Celtic Connections on Campus, GCU’s partnership with the world’s biggest Celtic music festival, kicked off a year of cultural events and activities. The concert series attracts hundreds of music lovers to hear the cream of emerging student talent on stage and behind the scenes.
Performers from across Scotland were supported by GCU’s BSc Audio Technology and BSc Audio Systems Engineering students, who also worked again on the festival in partnership with Celtic Music Radio.
Artist Gerard M Burns exhibited his work in an inaugural show to celebrate the landmark Heart of the Campus project. The exhibition featured portraits of celebrated Scots such as Billy Connolly and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as well as Emeritus Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus, and works including The Crossing.
The artist, recognised as one of Scotland’s greatest, said: “My work is being shown in a space that any contemporary art gallery in the world would envy. It is an amazing opportunity for my work to be shown in the community and seen by thousands of people who may not visit a gallery.”
The portraits hung alongside the work of Cultural Fellow Toby Paterson, pictured above, whose Potential Forms, Our Routes, New Conjunction and Cluster Relief (River) are an integral feature of the University’s newest spaces. Though Toby’s latest work for GCU, a flooring installation in the Saltire Centre, may enjoy a rather lower profile among GCU’s busy community, it caught the eye of prize givers - taking Highly Commended in the 2016/17 Fly Forbo awards.
Led by Liz Lochhead, GCU’s other Cultural Fellows - writers Anne Donovan, Jackie Kay and Harry Ritchie, actors Blythe Duff and Juliet Cadzow, pictured above, and composer John Browne − are a catalyst for creativity on campus, supporting activities, events and performances that enrich the vibrant cultural life of the University.
Scots Makar Jackie launched the A Story in a Poem project at an event exploring the lives of migrants. Academics, activists, civil society groups and politicians, including Minister for International Development and Europe, Alasdair Allan MSP, gathered at GCU for the Migrant Voice conference to discuss the future of migrants’ rights post-Brexit. Juliet and Blythe brought to life the work of the students on the highly competitive MA TV Fiction Writing students. Juliet, who was celebrated by the city with a Lord Provost Award, also joined actors Gavin Mitchell, James Rottger and Erin McCardie to perform Are You Being Served?, mini-plays written by the programme’s students and alumni.
The programme was back in the limelight at an event celebrating its eighth anniversary, when Donalda McKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland, said: “Scotland is a country full of storytellers, so it’s great that one of the first courses of its kind happened here.”
GCU teamed up with STV to celebrate another milestone - the broadcaster’s sixtieth anniversary. Academic partner STV hosted a discussion with lecturers Professor Ann Marie Di Mambro, Chris Dolan, alumnus Mark Stevenson who writes for Casualty and EastEnders, TV producer Robert Love and STV Productions Head of Drama Sarah Brown.
Comic-book artist Frank Quitely, who has drawn the X-Men, Superman and Batman, shared his inspiration with students at a lecture, and photographer Harry Benson, whose lens has immortalised some of the most significant moments in modern history, celebrated receiving an honorary degree with an exhibition on campus of his iconic images of Glasgow.