New Highlands campus for Glasgow School of Art

Blairs Steading on the Altyre Estate near Forres is to be redeveloped into a new campus for Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in a £2.5 million project supported by £750,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and £500,000 from Historic Environment Scotland.

The balance of the project will be funded by the Altyre Estate.

The Creative Campus, Highlands and Islands, is a further development of an on-going relationship between HIE and the GSA.

The Steading comprises a group of Category A listed Italianate buildings, constructed in the 1830s, which have been unused for many years.

The three largest buildings are being transformed into a 10,000 square feet facility providing studio and exhibition space as well as areas for teaching, lecturing and lab work.

GSA and HIE already deliver programmes through their Creative Futures Partnership.

“Our Creative Campus, Highlands and Islands is a vital part of the GSA’s national and international presence, complementing our main campus at Garnethill in Glasgow and our Singapore campus in partnership with Singapore Institute of Technology,” said Professor Tom Inns, Director of Glasgow School of Art.

“The development of our presence in Forres, and more broadly in the Highlands and Islands, is integral to helping us achieve our aspiration to be a global leader in studio-based learning and research, building on our position as a Global Top 20 art school.

“It will also support collaboration across the disciplines within the GSA as well as with other academic, third-sector and industry partners.”

David Oxley, HIE area manager in Moray, said: The Blairs Steadings development is bringing previously disused buildings back into productive use as a world class university research and teaching facility.

“It is ideal as a permanent location for The Glasgow School of Art’s growing presence in the region, and I am delighted this has been confirmed.

“The move forms part of a much larger initiative that will bring social and economic benefits, not just in Moray but across the Highlands and Islands.”

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Head of the School of Design at GSA and Director of Creative Campus, Highlands and Islands, said: “The Creative Campus at Altyre will enable the GSA to develop different ways of teaching and to undertake research of specific relevance to geographically dispersed communities.

“In collaboration with HIE we will bring the benefits of the GSA’s established partnerships with global businesses and international academic institutions to support the development of the creative capabilities of students, enterprises, communities and government in the region.”

Researchers, staff and students from the GSA’s Institute of Design Innovation (InDI) will move to Altyre from their current base at Horizon Scotland, Enterprise Park, Forres, later in 2016.

Glasgow School of Art recently announced a major development of its Garnethill campus with the acquisition of the former Stow College site.