The Glasgow School of Art - Susannah Waters


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Flash presentation at a workshop for 'Scotland's National Collections and the Digital Humanities,' a knowledge-exchange project hosted at the University of Edinburgh. 14 Feb. 2014.

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  • The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is a small specialist institution. We currently have about 1900 students studying across the disciplines of art, design and architecture.GSA was established about 170 years ago (in 1845 ) as a Government School of Design.
  • The Library’s special collections include:•Rare Books Collection – comprising 1,330 valuable and unique books dating to the 16th and 17th centuries•Foundation Collection – comprising c.600 valuable books purchased in the 19th century during the formative years of the School, and donations from notable individuals connected to the School•Glasgow Style Collection - including rare bindings, illustrations and bookplates by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Jessie M. King, Katharine Cameron, Talwin Morris and Frances Macdonald McNair•Stoddard Design Library – comprising 630 continental design folios from eminent carpet manufacturers James Templeton of Glasgow and A. F. Stoddard of Elderslie, purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 2009.The current extent of the combined special collections is 2,560 items
  • Student register and ephemeraNDS/GB/62 – Machine Embroidered sample by Robert Stewart 1950MC-F 14/D - Chair: Designed for 120 Mains Street, Glasgow and also for the Luncheon Room, Argyle Street Tea Rooms, Glasgow 1897.The School's Archives and Collectionshold its institutional records - these are fairly comprehensive up until the late 1980s / early 1990s. They include mainly paper records such as prospectuses, annual reports, correspondence files, minute books and promotional material, along with photographic material.The A&C also hold a number of deposited collections and items relating to former staff and students and to the teaching practices at the School, these include examples of work - sketches, notebooks, architectural drawings as well as photographs, personal correspondence, diaries, and a range of objects including textiles, metalwork, sculpture and furniture.
  • This AHRC funded project explored the drawings in a little-known sketchbook by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) housed in Glasgow School of Art's Archives and Collections Centre. The sketchbook was created by Mackintosh during a scholarship tour of Italy in 1891. In themselves, the 93 pages of drawings of buildings and details represent an excellent example of the output of an architectural student on a 'Grand Tour' at the end of the nineteenth century. However, Mackintosh's reputation and his acknowledged skills as a draughtsman elevate the sketchbook to a work of international significance.The Northern Italian Sketchbook project created a website allowing users to search and/or browse through Mackintosh's sketchbook drawings. The information included on the site represents the culmination of three years of research to accurately identify and record, for the first time, the sources for these drawings. Users are able to compare Mackintosh's sketches with photographs of the sources, some well-known, others less so, as they appear on the ground today. Specially-written descriptions accompany each image and provide the valuable context that the sketchbook inevitably lacks. Users are encouraged to participate in furthering this research by identifying the small number of Mackintosh's as yet untraced sources, thereby providing a comprehensive account of his Northern Italian tour.
  • In 2009 the GSA secured national Recognition status for its Mackintosh Collection in a scheme administered by Museums Galleries Scotland.As a Recognised Collection, GSA was able to successfully apply for a £36,988 grant to conserve and digitize an important four volumes of work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries dating from the mid1890s.Known simply as the GSA Magazine these volumes continue to provide important source material for researchers and individual volumes have been loaned to a number of major exhibitions in the UK and overseas. An accompanying website has been created that allows for the GSA Magazine to be viewed in its entirety, thereby increasing accessibility whilst reducing the need for the original volumes to be handled.
  • Project took place in 2011.Total number of items digitized: 31 books (covering a wide range of topics from architecture to painting and printmaking, textile scrapbooks, anatomy treatises, etc)Factors for digitizing:Had to be out of copyrightSize to fit in digitisation machineEqually spread across all the disciplines taught in the school as much as possibleRepresentative of the collectionuniquenessTotal number of downloads: 9489 (averages at 100 downloads per book per year)Whereas in session 2011-2012, physical items from special collections were consulted on 73 occasions in the library
  • The Sketchbook can be searched by location, building type or architectural key words.The Magazine can be searched by artist, but also by material or theme.
  • The School has a history of collecting publications and objects to support its teaching. Although this quote really refers to objects more than archives or records. I think in a visual arts environment it is also of relevance to archives and library materials – which it could be argued are seen by many of our students as objects first and foremost and carriers of information secondary.
  • Other results demonstrated the continued importance of browsing for the art and design student, and need to serendipitously stumble across useful images or resources.This confirms Frank’s research from the last 1990s.Many participants noted the importance of unknown-item searching within their research practice, and how poorly traditional databases systems serve these kinds of search
  • New ACC online catalogue due to be launched later in 2014Importance of including as many images as possible, using appropriate metadata, allowing users to browse and also undertake advanced searches
  • The Glasgow School of Art - Susannah Waters

    1. 1. The Glasgow School of Art
    2. 2. Our holdings...
    3. 3.
    4. 4.
    5. 5. ofart
    6. 6. 'Learning from objects has been, and remains, the distinctive feature of many academic disciplines including ... Art and design' Catherine Speight Museums and Design Education Looking to Learn, Learning to See edited by B. Cook, R. Reynolds & C Speight (2010)
    7. 7. Online Catalogue for Archives and Collections
    8. 8. Thank you! Delphine Dallison Susannah Waters