Special Relationship —

1985


The course was not traditional painting or sculpture. It was, say its graduates, about ideas. The context for making work was as important as the work itself. The department was not based in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed main building, but in a former girls' school that was used as a site for making work. "It was an amazing place," says Harding. "There were basements with 50 children's sinks in them, history books lying around in piles. There were attics, strange, devious, different rooms. An Escher-like staircase. One half of the school was locked off and forbidden. Of course, the students broke in." The students were required to do art projects outside the school, to find sites, negotiate with owners. "They began to be wheelers and dealers. They had to forage in other departments to get access to dark rooms, printing facilities. They had," says Harding, "a piratical attitude."

The Environmental Art Department was run by David Harding, Sam Ainsley and Brian Kelly at Glasgow School of Art.

Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian 17/10/11


Printed handkerchief celebrating the fraternal links between British Loyalists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Sam Ainsley my tutor gave me the catalogue for the 1984 exhibition - Art in Production: Soviet Textiles, Fashion and Ceramics 1917 – 1935, Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. I was studying public art at Glasgow school of Art and wanted to make things that were a reflection of my experience. At the time donation buckets were being passed around the Rangers bars in Glasgow and the rumour was these funds were being used to buy weapons from Israel.