Widening Participation Programme >

We have created an engaging programme of courses, workshops, and events to inspire the young people we work with. 

S4 Taster Courses

  • Summer: 5 - 9 August 2019
  • Autumn: 14 – 18 October 2019
  • Spring: 6 – 10 April 2020

This is the perfect opportunity for young people in fourth year at secondary school to find out if studying a visual creative course is for them. Pupils join us on the GSA campus for five days to take part in a range of creative activities in one of our studios. A visit to a gallery or museum is built into every S4 Taster Course to help pupils learn more about contemporary art, design and architecture. It’s a great chance for young people to make new friends from other schools and meet professionals currently working in the creative sector. S4 Taster Courses take place three times per year in summer, autumn and spring.

100% of participants said they developed new skills and techniques at our S4 Taster Weeks.

S5 Portfolio Course

  • Block 1: 4 August – 6 October 2019
  • Block 2: 13 October – 15 December 2019
  • Block 3 12 January – 15 March 2020

This is a 10-week course for young people in fifth year at secondary school who are thinking about studying a visual creative course at college or univeristy. The course is made up of a number of short creative projects including an introduction to sketchbooks, experimental drawing and working in 3D. The course culminates in a group crit where pupils show all of the work they’ve made on the course to discuss the strengths and areas for development in each person’s work. This course is led by tutor Abdi Adam who is a graduate from Communication Design at GSA and now an award winning illustrator and visual artist.

93% of participants said they were more likely to apply to a creative course at college or university as a result of participating in the S5 portfolio course.

S6 Portfolio Course

  • Sunday afternoon: 18 Aug 2019 - 12 Jan 2020
  • Tuesday Evening: 20 August 2019 – 14 January 2020 
  • Wednesday Evening: 21 August – 15 January 2020
  • Thursday Evening: 22 August – 16 January 2020

This is a 20 week course for pupils in S6 who plan to submit an application to study a visual creative course starting in September 2020. The course has been designed carefully to give pupils a number of creative projects that will help them to generate high quality, relevant work suitable for their application portfolio. The course covers many key skills including:

  • how to develop work in response to a creative brief
  • how to use research to enhance practical work
  • how to photograph work for application to visual creative courses at college or university 

S6 Portfolio Course pupils are encouraged to experiment with a wide range of materials (provided free of charge) and will gain experience of learning methods at GSA including working in a studio, peer learning, one-to-one tutorials,  group critique and self-directed projects.

Pupils will also have the opportunity to submit their work for inclusion in the annual Open Studio Summer Exhibition which is part of the GSA Degree Show.

Architecture Portfolio Course

  • Tuesday: 1 October – 3 December 2019
  • Wednesday: 2 October – 4 December 2019
  • Saturday: 5 October – 7 December 2019

This is a 10 week course for pupils in S5 or S6 who are interested in studying architecture when they leave secondary school. The course takes place on campus and is designed to give pupils the knowledge and skills needed to compile a strong portfolio of work specifically for architecture courses.

81% of participants enrolled on this course last year have secured a place on an Architecture degree at GSA or elsewhere.

Dumfries Portfolio Course

  • Saturday: 14 September – 16 November 2019

This is a 10 week course for S5 or S6 pupils who live in Dumfries and Galloway and are thinking about studying a visual creative course at college or university. The course takes place at Gracefield Arts Centre and is made up of a number of short creative projects including an introduction to sketchbooks, working in 3D and an independent development project. This course culminates in one-to-one tutorials to give students guidance for continuing to work on their portfolio after the course ends.

NEW Digital Art and Design Portfolio Course

  • Saturday: 5 October – 7 December 2019

This is a 10 week course for S6 pupils who are interested in developing a portfolio of work for application to computer based or digital art and design programmes, such as Interaction Design or Immersive Systems (3D Modelling/Games and Virtual Reality). The course takes place on campus and is designed to give pupils experience of using digital technologies to generate creative art and design outcomes. Participants will gain experience of learning methods at GSA including working in a digital studio, one-to-one tutorials, and self-directed projects. Computers and equipment will be provided for use during each session.

Special Events

  • Advertised to pupils on our mailing list throughout the year

We work with our friends from across the creative sector in Scotland to offer exciting opportunities for our young people. In the past, we’ve run joint projects with creative organisations such as:

We also regularly team up with inspirational independent makers including:

Application Support

We provide impartial advice to young people for every stage of the application process to GSA. This includes UCAS personal statement support, e-folio guidance, an interview support workshop and one-to-one mock interviews. 

Becoming a GSA student

We run a bespoke course for participants we have worked with, who receive an offer to study a degree programme at GSA. This includes a tour of the annual GSA Degree Show in June and a five day studio based course in September before degree programmes begin.