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.

1st in Scotland for graduate prospects in Art (Guardian University Guide 2022).

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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 semester 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. 

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.

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. 




Gray’s Graduate in Residence

The Graduate in Residence scheme enables Gray’s graduate fine artists and designers with recognised expertise and experience to participate in the delivery of the fine art/design curriculum.

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Gray's Degree Show

Capturing the talents and achievements of our final year students at Gray’s School of Art.

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Gray’s School of Art Student Projects

At Gray’s School of Art, our students gain valuable professional skills through project work and interaction with industry.

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Student & Graduate Stories - Art, Design and Fashion

Graduates of Gray’s School of Art go on to have exciting and inspiring careers. Read their stories to learn more about their journeys once graduating.

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Gray's School of Art - Open Day Presentations

Download our Open Day presentations for further insight into each of our undergraduate course curriculums and our application process.

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Mobile Art School

Mobile Art School is an outreach project, aimed at engaging and connecting schools across Aberdeen and beyond, to improve the awareness and understanding of the creative industries.

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Art and Design - Short Courses

The Gray’s School of Art Short Course programme catered for more than 700 part-time students each year.

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Look Again

Look Again Aberdeen is based at Gray's School of Art and delivers exhibitions, talks, design markets and the Look Again festival, as well as programmes and events to support and grow the art and design community in the North East of Scotland, developing employability and encouraging retention of creative talent in the region.

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Virtual Tour of Gray's School of Art

Can't visit in person? Take a virtual tour of Gray's School of Art and its facilities.

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Latest News and Events for Gray's School of Art


Published: Wednesday 05 October 2022

Guest@Gray’s brings new programme of free art talks to the North East

A new programme of regular Guest @Gray’s talks launches this autumn, bringing contemporary national and international artists, designers, writers and curators to audiences online and in person across Scotland.

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Published: Friday 30 September 2022

New project to support creatives who are Black People and People of Colour

Gray’s School of Art’s creative unit, Look Again, at Robert Gordon University (RGU) is launching a new project, in partnership with the community interest charity, We Are Here Scotland, to encourage creatives and artists who are Black People and People of Colour (BPoC).

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Published: Thursday 22 September 2022

RGU Creative Entrepreneur connects creatives with 'Shop Small Aberdeen’

An Aberdeen entrepreneur from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Creative Entrepreneurship Programme has set up ‘Shop Small Aberdeen’ as an alternative way for business in the North East.

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