On 10th October 2011 I gave a talk to the current students of my former university course, Visual Communication at The Glasgow School of Art. The department has just moved to a temporary new location at SkyPark in Finnieston whilst the first phase of the new art school transformation goes underway. It was great to meet such enthusiasm from everyone, despite the massive upheaval, and also a relief to see that most departments of the Design school are still in close proximity (Textiles and Jewellery are both also now at SkyPark) which goes some way to maintaining one of the most memorable features of GSA for me - its sense of community. Also no mean feat to move an entire letterpress studio across town, which even involved the knocking of enormous holes in the sides of buildings, so a huge amount of respect from me to everyone involved in making that happen!
Despite my initial trepidations about the potentially 'corporate' nature of the SkyPark complex, I came away feeling excited. There was a palpable buzz about the place, which to me actually felt more like a blank canvas than a faceless shell (as long as someone can persuade the SkyPark bosses to drop the 'no pictures on the corridor walls unless in frames' rule - how utterly ludicrous), and an underlying sense that this really is the beginning of something new and different. In the face of adversity, the whole thing seems to have brought the department closer together. Everybody really cares about this course, is very proud of what it has achieved and is keen to make sure these changes don't just preserve this superb reputation, but are a continuation of it, if not an improvement. I'm really looking forward to finding out how all of this may manifest itself in the work that comes out of the course over the next few years. I bet the students can't wait to get creative all over those fresh white walls...!