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Academic Schools

Gray's School of Art

Academic Schools

Gray's School of Art

Our School comprises of a vibrant mix of students studying undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and short courses across a range of Fine Art and Design disciplines.

Gray’s School of Art is an influential multidisciplinary Art School that has been leading and defining culture and industrial development for over 130 years.

Our undergraduate, postgraduate and short course portfolio covers a wide range of specialist subjects found within the breadth of Fine Art and Design disciplines. You will have the opportunity to specialise and focus your study within your core discipline area; our provision enables you to explore the boundaries of your subject and customise your learning experience thus allowing for greater creative diversity and development of your expertise.

We believe artists and designers learn and grow in a nurturing environment that promotes close working relationships between students, staff, alumni, institutions and business. Our teaching is student centred; you will learn through doing, thinking, challenging ideas and asking questions, not by routine.

We understand the importance of digital and emerging technologies in equipping you for future working environments, and we also respect the need to learn the traditional skills that underpin creative disciplines. Within our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the staging of exhibitions both within the School and at external venues are key activities in developing your professionalism and traditional, digital and presentation skills.

You will have opportunity to experience other creative learning environments and cultures through international field study visits, international study exchanges with our partner colleges across Europe, Canada and the US and work experience across the Scottish Highlands and the UK’s major cities.

Our curriculum is informed by our challenges within society. Staff research and core lecture programmes and projects explore themes such as sustainability and our environment, community and social cohesion, and health and well-being. You will explore contemporary art and design practice through the lens of their societal impact, philosophical and political value, and through knowledge of their historical and emerging futures.

Our graduates use their entrepreneurial skills, subject and technical expertise to develop their own businesses, apply for funding opportunities, study for higher degrees, and collaborate with practitioners from other disciplines and agencies to develop new ways of working within the creative economy.

Our commitment is to excellence, and in being the most supportive and nurturing multidisciplinary Art School we can be. We believe that artists and designers change the future, so we educate you to think flexibly, critically, and expansively to take on new ideas and challenges. Through our work we develop your creative confidence, and you develop your creative identity.

Our graduates are amongst the most successful art and design graduates in the UK in gaining full employment, currently standing at 97% (HESA published 2018). 

Student Projects & Activities 

Find out more about the wide range of projects, topics and subjects that our students are exploring through our curriculums.

Graduates & Careers in Art & Design 

Find out more about our Alumni and the wide range of opportunities and careers beyond graduation. 

Short courses at Gray's

Our Short Course Programme caters for more than 600 part-time students each year and continues to build in strength and popularity.

Whether you are interested in a 40 hour evening/day course or shorter workshops over a weekend, we have a diverse range of subjects and opportunities to choose from.

Creative enthusiasts, portfolio builders, teachers, students and practicing artists all participate to form a thriving artistic hub of personal creative development and exchange. Whatever your level of experience, we offer excellent support, facilities and course content to keep your fine art or design study moving forward.

Look Again Festival

The Look Again Festival is a celebration of the very best contemporary visual art and design, showcasing both local and internationally acclaimed talent in Aberdeen.

Virtual Tour

Connect with us


Our learning environment reflects our emphasis on experiential learning and critical reflection. Our students have access to dedicated studio spaces and a full range of analogue and digital workshops. These include a photographic darkroom and studios, ceramics and jewellery workshops, digital video editing lab and printmaking and fashion manufacturing facilities.

These facilities provide access to the best traditional processes as well as digital manufacturing tools such as laser cutters, 3D scanners, fabric printers, 3D and direct to media printers.



All of our undergraduate courses offer industry work based placements or work experience opportunities.

Our Design courses have an optional 12 week placement module in term 2 of stage 3 of study.  These placements will be with local, national and internationally based companies related to the course of study or with cultural and creative industries organisations.

Our Fine Art courses offer the opportunity for students to undertake a period of work - based experience with partners and organisations from across the cultural and creative industries sector. These work - based experiences are usually 4 week periods.

Placements provide you with the opportunity to use the skills you have developed while studying, build on them in a real world situation and learn from working alongside professionals.

Affiliations and Industry Links

Gray’s School of Art has long established relationships with industrial partners, creative agencies, and public bodies who invest their time and support in the delivery of live project work, funded awards, and sponsorships in partnership with the School.

Guests@Gray’s involves a series of lectures and seminars delivered by national and international artists and designers, writers and curators.

We are proud to be associated with the following leading organisations, institutions and professional bodies: 

Creative & Cultural Skills is the UK-wide sector skills council for advertising, crafts, design, cultural heritage, music and the arts. 

SIE works nationally to promote and support enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland's students.

The Academy embodies a wealth of professional experience in fine art and architecture with Members taking a leading role in higher education and in many of Scotland's cultural institutions. Gray's School of Art has an outstanding record in the RSA Awards.

Sponsors of the annual Gray's School of Art Degree Show.

Skills Development Scotland helps people of all ages to discover their skills and develop their careers.

Look Again Festival is a celebration of the very best contemporary visual art and design, showcasing both local and internationally acclaimed talent in Aberdeen.

ACES is part of a national project, supported by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which aims to encourage applications from pupils who are often under- represented in art, design and architecture courses at university.


The Gray’s research programme is an innovative and challenging base for practice-led research, in which the application of art or design forms a significant part of the inquiry. The School is a member of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, that provides doctoral training, including support for practice-led PhDs.

We offer research degrees part-time and full-time at MPhil, MRes and PhD level in art and design.

We are particularly interested in applications in the following topic areas:

  • Digital Futures
  • Design in Society
  • Socially Engaged Art Practice
  • Creative and Cultural Ecologies (strengths in NE Scotland, Orkney, and former Yugoslavia)
  • Curatorship
  • Contemporary Craft
  • Smart Textiles and Drawing

Current PhDs in Gray’s School of Art include:

  • The Creative Process: A Strategy for Innovation and Catalyst for Change
  • A Theoretical Framework for Design Practices for Social Innovation
  • Performing The Broken Middle: Socially Engaged Art and its Shadow
  • Placing Sound, The Role Of Aurality And Visuality In Locating Identities  

Gray’s staff are active across a range of contemporary research initiatives and projects, locally, nationally and internationally. The school maintains active research links with key cultural organisations in the city and region, including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Peacock Visual Arts, City Moves dance agency, Grampian Hospital Arts Trust, Deveron Arts Scottish Sculpture Workshop, and Hospitalfield, Arbroath.

Our Research Staff


Our staff have a breadth of experience in teaching and professional practice. 




Starts: Wednesday 08 December 2021

Winter Graduation Ceremony - Wednesday 10:30am

Ceremony for the School of Applied Social Studies, School of Computing, School of Engineering, Gray’s School of Art, School of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences and The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment.

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Published: Friday 08 October 2021

Gray’s Graduates support Aberdeen Plant Theatre for Plant People parade

A vibrant parade takes to the streets of Aberdeen this weekend as British Art Show 9 comes to a close at Aberdeen Art Gallery on Sunday 10 October.

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Published: Wednesday 06 October 2021

Support for early-career artists and recent graduates in Aberdeen

A programme to support upcoming Aberdeen-based artists and curators launches this week as part of Beyond BAS9, Aberdeen’s new contemporary arts programme.

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