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GSA students launch a class-action lawsuit to save their education

August 19 2021

GSA students launch a class-action lawsuit to save their education

A group of architecture and design students have enlisted law firm Harper MacLeod to take legal action against the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) for failing to provide adequate tuition during the pandemic - after the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman rejected the complaint on all points.

The group of around 35 students have banded together as Art School Racket to take their case to court after growing frustrated at seeing their education suffer from remote learning and the cancellation of degree shows in favour of an online showcase.

Alleging 'underprovided education' the group have called out a lack of communication with tutors since being sent home during the first UK lockdown in March 2020, freezing students out of studio and workshop access necessary for facilities such as printmaking.

In their complaint, the group said: "We had no contact from our tutors for 10 weeks whilst other universities, like the University of Glasgow, were tutoring students online within a few weeks. GSA management instructed tutors not to speak to us during this time."

To support their legal action the group have launched a crowdfunding campaign backed by architect and former tutor Alan Dunlop, who has donated two drawings to help fund the fight. Dunlop said: "Thirty years in teaching has taught me that art like architecture cannot be taught remotely or on Zoom. You need studio access, direct tutor contact and the support of your peers. So, I'll be donating two original drawings from my sketchbooks, the two to be chosen by the students, in support of their crowdfunding appeal and their action."

The malaise at the institution comes amid ongoing fallout from a second major blaze in June 2018 which devastated the Mackintosh building. 


George Mucas
#1 Posted by George Mucas on 19 Aug 2021 at 14:14 PM
I'll start the bidding off at 27p. Or 49p if both sketchbooks come as a pair.
#2 Posted by natalie on 19 Aug 2021 at 14:27 PM
A touch of excess phlegm there George, time to get it off your chest. This is a positive gesture and we students at the school involved very much welcome the support. The drawings are excellent.
#3 Posted by clarification on 20 Aug 2021 at 11:26 AM
Hello - this article is lifted off dezeen but misses out many of the pertinent details without any proper citation.

A read of this article in its entirety will also provide you with a link to the students crowdfunding page -

This also notes that the 35 students are 'a group of postgraduate students from GSA, studying on 1-year Masters courses in Art and Design disciplines such as Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Printmaking, Fashion and Product Design'.

Furthermore as far as I am aware Alan Dunlop has never been a member of permanent teaching staff at the Mackintosh - although I am more than happy to be corrected. Always nice to hear from him however and see one of his lovely drawings - it has been a while.
Neil C
#4 Posted by Neil C on 20 Aug 2021 at 11:58 AM
Thank you for the clarification, clarification but from friends I think architecture is also effected. I read this comment on the Architect Journal this morning which seems to back this up : "I would like to express my support for students of the Glasgow School of Art whose appalling problems are featured in The Architects Journal. My grandson has just finished his Part 1 at the GSA Mackintosh School of Architecture where studios were closed and tutorial input was very limited plus no workshop access. This is a sad outcome after fire and Covid disasters and seems to be the collapse of a once great school of art and architecture. At the very least students deserve a refund of some fees and courses should now be offered with a continuing need to provide proper facilities and top quality teaching"
#5 Posted by natalie on 20 Aug 2021 at 12:32 PM
#3 Yes it is the 35 postgraduate students that are taking the action but all students throughout the art school, from first year to overseas students that are not having their complaints heard, are being fobbed off and have given us their support.
Neil C
#6 Posted by Neil C on 20 Aug 2021 at 12:47 PM
"as far as I am aware Alan Dunlop has never been a member of permanent teaching staff at the Mackintosh" seems remiss #3 ?
Sick of the Moaning
#7 Posted by Sick of the Moaning on 20 Aug 2021 at 15:32 PM
There is only one thing worse than architects, and that's architecture students.

Spoken as an architect.
Mack grad 2005
#8 Posted by Mack grad 2005 on 23 Aug 2021 at 21:05 PM
Neil C that is very strange I would have thought Professor Dunlop would be first one the list. I had heard he was offered. It may be his comments " Mackintosh has left the building" on the first and second fires and this donation offer. It it indeed remiss he appears to have a lot to offer otherwise.
Neil C
#9 Posted by Neil C on 24 Aug 2021 at 09:49 AM
Strathclyde MArch 2012 myself. Does seem weird. A few projects less than stellar, Glasgow harbour and spec office on the corner of west regent street but the school in Dumbreck is world class.
#10 Posted by natalie on 25 Aug 2021 at 11:21 AM
Professor Dunlop's original drawings have now been independently valued by a renowned art gallery at least £500 each. Bidding likely to start at £350.

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