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Glasgow School of Art launches degree show just three weeks after fire

Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has gone ahead in showcasing students' work just three weeks after many projects were destroyed in a major fire in the Mackintosh building.

Kevin Moody, 28, showcasing a special sensor to reduce the dangers faced by firefighters during the Glasgow School of Art degree show
Kevin Moody, 28, showcasing a special sensor to reduce the dangers faced by firefighters during the Glasgow School of Art degree show

The GSA launched its 2014 degree show against what is said at one point seemed "insurmountable odds".

The exhibition features the work of more than 500 students of architecture, design and fine art.

Firefighters managed to salvage about 70% of the contents of the Mackintosh building following a fire last month.

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Students were putting the final touches to their end-of-year projects when a blaze broke out in the basement on May 23.

Fine art students - whose work was worst-affected by the fire - have each provided an image for a special exhibition of digital prints at the nearby McLellan Galleries.

They are also being compiled into a book which will be sold to raise money for those who lost work in the fire.

GSA director Professor Tom Inns said ahead of the launch: "It has been a particularly challenging time for our fine art students and this exhibition ensures that although they are unable to stage a degree show at this time, they are able to join with their fellow students across the campus in our annual showcase of creativity and innovation."

The Architecture and Design show is taking place in the new Reid Building and the city's Glue Factory will host the Master of Fine Art show.

Product design student Kevin Moody, 28, is showcasing a special sensor to reduce the dangers faced by firefighters.

Salamander is attached to crews' helmets and monitors the temperature and proximity of objects while displaying it within their eye line.

Mr Moody, from Glasgow, developed the device after spending time at nearby Cowcaddens fire station and said the project had an added resonance since the Mackintosh fire.

The student said: "While firefighters have very good protective equipment, it gets to the point where they are so insulated from their environment that they can't determine the temperature of their surroundings.

"What my design does is give them information about their environment while keeping their hands free. The project began in September last year; obviously with the fire it has a certain resonance now.

"I think to cancel the Degree Show would have been wrong. To go ahead, it shows that, although we've had a setback, everyone is still working hard and we're not going to let that affect our work."

Mr Moody is based in the Reid Building but said the Mackintosh fire had affected all students "emotionally".

Other design projects on display include underwear for mastectomy patients, child-safe bottle caps and an adjustable mattress for infants.

Prof Inns said: "This is a particularly exciting occasion for our Design School graduates who are showing work for the first time in the award-winning Reid Building.

"Their showcase of creativity ranges from exquisite jewellery and textiles, through cutting-edge illustration and graphics to innovations for health, education and the emergency services."

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