Sunday, June 22, 2008

pictures on guardian website

Two images from ceramics featured on the Guardian website on 18th June, one from Louise De Cecco and one from ester Svensson. Not bad for a small department that is being shut down! You can see it here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BBC Radio Scotland on Ceramics

Wednesday, 14th May, the Radio Cafe show on BBC Radio Scotland are talking about ceramics: There will be an interview with ceramist Philomena Pretsell, followed by a discussion on what impact the closure of the GSA ceramics degree courses will have on Scotland's crafts.
It's on at 13.15-14.00.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Interview with Rosy Greenlees (Director of Crafts Council) by Claudia Clare

There is a very interesting couple of entries on Claudia Clare's blog here, about an interview she had with Rosy Greenlees, the Director of the Crafts Council. It's definitely worth a read!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Since i last wrote, i've heard that the ECA Glass department is, in fact not closing. Ring any bells? Like GSA, they are simply not going to recruit any more students, from now on. However, since they recruit directly into 2nd year, this means there will be only 2 more years of undergraduate students there.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Closure of Edinburgh College of Art's Glass

We just heard the sad news yesterday that the Edinburgh College of Art is closing their Glass department. It is well-known and successful, and again the only one in Scotland, and i was shocked to hear about it. I don't have many more details right now, but will try to find out more.

The future of craft, or materials & skills based practice, in Scotland (and also the UK) is looking bleak, with the closure of the only remaining ceramics and glass courses. It makes me very sad, and worried, that both GSA and ECA are proving to be so short-sighted, closed-minded and conformist. With opportunities to study at degree level no longer available, it will have to be up to us, as makers, to ensure our disciplines are kept alive and moving forwards.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Board of Governors Meeting, April 14th

The Board of Governors will be meeting on April 14th.
This, I understand, is usually more of a rubber-stamping affair than a forum for discussion and decision-making, since it is not the Governors' job to run the school. But they do want to see that the Executive are running the school properly & smoothly.
The closure of the ceramics degree has upset a lot of people -not only students or staff from the department- and raised grave concerns about decision-making processes within the school.
This is the Governors' business.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Today at noon Irene McAra McWilliam came to the studio to announce the decision made at yesterday's Academic Council meeting, joined by Archie McAll and Colin McKean (SRC president).

The recommendation has been accepted, with immediate implementation. This was the first point.

The second point (according to my hastily scribbled notes) was that Irene would be responsible for ensuring that adequate support would be in place for all of the current cohort of students. This would include keeping the workshop the same as it is today, (with the same access both for ceramics students and students from other departments), adequate staff, the same assessment procedure, and also to keep the SSR -staff/student ratio- the same (does this mean that the current first year will have 1/4 full-time tutor, 1/4 part-time tutor, and 1/4 technician???)

The third point, incredibly, underlined that "the decision had gone through correct procedure".

The fourth and final point was about the Future - it is now up to the Ceramics department's staff and students, in dialog with Irene and Archie, to come up with a viable future for Ceramics within the School. (This future cannot, apparently, ever include a specialist undergraduate course).

I do not believe that this decision was taken lightly. The amount of people that have been upset and raised objections, on all levels, cannot have been ignored. I must therefore conclude that there is something bigger here that we have not been told about.

It's a sad day for Ceramics, for Ceramists. We are being told we are obsolete.

It is up to us to show that this is not the case.