Art & Design Employability



External competitions


Students enter work for a prize/award that is arranged by an organisation outside of their educational institution.


Time management, networking, organisation, self-motivation, self-direction, self-management, reflection, research, development and planning, independence, understanding of working in different contexts.

Example 1

Project Title: Medals Project
Student Name: Josephine Sweeney
School/Department: Sculpture and Environmental Art
Year of study: Three
Project Length:  Five days
Project Location: N/A


All Sculpture and Environmental Art students were given the opportunity to have something which they had modelled in wax to be cast into bronze.

A group of students visited the Scottish Sculpture Workshop to learn how to cast in bronze using the lost-wax process.

All students had the option to enter the British Art Medal Society’s Student Medal Project, designed to encourage and promote the art of making medals.

What happened:

Having made the wax models that were to be cast in bronze, a group of students spent five days living and working at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and seeing a little of the Lumsden countryside. It was hard work, learning on the job and working into the night to keep up with the different stages of the process.

Students were responsible for transforming wax models, made by other students, into bronze medals and small sculptures. They did this using the lost-wax process, learning how to build ‘runners and risers’, how to run the foundry and how to angle-grind and clean up the bronze.

Students also had time to make their own work and learn about different techniques. This included some sculptures using organic matter (bread), as this can be burnt away much like wax, and using compact sand and the ‘slush mould’ technique.

External or internal partners involved:

The group was comprised of six students (four from the BA programme and two from the MLitt) and Paul Cosgrove (Head of Sculpture and Environmental Art). Students were taught and assisted by Eden Jolly, technician at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, who was very knowledgeable and reassuring and enthusiastic. Another technician doing a technical residency at the workshops also helped us.

Project Outcomes:

The material outcome of the project was around 100 bronze medals and other small works – and a couple of larger cast works.

One opportunity that came out of the project was involvement in artist Ginny Hutchison’s project with Queens Cross Housing Association. This involved helping residents of Possil Park to make compact sand moulds and helping Ginny run her portable foundry to pour aluminium plaques from these moulds. This was a great experience, which brought with it a whole new set of skills, such as working with others, making oil-bonded compact sand moulds and pouring aluminium.

In turn, this resulted in contact with a local artist who has acted as a referee for further volunteering jobs.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

Technical skills were gained and a process learned that is otherwise not available at GSA. Although the school offers a lot of digital skills workshops, there is almost nothing of this kind for three-dimensional making.

The trip was also really important in terms of founding relationships, particularly between courses (the MLitt students have continued to be really supportive and helpful contacts) and between students and the head of department.

Example 2

Project Title: Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Practice
Student Name: Ruth Switalski
School/Department: MLitt Painting
Year of study: First and only
Project Length:  Approx. three weeks
Project Location: Glasgow School of Art Careers Service


Application to the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Practice – a £10,000 award with business advice and relations with Deutsche Bank. Accessed via the Careers Department at GSA, the award is open to all final year students throughout the school.

What happened:

An application was made in connection with an artist-run gallery space in Glasgow, 1 Royal Terrace, conceived in November 2013, run as a committee between Ruth Switalski (MLitt) and Petter Yxell (BA Hons Painting and Printmaking, Glasgow School of Art, 2012).

1 Royal Terrace is a non-profit gallery space in central Glasgow, dedicated to monthly solo exhibitions by Scotland-based artists which push the boundaries of medium specificity.

The Deutsche Bank Award would have been put towards work at 1 Royal Terrace, which is described as follows:

Addressing a need for the facilitation of solo shows is our main goal at 1 Royal Terrace. We seek to establish discursive professional networks for our exhibiting artists and the involvement of the general public through ‘in conversation’ events held in conjunction with each exhibition. Through this discussion, we aim to foster a group of artists who share commonalities in medium/approach and to generate a continuous critical dialogue.

All students eligible to apply to the Deutsche Bank Award must be in their final year of study; this is a seminal year, whether undergraduate or postgraduate. Perhaps the amount of time, dedication and work necessary to complete an application to the Deutsche Bank Award could be better deployed elsewhere; the level of effort required does not become fully apparent until one has committed to the undertaking.

External or internal partners involved:


Project outcomes:

1 Royal Terrace was unsuccessful in its application to the Deutsche Bank, failing to be shortlisted from 26 applicants to the final four. However, whilst it is regrettable that funding was not awarded, the considerable work that went into the preparation of a thorough, coherent and well-researched document will be taken forward and used in other potential funding applications/presentations.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

Students learned how to write a business plan, which has never been broached as a subject in Fine Art at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. Guidance on this was provided by an external business advisor – Max Comfort – employed by the Careers Department directly for the purpose of training students to take part in the Deutsche Bank Award. Students learned how to structure such a document, how to understand and convey their ‘target audience’, how to consider themselves as a business and how to make a business/social enterprise/product viable and interesting to potential investors.

The research element involved 1 Royal Terrace attending a Scottish Contemporary Art Networks (SCAN) networking event at the CCA in February 2014, as well as extensive research into organisations such as the Scottish Artists’ Union, in order to express a general overview of Glasgow’s contemporary art scene. This will help with further funding applications.

Speaking with a professional business advisor in a pre-arranged phone meeting was incredibly valuable in helping to succinctly articulate the project and concerns/questions one wanted to discuss.

Video Interviews

Creative Ad – 3rd Year – Harriet Ronn

Side projects can often feel like a drain on vital time that could be used on coursework. Harriet talks of the benefits of national competitions in regards to building a network of creative students.

Related Pages

Visual Literacy


Student engagement