The First Minister has announced the Scottish Government will work with the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to develop a Phoenix bursaries scheme to support students most affected by last week’s fire to rebuild their portfolio.
Mr Salmond also announced that funds raised to restore the Glasgow School of Art’s fire-damaged Mackintosh building to its former glory will be matched by the Scottish Government.
The pledge to provide up to £5 million match-funding for the GSA’s Mackintosh Building Fire Appeal was made by First Minister Alex Salmond following a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet in Rutherglen.
This funding will be in addition to any longer-term funding requirements for building recovery and restoration, and which will be supported by the Scottish Government and its agencies following full evaluation of insurance liability.
The commitment comes as a team of 35 specialist conservation staff from Historic Scotland have been deployed to the Category A listed building which was engulfed in flames last Friday.
The First Minister said:
“The welfare of students is, of course, paramount and we are working closely with GSA staff to offer all necessary support. This includes working with the School to develop a Phoenix bursary scheme offering support to any students who were seriously affected by the fire and need additional time to develop their practice and rebuild their portfolio. Further details of this scheme will be announced shortly once the GSA is clearer about what students need.
“The Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art is truly unique and last week’s fire was a devastating blow for students and staff as well as the wider arts and architecture community worldwide. The very severe damage to the building’s iconic library, in particular, is a cultural loss of significant magnitude.
“The ‘Mack’ is an extraordinary building. It is an architectural gem and the artistic heart of Glasgow. It can and will be restored, and everything which can be done must be done to deliver this.
“That is why the Scottish Government is committed to providing an appropriate level of financial support and we will, in the first instance, provide up to £5 million match-funding for the GSA’s Mackintosh Building Fire Appeal. We will also promote this appeal through our international networks, encouraging lovers of the ‘Mack’, at home and abroad, to fund-raise to help restore this wonderful building to its former glory.
“In the immediate aftermath of the fire, the Scottish Government and our agencies have been working tirelessly to support GSA staff and, since Friday afternoon, have been providing technical, logistical, survey and conservation advice and support.
“I can today confirm that Historic Scotland has deployed a team of 35 specialist conservation staff to deal with the immediate and on-going conservation issues and has been asked to lead the salvage operation in the fire-damaged west end of the building; whilst our National Collections have already provided conservation experts and stand ready to support further.
“The recovery and restoration of the ‘Mack’ will be a long-term process and the Scottish Government is fully committed to supporting this, through the expertise of our specialist staff as well as through continued funding support.”