry and visual art explore our close relationship with nature.  

Race and De-colonisation is central to the work of graduates in various disciplines including School of Fine Art graduate Josie KO, whose work playfully presents narratives which speak towards the Black British experience in a white dominated environment. Her colourful sculptures reimagine what statues and monuments in Britain could be. Textile Design graduate Kialy Tinhgang was also inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement which led them to research ways in which black people’s lives are still affected by racism, in less well-known ways than police brutality. Kialy came across electronic waste dumping, a form of climate colonialism where old phones, laptops, and industrial waste from the global north are illegally dumped in countries in the global south – increasingly in Ghana. The resultant project Useless Machines visualise these pieces of set design or standalone props, using them in a photoshoot and video in the style of a 1970s/80s technology infomercial, in a reference to our current overconsumption of technology.

Ivy Mcgoldrick, Trans Sensory Overload, 2021

Covid and tomorrow’s world is another key theme as Mackintosh School of Architecture graduate Fredrik Frendin’s project The Half Stepped House. The inhabitants can choose whether they want a certain space for domestic or labor purposes, and how much of the living space they want to divide, with the methods they themselves prefer. From trans joy to Black feminism; gender fluidity to media representation – these works explore the intersecting aspects, questions and challenges of Gender and Representation today. Works include textile design graduate Ivy McGoldrick’s Trans Sensory Overload exploring two parts of Trans Femme Identity. Part 1 looks at how trans bodies are objectified like toys/inanimate objects, to be used and disposed of and part 2 explores neurodiversity, specifically ADHD within the trans community. In addition, Communication Design graduate Saskia Wood’s The Female Imprint puts the unsung women in Italian design firmly in the spotlight.

Almost 100 works in the showcase have the theme Health and Wellbeing at their core. Personal experience has influenced many students in their practice. Growing up Product Design Engineering graduate Emma Williamson was a big part of her Grandmother’s journey with dementia, from diagnosis to the later stages. She has used this personal experience and knowledge to develop GuidePod®  a product that could hopefully improve life for people with dementia and their carers. Interior Design graduate, Kirsty Gaunt has addressed a major issue facing Scotland in particular in her design for a Safe Consumption and Addiction Support Centre. She has designed an integrated centre which not only helps people who are currently using drugs, but also supports people who are in recovery. 

Zuzanna Konieczna, Cancer Empathy Network

The infinite variations of the human brain and differences in sociability, learning, attention and mood are considered and represented through the theme of Neurodiversity and Visibility, in work made by and/or for people with neurological differences such as autism and ADHD. This includes Hiding in Plain Sight by Product Design Graduate Zuzanna Agata Konieczna, a website and poster campaign to help people, who are potentially on the spectrum, learn more about autism, how to get diagnosed, see real-life stories and connect with other people on the spectrum.

The above examples are just a handful of the 500+ graduates showcasing their work as part of GSA Showcase 2021. As well as the graduate work being organised by school and across themes the full site is searchable allowing visitors to discover works by keywords, disciplines and areas of interest. Full graduate profiles include website and social links for every artist featured

“Our students have created an impressive body of work which is unveiled to a global audience today on our Graduate Showcase 2021, the Showcase illustrates powerfully the imagination and inventiveness for which GSA students are renowned and enables people to see how different disciplines are approaching the shared concerns of today’s creative thinkers”

“As well as engaging with graduating students’ work on the showcase I also invite people to join us over the next 12 days for a wide range of discussions and events devised by our staff and students and featuring some very special guests.”

says Professor Penny Macbeth, Director of The Glasgow School of Art. 

GSA Showcase  – 20th June 2021 (and online until June 2022)
Available to view and explore online at www.gsashowcase.net
Full events programme now live at www.gsashowcase.net/events 


The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s leading independent university-level institutions for the visual creative disciplines. Our studio-based, specialist, practice-led teaching, learning and research draw talented individuals with a shared passion for visual culture and creative production from all over the world. In 2019 GSA was placed 8th in the QS World Rankings for Art and Design, a position it retained in 2020 and 2021.

Originally founded in 1845 as one of the first Government Schools of Design, the School’s history can be traced back to 1753 and the establishment of the Foulis Academy delivering a European-style art education. Today there are approximately 500 staff and 2400 students studying across architecture, design, digital, fine art and innovation in our campuses in Glasgow, Altyre (in the Scottish highlands) and Singapore and a thriving Open Studio programme delivering non-degree provision to over 1500 students annually.

GSA alumni include world-leading architects and designers, and six Turner Prize winners.

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