Art & Design Employability





Students are involved in delivering various learning activities – such as tutorials or workshops – to other students or to external parties. These are normally situated within a pedagogical course or structured educational setting.


Time management, organisation, research, development and planning, reflection, evaluation, communication with people of various ages, capacities and backgrounds.

Example 1

Project Title: Sculpture and Contemporary Art
Student Name: Gillian Sharpe
School/Department: Sculpture and Environmental Art
Year of study: Four
Project Length:  One day a week over four weeks
Project Location: All Saints Secondary School


The original aim of the project was for GSA students to deliver a series of lessons of their choice to school pupils. There was no template, allowing GSA students to be as adventurous with the lessons as they liked. GSA students met with the school teachers with whom they would be working, to ensure that lesson plans fitted into the curriculum. The main purpose of the placement was to give GSA students experience of what it was like to teach art in a school environment.

This particular project aimed to show the pupils what contemporary art (specifically sculpture) was, and to teach them new skills and techniques that they could use within their own work. In addition, it sought to give them an insight into what art education is like at a higher level of study. It was hoped that the pupils would gain a better understanding the skillsets they needed to develop if they intended to further their study in an art degree.

What happened:

As more of a studio environment than a traditional classroom set-up was desired, the chairs and tables were moved aside to make a large space in the middle of the room for pupils to use. In the first workshop, two fourth-year undergraduates delivered presentations of their journeys to art school. This included what it was like to study there, what student life was like, details of work and research and what the students wanted to achieve post- graduation. Building on positive feedback about these presentations, each subsequent lesson began with a short Powerpoint presentation about inspirational contemporary artists related to what the pupils would be working on that day.

The students introduced pupils to experimental drawing techniques (continuous line, blind, sensory, etc). In the second week, these drawings were joined together within a collaborative workshop. In the second workshop, pupils then began working in groups, making small sculptures out of everyday objects and materials. From this, they learned to work in an abstract and expressive way.

In the third workshop, pupils worked in a team to assemble all of the sculptures together into one piece. Pupils used modroc and wood, taking shapes they had made in the drawing workshop and translating them into something three-dimensional.

On the fourth and final day, pupils again drew from the sculpture they had created and had a critique and exhibition of the work. This is something the pupils had never done before, and it was refreshing hearing them talk passionately about the enjoyment they had from the process of making the work. They began to have a better understanding of what contemporary art is and, more specifically, what sculpture can be.

External or internal partners involved:

Rachel Forrest from Sculpture and Environmental Art, Year Four, complemented the specialism in Sculpture of the lead artist, providing pupils with insight into both disciplines.

Project outcomes:

Each GSA student taking part in a placement project had to produce a report on how efficient the lessons had been and submit documentation of lesson plans alongside feedback from the pupils and teacher in charge of the class.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

This project improved time-management skills as the lesson plans had to be very precise and everything had to run to schedule so the pupils could get the most out of the workshops. It also provided first-hand experience of what it is like communicating in front of a class, and how to be an effective leader. This showed what motivated the pupils and how to adapt teaching styles to cater to different pupils in the class. The course heightened the confidence of the lead artist in the field of teaching and public speaking, providing an opportunity to think about a career in education.

Example 2

Project Title: Postgraduate Teaching Elective; Tasting Sculpture at Tender Bar (an interactive sculptural installation during Glasgow International)
Student Name: Lauren Wells
School/Department: MFA
Year of study: Two
Project Length:  24 January – 3 April, 3 and 4 April 2014
Project Location: Barnes Building, Tender Bar, the Whisky Bond


The aims of the PG Teaching Elective Course are to:

  1. Provide an introduction to and overview of, developments in learning and teaching, in relation to studio teaching in Fine Art, and stimulate discussion on a breadth of current research discourse in relation to this area,
  2. Introduce students to key skills in the use of learning and teaching methods and philosophies in the field of creative education;
  3. Engender, amongst students, a critical engagement with studio teaching through the development of an action research project.
  4. These aims are addressed in three progressive stages including (1) the study of theoretical contexts, (2) practical experience in the studio and (3) developing a live learning/teaching project. The course is delivered through presentation, seminar/workshop and tutorial. Assessment is by submission of a short, reflective statement (1,000-1,500 words). (Course Description given to students by Brian Kelly).

What happened:

Teaching Elective: This teaching elective was organised in such a way that MFA students attended a series of lectures, seminars/discussions with various teaching professionals: Fiona Dean, Jill Hammond, Charles Neame and Brian Kelly (credentials given in the next section).

The lectures covered various teaching strategies and approaches, as well as larger contextual, institutional issues such as: widening participation; the national context; difference as a consideration in the construction of learning teaching environments; professional values; learning and teaching environments in practice.

Second-year MFA students were offered two group tutorials: one on prep for action research projects and one on post-action research assessment. Students shadowed their teaching partners for a minimum of two full days and led their own teaching projects.

Students were also given an opportunity to attend a learning and teaching event intended as part of staff development.

External or internal partners involved:

Brian Kelly, Tutor for Postgraduate Teaching elective; Shauna McMullan, Tutor, Partners for Action Research and Shadowing; Danny Holcroft, Tender Bar artist and participant in a discussion led for the Action Research Project

Project outcomes:

The project provided insight into GSA’s institutional teaching ethos; a rapport was gained with staff, while learning through informal feedback received while shadowing them.

The course was set up as a nurturing way to experience teaching for the first time. The small group dynamic facilitated engagement and participation within the course.

Students participated in group discussions, which gave rise to a wide array of strategies used to engage undergraduate students through action research projects. These varied from the very practical, to more ‘fun’ experience-based discussions, seminars and workshops.

The group tutorial offered an opportunity to see the results of others’ projects and prepare for final assessment.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

Theoretical knowledge of learning and teaching was gained at the same time as practical experience of the critical group and discursive setting was conferred by executing/evaluating an action research project. Assuming the role of teacher, students reflected upon their individual studio practice, gained an understanding of various teaching methodologies used by tutors and connected with undergraduate students.

Following the staff for small group tutorials and group crits and leading individual tutorials with the students provided an insight into the way numerous staff conduct themselves within different learning and teaching situations. This conferred a broader understanding of the capabilities of, and responsibilities assumed by, tutors.

Example 3

Project Title: Artists and Designers in Education
Name: Victoria Reilly
School/Department: Sculpture and Environmental Art
Year of study: Four
Project Length:  One full day – eight hours
Project Location: The Glasgow School of Art


To deliver a day-long workshop to school pupils who were either applying or considering applying to study art at higher education level in the near future.

The intention was to discuss what goes on in the ‘world of art school’, giving an insight into how people work at GSA, as this is something that can often be quite intimidating to those who are not part of it. The workshop also sought to provide support with the students’ applications and to answer any questions they might have about the different courses available to study.

What happened:

Prospective students gathered in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre, where they were given a short introduction to the day. Each staff member involved in the workshop briefly described their practice and area of study. The pupils were divided into the subject area that interested them. They had been asked to bring a collection of small objects to work with throughout the day. From 9.30 until 11am, the objects were looked at and precisely described according to shape, colour and material.

In the photography group, a mini lesson was given about how to use the camera and how to decide which setting was appropriate to the task at hand. Pupils took turns photographing each of their objects. In an attempt to make pupils aware of shape and form, they were asked to repeatedly draw around their objects in different positions and a variety of materials including pen, pencil, graphite, chalk, charcoal and ink.

After a short break, two of each pupil’s objects were recreated using modrock, scrim, plaster and wire as an introduction to basic sculptural materials. This was followed by a short tour of the Mackintosh building, during which appropriate places to photograph the made objects were identified.

A final-year sculpture student gave a short presentation on his work, providing another person for pupils to chat to and ask any questions regarding the course.

After lunch, a mini critique session was held, in which each person’s made objects were discussed, taking account of the possible inspiration behind each object, the choice of material and form. This helped prospective students to gain further insight into what they had made and gave them confidence to talk about their own art and that of others.

The next stage was to familiarise the pupils with drawing techniques, which involved making large wall and floor drawings of their objects using oil pastel, chalk and charcoal.

At the end of the day, the pupils received a printed selection of their photographs as a record.

External or internal partners involved:


Project outcomes:

A day-long workshop that gave potential GSA applicants an insight into life at art school.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

Skills gained included learning how to help students feel comfortable with each other quickly by getting them to engage in conversation about why they were participating in the workshop.

The workshop also required effective time management, allowing for breaks and lunch.

Essential organisational skills were gained from processes such as deciding which materials were needed for the workshop.

Finally, this session conferred the importance of giving individual support to each student, making them feel special and taking account of their personal needs.

Video Interviews

Creative Ad – 3rd Year – James Child & Ash Prentice

Creative Partners discuss the journey of an undergraduate creative and the importance of tutor session when working on a project.

Furniture – 1st Year – Dan Taylor

The process of going from design to final product is not an easy one.

1st Year Furniture student Dan explains the important role course tutors have in this process.

Related Pages

The Studio