Getting “Glasgowed Out”


The first cohort of students from the Glasgow School of Arts Singapore (GSofA Singapore) graduated in true Glaswegian tradition on 4 July

SINGAPORE, 4 July – The evocative skirls of the Great Highland bagpipes rang through the halls of Temasek Polytechnic Auditorum 3  as the first cohort of GSA Singapore students made their transition from SIT-GSA graduands to graduates.

Nearly 100 students were conferred their degrees at the graduation ceremony led by Professor Tom Inns, Director of the GSA, and attended by Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President of SIT. His Excellency (HE) Mr Antony Phillipson, British High Commissioner to Singapore presided as guest-of-honour.

The students were the first recipients of the BA (Hons) in Communication Design and BA (Hons) in Interior Design degrees awarded by GSA in partnership with SIT.

Prof Tan said: “Our students have done very well and can look forward to a bright future ahead of them in their careers.”

Communication design student Christine Neo Chai Yuan, the cohort’s de facto ‘valedictorian’, who was awarded the university-wide Forum for Critical Inquiry Dissertation Prize for her essay titled ‘Constructing a National Identity: Pioneers of a ‘Singaporean Artist’’, recalled the knowledge value-add she received from her cross-cultural education at GSA.

“In our works, there’s always a dialogue between East and West, and this dialogue manifests itself in curious forms, with some trying to distance itself from Glasgow by embracing the local,” she said. “On the other hand, you also have students embracing the way they do it in Glasgow, very process-oriented and a little edgy.” She added: “But I think what’s all good about them is that they are honest attempts to uncover something that isn’t done enough here in Singapore.”

The convocation formally opened with a ceremonial procession of academics to the dais, led by Frazer Macdonald Hay, Director of GSA Singapore who was also the ceremonial mace-bearer.

Professor Tom Inns, Director, The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) addresses graduands and guests at the GSA graduation ceremony on 4 July 2014 at Temasek Polytechnic. Photo | SIT

The highlight of the celebratory event was the speech by Prof Inns who challenged the students to go beyond the GSA milestone, a journey which he described as “ongoing”. Welcoming them to the GSA alumni, he also offered them tips on the importance of networking.

“Now you are graduating you have a new family,” he said. “These are new families; hopefully they will help you open doors, connect you to opportunities. Hopefully you will stay connected to the people in this room.”

Aptly citing the example of GSA alumnus and award-winning jeweller Jonathan Matthew Boyd, who is most recently the creative force behind the iconic medals for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is held from July 23 to August 3 this year, he added:

“You can explain to your friends and family how design impacts on all our lives and most importantly, you can say that these things were designed at my art school.”

Indeed GSA has an extensive creative involvement with the latest edition of the Commonwealth Games – the dress fabrics for all the medal bearers’ uniforms were printed at GSA’s Centre for Advanced Textiles and all 3,000 of the games medals were also handmade in the GSA workshops.

“By the end of summer you will be completely Glasgowed out,” quipped Prof Inns.

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