A GLASGOW School of Art graduate is considering legal action against the world-renowned institution over claims of disability discrimination.

Sculptor Penny Anderson, who has multiple sclerosis, is on the verge of launching a civil action as she believes it is the only way to draw attention to the issues and doesn’t want other students with impaired mobility to go through what she has.

She embarked on her second masters in September 2019 as she knew she would have to adapt the way she worked as her condition became progressively worse and now walks with a aid of a stick.

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She says when she was due to arrive at the art school’s Stow campus, where her studio would be based for the masters course, she had been in contact with student support and wanted to tour the facility to be prepared for what could go wrong given her mobility.

GSA studios were based at the Stow campus

GSA studios were based at the Stow campus

Ms Anderson, who graduated with an MLitt in Sculpture said: “With Stow everyone moved in in a hurry and we were struggling for studios. It was the tutor of another pathway who recognised that I would need to be close to the door and it was the only positive thing that was recognised of someone reaching out and doing something.

“I had a list of things that I would need to help me, but when I got to the studio I was just abandoned. There was nowhere to get food, there wasn’t even a vending machine. The walk to Stow is a ridiculous hill and a route from there to the lecture theatre would take me 30 minutes, but for anyone else it would take five minutes.”

Glasgow School of Art was devastated by to fires in four years

Glasgow School of Art was devastated by to fires in four years

Ms Anderson was based at the School of Fine Art studios and workshops in Shamrock Street but also missed out on what is known as the Friday event which is a talk at Glasgow Film Theatre in Rose Street.

“I could never go to that because I could never walk back that far to Stow,” she added. “I have to make choices in the day of what I can expend my energy on, so I missed that until eventually I was told I could get a taxi but even then there there was no communication.”

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While Ms Anderson has now graduated and left the campus, she is still determined to highlight the issues to help students who might follow in her footsteps.

She added: “I don’t think student support is used to dealing with people who are mobility impaired, but I got through the first term even though in the first week of it I thought I can’t do this I am going to be completely on my own. We got through to lockdown, but not one person asked if I was going to be ok as we had to move our work out. I had to leave a lot of my things in the studio. Not one person contacted me from the March to the August 2020 to see how as I was doing as disabled person.

“There was disability support worker who were very good, but the one I worked with was furloughed during lockdown.

Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh building could be faithfully reinstated

Ms Anderson feels that everything she did was in spite of the art school.

“I was appalled by the art school and I felt they didn’t have a clue. While I was entitled to some fees, that was an amount I had to pay myself and when I saw the state of the Stow building, I thought I’m not paying that as I couldn’t get around the building. Student registry was also up three flights of stairs with a broken lift. I put in a complaint which was upheld and they wrote off the residual fees.”

Ms Anderson returned for her degree show five weeks and felt that nothing had changed for students with mobility issues.

She added: “I had made suggestions of hand rails at the Reid Gallery as it is on a steep slope, having automatic doors, but it seemed nothing had changed that’s why I want to take action. I don’t want anyone else to go through this. The campus should be ready for people with mobility issues but it isn’t."

Glasgow School of Art was hit by two fires in four years with a report into the second fire in 2018 ruling earlier this year that the cause may never be known.

Last October it was announced that the rebuilding of the Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh building would be a "faithful reinstatement" of the one destroyed by fire in 2018 was the preferred option for its future.

A spokesperson for The Glasgow School of Art said: “We take accessibility extremely seriously. Penny’s complaint was made in 2019 since which time a range of actions have been taken to improve accessibility across the GSA campus as part of our commitment to continual improvement.”