DOZENS of prominent artists and musicians have penned an open letter pleading for art school bosses to save the venue.

The letter, published exclusively by The Herald on Sunday today, says the closure of the "iconic and important Glasgow venue" and the loss of jobs for staff will have a "huge impact" not only on students but on the city. It reads:

Save Our Art School!

Open letter to the Glasgow School of Art Students Association & Glasgow School of Art Board of Directors:

We, the undersigned – as musicians, DJs, artists, promoters and others involved in the arts and music scene of Glasgow - write to protest the treatment of staff at the GSASA & The Art School, and in opposition to the proposed closure to the public of this iconic and important Glasgow venue.

On Thursday 31st of October workers at The Art School were informed via email that they would not have any guaranteed work going forward. This devastating news, in the run up to Christmas, came after formal assurances of new contracts and guaranteed minimum hours from management, following an ongoing fight for fair pay and conditions by staff. Staff have yet to be spoken to face to face by anyone from The Art School, GSASA, or GSA, and received this email from an outgoing manager, on his last day before resignation.

The workers’ demands have been clear and fair: accountability and a voice in how the Art School operates, a Living Wage, and guaranteed rather than zero hour contracts.

Their targeting for dismissal is a clear and punitive response to them raising such demands, which has then been folded into a long and ongoing debate around the financial sustainability of the GSASA and The Art School (GSASA Ltd) as its commercial wing. There is little to no transparency about who is making these decisions, or is in a managerial position currently at the venue – but what is clear is that difficult financial circumstances surrounding the Mackintosh fires and their aftermath are being used as a cover to dismiss workers demanding basic rights.

The decision to then also close venue to the public, indefinitely (though recent announcements suggest until the new year) will have a huge impact on students and the wider arts and music scene of Glasgow. That there is little to no accountability about who is making such decisions is extremely concerning: the most recent filings at companies’ house suggest that all acting directors of GSASA Ltd are currently resigned, save for student president Alesandro Marini, who is acting as both secretary and director, in post since Summer 2019. This is an untenable position for a culturally vital part of Glasgow’s arts and music scene, which has been a key site for the city’s gig, club, art, film and theatre communities.

The last published financial report for GSASA’s SCIO, for the year ending 21st July 2018, states that the GSASA council (trustees under charity law) found the student’s association to clearly be “a going concern” with “the continued support of the Glasgow School of Art”, who have for a long time provided regular funds to the GSASA, as a key and well-loved part of the student experience at GSA. That GSASA and those with decision making power at GSA have chosen to punish front line workers at The Art School because long term financial projections for the venue are having to be reconsidered, in the face of a huge premises move and two devastating fires, is frankly shameful.

We urge both the GSASA and GSA to respond to these issues with accountability, transparency and compassion, to meet with the workers and take on board their demands. At a time when the GSA is under considerable scrutiny for its handling of two fires at iconic Mackintosh building, we feel it would be a considerable dereliction of duty to their own students, and to the city of Glasgow, to allow this important venue to close, but most importantly, to throw workers at the Art School under the bus in this way.


Joel White (GLARC, former Art School staff),

Oliver Pitt (Golden Teacher),

Sofay / Sophie Reilly (DJ),

Stephen McRobbie (The Pastels),

Tara Quinn (Monorail Music),

Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai),

Alasdair Campbell (Director, Counterflows Festival),

Fielding Hope (Senior Producer, Café Oto / Co-curator, Counterflows Festival),

JD Twitch / Keith McIvor (DJ / Label-runner, Optimo),

Nima Séne (Artist, Performance maker),

Ribeka / Becky Marshall (DJ, So Low / Producer),

Francis Dosoo (Rhythm Machine),

Letitia Pleiades (dancer/musician/DJ/artist),

Laurie Pitt (Golden Teacher),

Alex Neilson (Alex Rex, Trembling Bells),

Lewis Cook & Suzi Rodden (Free Love),

Scott Caruth (Total Leatherette),

Stewart Smith (Writer, The Wire / The List)

Nick Sigsworth (DJ, Klaus),

Maria Rossi (Cucina Povera),

Fergus Clark (DJ / label-runner, 12th Isle),

Stewart Brown (DJ/label-runner, 12th Isle),

Michael Kasparis (Night School Records),

Jonathan Biles (DJ),

Josie Vallely (Quinie),

Niall Morris (Musician & Former Bar/Venue Staff at The Art School),

Audrey Bizouerne, (Alex Rex, Gift Horse, Rev Magnetic / photographer),

Finlay Clarke / David Kennedy / Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach (Still House Plants),

Charlie McCann (DJ, Loosen Up),

Tom Marshallsay (DJ / Producer, General Ludd / Dam Mantle),

Richard Chater (Numbers / Rubadub Distribution),

Rob Kennedy (artist, GSA visiting lecturer),

Richard Mcmaster (alumni / Golden Teacher),

Mathew Williams / Junglehussi (DJ, promoter),

Clair Stirling / Eclair Fifi (DJ), Barry Burns (Radiophrenia),

Mark Vernon (GSA alumni/artist),

Cass Ezeji (singer and performer),

Alicia Mathews (Sue Zuki, LAPS),

Robbie Thomson (artist/ musician),

Barkat Singh / BAKE (DJ, label-runner),

Thomas Clarke (Mr TC),

Sofya Belousova (Promoter/Vaj Power),

Ian Crawford (Promoter/Freakender),

Holly McGowan (Producer),

DJ Samrai (Swing Ting),

Jonnie Wilkes/ JG Wilkes (Optimo),

Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand).