Emancipating Our Collections

Glasgow School of Art Library is committed to supporting both institutional and student-led initiatives to diversify the curriculum. This page describes the ways in which we are developing our collections and services to achieve this.

Our Collecting Principles

We strive to be clear, transparent and fair in how we develop and curate our collections, and equality is one of the key principles that inform our decision-making. The Library Collections Strategy outlines what, how and why we buy and manage the resources we do. In particular:

  • We are committed to developing collections that reflect the pluralities of culture, society and experience that constitute today’s world.
  • We recognise our duty to hold collections that stimulate debate and challenge accepted norms.
  • We recognise that the GSA community is international in scope, and that our collections should reflect this.
  • We will always try to ensure that readers are not disadvantaged in their use of our collections.

Assessing the Impact of What We Do

Equality Impact Assessments are undertaken to ensure that a policy or service does not discriminate against disadvantaged, minority or vulnerable people or groups. You can read equality impact assessments for both the Library’s print and e-resources here.

Encouraging You to Shape Our Collections

We actively welcome purchase suggestions for books or DVDs from all members of the GSA community, and are proud to satisfy around 90% of all the suggestions we receive. If you would like to suggest a purchase, let us know here. Our form enables you to tell us when you think a title may help to diversity our collections.

Encouraging You to Work With Our Collections

Read The Hatchery to discover how students, artists, writers and creatives have used our collections to inspire, challenge or expand their practice. In recent years, for example, we have supported GSA student societies the People of Colour Group and Responsive Art & Design Group to showcase collections on race and diversity, and on sustainability and economic empowerment.

Signposting Resources for Equality

Our handy subject guides help you discover books, magazines, databases and more that are relevant to particular themes. We have produced guides for several diversity topics.

Providing Support in Difficult Times

Sometimes academic study, life events, working with others and socialising can leave us feeling a little stressed, tired, upset or even fearful. There are lots of resources available in GSA Library to provide support, and to help you get back on track. Read our useful guide.

Recontextualising Our Special Collections

Henry Hardy Cole (1872) The architecture of ancient Delhi

We have identified a small number of older volumes in our Special Collections that contain writings or images that are problematic for a modern, diverse audience. Some were written from within a 19th century colonial paradigm, for example. Through engagement and workshops, we are planning to work with students, academics, researchers, and student societies to recontexualise and re-present these volumes for modern audiences.

We are also working to develop and grow our World Cultures Collection in order to provide an important counterpoint to an art historical canon based upon European or Western-centric views of art and its production.