Altyre estate, where GSA Highlands & Islands is housed


GSA Highlands and Islands >

The Glasgow School of Art is delighted to announce the location of its stunning new campus in the Highlands and Islands.

The Blairs Steading on the Altyre Estate near Forres has been transformed into a world-class research and teaching space. This is an unparalleled opportunity for students to study within a newly renovated campus in spectacular surroundings.

21st century design school in a 19th century building

The Steading comprises a group of Grade ‘A’ listed Italianate buildings, built in the 1830s.

The buildings have been converted into a GSA campus, providing inspiring studio, workshop and exhibition space as well as state of the art areas for research, teaching, prototyping and flexible lab work. The campus brings the GSA’s world-leading research and teaching to the region.

Located just outside Forres, GSA Highlands & Islands is a research and post-graduate teaching centre for international excellence in creativity and innovation. We deliver Masters and PhD programmes, and the campus location enables us to research in geographically distributed contexts as well as innovate and teach in different ways. We teach digitally, remotely and residentially as well as through short winter and summer schools. Through our vibrant research and teaching programmes, we address complex issues facing the region and beyond, such as youth migration and innovating the use of digital technologies. 

The GSA is one of the top 10 art schools in the world (QS World Subject Rankings 2015). The Creative Campus builds on this reputation by collaborating internationally with partners, such as MIT and global businesses, in order to develop the creative capabilities of students, enterprises, communities and government.  

Programmes at the GSA Highlands & Islands 

Master's programmes in Design Innovation

Starting in 2016, the GSA will deliver three Masters of Design Innovation programmes at GSA Highlands & Islands:

These newly launched programmes complement the existing Design Innovation programmes delivered by the Innovation School at the GSA's campus in Glasgow. 

Postgraduate Research

The Innovation School's Postgraduate Research portfolio comprises other masters and PhD Programmes offered across both The Glasgow School of Art campuses in Glasgow and the Highlands and Islands. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow.

More information on the full range of taught masters and research degrees is available at the following links:


The GSA Highlands & Islands programme by Cohort is a pioneering opportunity for both Master of Research and doctoral students to undertake practice-based research in Design Innovation to transform the creative capabilities of communities and the region. This is a cohort-based approach to doctoral study where students with shared interests together inform the evolution of Design Innovation methodologies appropriate to this developing domain; with a particular focus on networked collaboration, through working with richly diverse interdisciplinary contexts.

The Innovation School

The Innovation School (formerly the Institute of Design Innovation) is a research institute at the GSA and has been based in the Highlands and Islands since 2010. We are a distributed, creative collective of researchers, lecturers and students specialising in Design Innovation. Together, we address complex issues through new design practices and bespoke community engagement to co-create preferable futures.

The Innovation School researches the new qualities of design that are needed to co-create contexts in which people can flourish: at work, in organisations and businesses, in public services and government. Our wide research portfolio covers the thematic areas of Work, Wealth and Wellbeing.

We are located in both Glasgow and the Highlands and Islands in order to teach and research across both urban and geographically distributed contexts. 

Forres and surrounding area

The region is a spectacular part of the world to visit and live in. Studying at the GSA in the Highlands and Islands is an exciting opportunity to learn in this internationally connected, creative and entrepreneurial region. 

To join us for a period of time and experience life in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is a major reason people choose to study and research here, particularly for those with creative backgrounds.

The region is a place that stimulates the senses and kindles creativity. The dramatic, vast open spaces provide a canvas from which to work.  Our location places us on the doorstep of rolling countryside, beautiful beaches and dramatic mountain landscapes.

Researchers and students already based here tell us that the beauty and diversity of the region inspires them greatly. They are not alone; the natural assets of the region combined a long time ago to give birth to a legacy of rich cultural traditions. The offspring of those traditions are generations of talented artists, musicians, storytellers and poets who are found all over the region.

Forres, itself a small and vibrant town, is 27 miles from the Highland capital city of Inverness, which hosts an international airport. The region is home to the whisky industry, castles frequently punctuate the landscape and the charming towns and villages across the area offer a characteristically warm Highland welcome that is known throughout the world.


For general enquiries:

+44 (0)1309 678124

For further information around the teaching programmes at GSA Highlands & Islands, please contact Iain Reid at