A STUDENT diagnosed with a brain tumour has created a series of portraits exploring identity issues for this year’s Graduate Degree Show at Glasgow School of Art.

The portraits by communication design and photography student Xu Pu, who is currently in good health after brain surgery, are joined by other striking submissions in this year’s show which opens to the public on Saturday.

Interior design student, Eleftheria Fatsea, has looked at how those who have schizophrenia experience the world and through her project aims to help others understand and empathise with people who have the disorder.

Meanwhile sound for the moving image student, Donald Barr, has made an 18 minute semi-autobiographical film which is a meditation on scale and perception. It is the story of a band that he played in 15 years ago, a friendship within that band and an examination of mental illness.

For Bart Urbanski, Glaswegian perception of Polish immigration within the UK and the influence of the Press on this perception was the subject of his work. He aimed to discover if the viewpoints on immigration expressed by the printed media correlate with the general public’ s opinions about the subject. As part of his project he has created a portfolio of photography of members of the Polish immigrant community in Glasgow.


AMONG the projects featured by students graduating from the product design (innovation) programme are Nutrila, a game-based approach to helping children learn about the values of health and nutrition through play. Devised by Vanessa Lang, it looks not just at how to help children in Scotland but also young people in developing countries. It was developed after Lang spent two weeks working in Kanti Hospital, Nepal’s only children’s hospital. She found that colour, shape and symbolism were three prevailing factors in how children react to play when it was associated with food. Taking these insights into account, she designed a game that could be played universally, giving children across the globe a chance to develop their cognitive and motor skills. Salty Lives by Ute Schauberger is an experiment into how design-led approaches might begin to re-envision healthcare by exploring it through the lens of living with cystic fibrosis. It aims to address and critically interrogate healthcare’s organisational structures, services, and systems as well as investigate what questions are posed by new developments. It is not only an inquiry into how people should live but also into how they should design.


CHANGING from one task to another can often challenge people with autism and a product that responds to this is among the designs by the 2016 cohort of MSc Product Design Engineering students. There is also an interactive drinking bottle to help children stay hydrated in class at school; a product that recognises the therapeutic benefits of tending to plants and how this might be achieved in a care home; insulin pens for diabetics with visual impairment; a safe navigation system for cyclists; water harvesting from the atmosphere and more.

Canadian artist Jane Walker has investigated the dichotomies between urban and rural experience that she has perceived in visual arts access, value, and opportunity. Her study provided a platform for seven visual artists and arts facilitators from rural communities in Newfoundland and Scotland to communicate their experiences through semi-structured interviews.

The interviews were paired with rug hooking tutorials resulting in the creation of a collaborative rug piece making use of readily available materials in the rural locations. The idea of building “something out of nothing” that rug hooking embodies was felt to be an appropriate analogy for the way that artists often work when they are located outside a city.


INCLUDED in the show is FigureFlight, an accessible 2D music game designed for large touchscreen devices. It was developed on the MSc Serious Games and Virtual Reality programme at The Glasgow School of Art, for the masters project, Developing Serious Games for Accessible Music Making. FigureFlight has recently been made a winner at the Curiosity Awards, an incentive by Creative Scotland to pair game developers and artists with established companies.

In addition, medical visualisation student, Allison Sugden, has created an interactive learning application to promote the understanding of circadian function and the health implications that can arise with circadian dysfunction while communication design (graphic design) student Herwig Scherabon has explored social and political issues through the topic of gentrification.

The Graduate Degree Show, featuring work by students graduating from masters programmes at The Glasgow School of Art runs from September 3-8 in the Bourdon Building (architecture), Reid Building (design) and Tontine Building (fine art/creative practice). It is open daily from 10am-9pm Monday-Thursday and from 10am-4.30pm Saturday-Sunday.