Some of the past exhibitions that have been organised by the Art and Heritage Collections.




Do SchoolDo’ School Memories: Aberdeen College of Domestic Science Revisited

This exhibition celebrates life as it was for students at the famous Aberdeen College of Domestic Science, otherwise known as the Do’ School. Most of the objects on display have been loaned by members of the College of Domestic Science Former Students’ Association and RGU Art & Heritage Collections thanks them for their help.  Their memories as well as their objects are shared in the exhibition here.  It is the story of their time that is told.




Ade Adesina

Ade Adesina

An exhibition exploring the impact of human behaviour on the environment was on display at Robert Gordon University (RGU).  Ade Adesina’s ‘Heal the World’ exhibition was open to the public from Saturday, February 8, in the Aberdeen Business School and featuring a range of monochrome linocuts and etchings alive with political comment and observations.  Ade, who was born in Nigeria but is now based in Aberdeen, studied Printmaking at Gray’s School of Art, graduating in 2012. Since then, he has exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy’s (RSA) prestigious New Contemporaries event where he picked up three awards and also spent time in Florence on the RSA’s John Kinross Scholarship.  He is currently RSA Artist in Residence at Glasgow Print Studio.

Ade’s work is influenced by his own experiences of travel and depicts the clash of cultures between continents and climates, with landscapes often showing typically Scottish wildlife mingling with those from the African plains.

Among Ade’s work is a piece called Trumped, which shows a hotel in the middle of a golf course overrun by rabbits, while an offshore windfarm turns in the background. Another piece, Hope, features a tree growing out of an abandoned oil rig.

Ade said: “As a traditional printmaker, I work with mostly linocut and etching, combining my African cultural roots with my British culture to produce work that makes people reflect on themselves and their histories.  “My work is a visual commentary around the ideas of ecology and our ever-changing world. I am fascinated by how the human footprint is affecting our planet.

 “Our world is full of wonderful landscapes and I wish to highlight the continual damage caused through things such as deforestation, the politics of energy consumption and endangered wild species.”



Changing Pages

25 Nov 2013 - 7 Jan 2014

Christina Mair - Jekyll and HydeForget e-books and cheap on-line paperbacks. Robert Gordon University’s new library at Riverside East has gone back to single edition hand-printed books, complete with handmade bindings and artist’s illustrations.

Third year Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) and Printmaking students from Gray’s School of Art have added their selection of handmade ‘chap books’ to the ranks of the more conventional volumes which line RGU’s library shelves.  
Aptly opening during the Scottish Book Trust's Book Week Scotland (25 Nov to 1 Dec ) and remaining on display until January 2014, the exhibition featured a range of books that look like fans, butterflies, road maps or luggage tickets and which, when opened, tell familiar stories in new ways.

Download a copy of the event's Poster

NEW TO RGU Exhibition

New to RGU Image

Every year the University Art and Heritage Collections award ‘purchase prizes’ to final year students at Gray’s School of Art and the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, visiting the Degree Shows to select      pieces.

We are recognizing the students’ achievements, and developing a material record of the teaching and study at the Schools.  Objects we have collected this year range from painting and prints to conceptual pieces, designs for industrial products, ceramics, and photography.





Table Matters

. . . a multifaceted mix of cultural rituals applied to dining.

September 18th February - May 2013

tablematters 2An exhibition of European and Asian ceramics which have been collected by Simon Ward, artist and lecturer in 3 Dimensional Design at Gray’s School of Art

This exhibition is intended as a starting point and stimulus for the second year 3 Dimensional Design project at Gray’s School of Art.

Examples of a variety of ceramics including Wedgewood, Midwinter, Hornsea and Denby potteries have been collected from a multitude of sources, including car boot sales and second hand shops.




Probes by Paul Thompson

26th October- 10th February 2013 

Explorations of post-physical printmaking in digital space through data sourcing.

probes standard 200

“Probes” is the product of PhD research by Paul Thompson within the research group Cultures of Representation at Grays School of Art and The Institute for Innovation, Design & Sustainability Research at Robert Gordon University.

Paul Thompson is an artist printmaker who is now completing research at Gray’s School of Art. Since 1979 Paul has been using the computer, the internet and the world wide web in his artistic practice and now uses digital techniques firstly to create his prints, secondly to find new images and methods, and thirdly to share them with viewers and other artists. As the new technologies have developed, online networking and the collaborative possibilities of Web 2.0 became an important tool for the printmaker, as real as a pencil or a brush. Consequently Paul sought to find how these new developments would change the way artists created prints, and viewers viewed them. This has led to the creation of the current exhibition “Probes.”




Alan Turing Intuition and Ingenuity

4th September - 12th October 2012

2012 was thTuring standard 200e 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, one of the greatest minds Britain has ever produced.  This touring exhibition was co-curated by Anna Dumitriu, Sue Gollifer and Nick Lambert and included work by Roman Verostko, boredom research, Paul Brown, Ernest Edmonds, William Latham, Martin A Smith, Sue Gollifer, Anna Dumitriu and Alex May.

Between inventing the digital computer and helping to decode the German Enigma machine, to founding the science of Artificial Intelligence, the world today would have been a very different place without him and his ideas. His work on morphogenesis (the biological processes that cause organisms to grow in a particular shapes) and the now famous “Turing Test” for machine intelligence have captured the imagination of artists for decades whilst his technological developments have given them the tools to create new kinds of artworks.

This exhibition, which takes its name from Turing’s own writing on the subject of mathematical reasoning, brought together a number of important artists from digital art pioneers to emerging contemporaries to investigate Turing’s enduring influence on art and contemporary culture.



The Art of Sylvia Wishart - the lamp in the seaward window

26th March - 20th April 2012

Located in Gray’s School of Art and the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library on the Robert Gordon University Garthdee Campus

 This exhibition, at Gray’s School of Art and the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library presented the first complete survey of the work of Orcadian artist, Sylvia Wishart RSA (1936-2008) to visit the city of Aberdeen. 

Sylvia WishartFrom one of her earliest drawings to the later large-scale paintings, the exhibition allows Sylvia Wishart’s work to be seen in a context that charts her artistic achievement over more than fifty years, and establishes her place as an important and influential Scottish artist.  Sylvia Wishart taught for many years at Gray’s School and was a beloved teacher, friend and inspiration to many students in the 1970s and 80s.  Retiring to her beloved Orkney in 1987, she continued to paint dramatic landscapes and seascapes, exploring the subtle changes in the seasons, the nuances of light and the textures of the land.  The range of her work is reflected fully in this exhibition of some 40 major pieces which, as is appropriate, was organised by the Pier Art Centre, Stromness, an institution which she was instrumental in founding. This long-awaited show at last honours this modest yet much-loved woman, and this artist, so firmly rooted in her remote island home, but whose significance and reputation is on a national and international scale.


More Inside

Recent Work by graduates of Gray’s School of Art and Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, RGU

9th January to 18th March 2012

more inside 2

Every year Art & Heritage Collections acquires examples of work by the graduates of Gray’s and Scott Sutherland’s.  We visit the Degree Shows, and select a winning student from each course, to whom we award a ‘purchase prize’ which enables us to collect some work completed for the Degree examinations.  Supplementary work is also sometimes collected.

In this way, we are protecting the best work by students, developing a material record of the teaching and study at the Schools, and acknowledging the students’ achievements.  Objects we collect range from traditional painting and prints to conceptual pieces, designs for products to be made in industry, ceramics, photography, graphic and digital design, and of course, architectural projects.  This collection is unique in Scotland, and no equivalent institutions methodically collect the best of their output, as we do.


From Mies to Foster: A Conversation Through Journey

From Mies to FosterUntil 30 November 2011
Georgina Scott Sutherland Library, Garthdee

The Robert Gordon University Georgina Scott Sutherland Library is exhibiting a collection of objects depicting a journey through time in their Arts and Heritage Collection.

The works have been selected by Michael Agnew RSA, artist and principal lecturer in printmaking at Gray’s School of Art to mirror his time in Aberdeen.

 The library invited Michael to collaborate in an exhibition which retraces his steps during his 25 years in the Northeast. The artist embarks on an autobiographical journey, triggering memories of pivotal moments and working with fellow artists whilst simultaneously deciphering his own visual code as an artist and teacher.


The Story of Robert Gordon University in 35 Objects

Collections - 35 Objects

21 February - 6 June
Georgina Scott Sutherland Library, Garthdee

An exhibition celebrating the history of the Aberdeen institution through a range of unique objects. The exhibition charted the history of the establishment over the past hundred years, by looking at the objects - from the unusual to the ordinary - which belonged to the Schools and Departments, both past and present, and now form part of the University's Art and Heritage Collections.


Mark Moynihan Portraits 

September 2010 - February 2011

Collections - Mark MoynihanAfter exhibiting a striking series of health worker portraits at Grampian Hospital Art Trust Gallery in 2008, Mark was back with a wider range of fascinating faces. 




David Lloyd - Dwarf Hominids of the North

September 2010 - January 2011

Collections - David LloydDavid' Lloyd's exhibition tells his outrageous tale of miniature skeletal remains supposedly found on the islands and reveals so-called ‘evidence' of these fabled creatures.



New to the University 2010

April 2010 - January 2011

Collections - New to the University 2010An exhibition of recent acquisitions to the University collection in 2010.




An insight into the wonderful archive created by publisher John Murray

January 2010 - March 2010

Collections - John Murray

The John Murray Archive tells in wonderful detail the history of a publishing family at the heart of British and world culture. For over 200 years Murray authors have inspired, influenced and entertained through every possible genre.

When the publishing house of John Murray opened its doors in 1768 it attracted many of the world's greatest thinkers and writers. For over 200 years, Murray authors shaped the modern world through their writings on:

  • Publishing
  • Politics and society
  • Literature
  • Travel and exploration
  • Science


Broadening Minds

October 2009 - January 2010

Collections - Broadening MindsThe exhibition was inspired by the 2009 'Homecoming' celebrations and took a look at some of the Gray's School of Art graduates who had worked away from Scotland.



Mixed Bag

August 2009 - September 2009

Collections - Mixed BagAn exhibition of works from the Gray's School of Art that reflected the changing fashions in ceramics over the years.  



An exhibition highlighting the work of Zaha Hadid Architects

April 2009 - July 2009

Collections - Zaha HadidImagery and project animations were featured, highlighting a few of the major projects carried out by this dynamic architecture practice. Two graduates of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment are highly involved with the work of the practice.

Jim Heverin (1994) is currently project director for the Glasgow Museum of Transport Riverside Project and the 2012 Olympics London Aquatics Centre whilst Simon Yu (1996) is currently Project Leader for the Guangzhou Opera House in China.

Simon Ward: From Journeys East

January 2009 - April 2009

Collections - Simon WardThis exhibition features many abstract objects accumulated during the travels of leading ceramicist Simon Ward to Japan, Korea and China. Found objects also feature as a catalyst for the development of the artists work which concentrates on reusable ceramic items. Early in 2009 Simon Ward was awarded a Visual Art Scotland Richard Coley prize for sculpture and most recently he has received a special award in the Korean World Ceramics Biennale 2009. 


Scotland's Secret War

October 2008 - January 2009

Collections - Scotland's Secret WarThis exhibition featured a National Library of Scotland touring exhibition which uncovered the stories of some of Scotland's leading figures from WWII. The exhibition was supplemented with material which provided an insight into Robert Gordon's Technical College, and the experiences of its staff and students, during war time, in particular the experiences of John S Milne OBE, George Mackie DFC and Leo Clegg DSC.


Richard Ross Robertson: A Retrospective

September 2008 - October 2008

Collections - Richard Ross RobertsonThe sculptor Richard Ross Robertson, who died in 2007, had a long association with the North-East of Scotland and with Gray's School of Art, both as student and as a teacher from 1946 to 1979. Robertson was a sculptor who maintained a respect for the craft required by his materials, at the same time as experimenting with different forms and styles, from figurative to abstract.

Richard Ross Robertson's Gallery

Degree Series 2008

September 2008 - October 2008

Collections - Degree Series 2008The exhibition featured some of the work by the students at the Gray's School of Art.






Isobel Gordon: A 1930s Art Education

August 2008

Collections - Isabel GordonArtwork by Isobel Gordon, who studied at Gray's School of Art from 1936 to 1940 and went on to become a respected art educator. Her work was displayed alongside material by some of her contemporaries, including James Cowie, DM Sutherland and TM Huxley Jones. 





Gray's Short Courses

April 2008

Collections - Gray's Short Courses 2008A selection of the high quality work produced by students attending Gray's School of Art's part-time courses. The short courses offer students an opportunity to develop their interest in Art and Design as a recreational activity or a useful means of building a portfolio and include use of a wide range of media. 

Art & Design: Short Courses

Collections - Mark Moynihan 10 PortraitsMark Moynihan: Ten Portraits

March 2008 - May 2008

The exhibition contained ten portraits of NHS staff members by Gray's School of Art alumni Mark Moynihan. It was on display in tandem with an exhibition at the Grampian Hospital Art Gallery. 

Mark Moynihan's Gallery




Alison Borthwick: A Life in Porcelain

February 2008 - April 2008

Collections - Alison BorthwickAn exhibition of works in porcelain by 1982 Gray's school of art graduate Alison Borthwick. Demonstrating a determination to succeed, in 1989 Alison established the Buchlyvie Pottery located near Loch Lomond. Alison specializes in working with porcelain and has developed no less than seven extensive ranges of tableware, commissioned commemorative pieces, bespoke tile panels and fine porcelain jewellery. Alison has also completed several commissions for the 1997 Turner Prize nominee Christine Borland including Five Set Conversation Pieces, 1998 which is held in the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Alison Borthwich's Gallery

Life Drawing from the Painting Course Collection

January 2008 - February 2008

Collections - Life DrawingsA selection of drawings by Painting students at Gray's School of Art spanning the last 50 years, selected by Francis Convery, Head of Painting, and his colleagues Keith Grant and Andy Cranston. Including work by Alberto Morrocco and Alexander Fraser, these drawings now form part of the University Collections. 


The University Art Collection: Exhibition of Recent Acquisitions

January 2008

A selection of artwork that was recently acquired at the time, for the University Art Collection was shown in the Library at Garthdee. The work on show was all donated to or purchased by RGU and includes pieces by William Littlejohn, Ian McKenzie Smith, Maggie Riegler and TB Huxley Jones, among others.


Drawings from Digs: Archaeological Drawings by Jan Dunbar

September 2007 - December 2007

Collections - Drawings from DigsA selection of work by Aberdeen City Council Archaeological Illustrator and RGU graduate Jan Dunbar was on display in the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library. Jan's artwork was displayed with original artefacts from Aberdeen. Shown alongside preparatory drawings, photographs and finished publications, they gave a glimpse into this fascinating potential career path for Fine Art graduates.

Merlyn Riggs: A Museum of Me

November 2007

Collections - Merlyn RiggsThe exhibition featured work by Merlyn Riggs at the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library at Garthdee.




New York Times: An Exhibition by George Cheyne

July 2007

Collections - George CheyneThe metropolis of New York City is an ever changing place. A boiling pot of humanity crammed into an urban sprawl. The photographs and painting in this exhibition represent a snapshot of Manhattan in the mid eighties when there was a genuine sense of excitement and danger about the place. The city had teeth and it could bite you if you didn't watch your back.


‘Equipped for Life': Gray's School of Art 

June 2007

Collections - Equipped for LifeAn illuminating exhibition at Gray's School of Art, celebrating the School's role in helping its students lay the foundations of successful careers. Several successful alumni are represented by one recent work from the University Art Collection, hung alongside a piece from their student days.

Diverse Threads

February 2007 - May 2007

Collections - Diverse ThreadsInternational textile art from the collection of the Needlework Development Scheme which was started in 1934 to promote needlework as an artform. The RGU Collections hold 112 examples of predominantly European needlework from the collection. However, there are also pieces from places as diverse as Mexico, Paraguay, Tunisia and Zanzibar.


The University Art Collection: Exhibition of Recent Acquisitions 

January 2007 - February 2007

Collections - New to the University 2007A selection of artwork that was recently acquired at the time, for the University Art Collection was shown in the Library at Garthdee.  





Radio Classics

October 2006 - January 2007

Collections - Radio ClassicsDiscover how the transistor revolutionised radio design and see how styles changed over the decades. An exhibition of transistor radios collected by RGU member of staff Tony Thomasson. His collection of transistor radios stems from his hobby of amateur radio where he has been an enthusiastic 'ham' operator since 1964.


Hidden Treasures

June 2006 - September 2006

Collections - Hidden TreasureThe exhibition showcased ceramics from the Robert Gordon University collections. 








Gray's 120

November 2005

Collections - Gray's 120The exhibition was held at Garthdee House in the Scott Sutherland School building to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the Gray's School of Art.  The official opening of the Gray's School of Art building, next to the Art Gallery in Schoolhill, was on the 16th November 1885.

The exhibition included 40 paintings and drawings from graduates and staff of the art school, including examples of work by Robert Brough, D.M. Sutherland, Alberto Morrocco, Ian Fleming, Alexander Fraser and Joyce Cairns, as well as numerous photographs of Gray's staff, students and student life both at Schoolhill and at Garthdee. On display was also a student register from the 1880's which shows the background of those attending art school at that time, plans of the Schoolhill site before and after the School was built, an inscribed palette given by students to John Greig on his retirement as painting teacher in 1935, a full size drawing for one of the stained glass windows at Langstane Kirk in Union Street by John Aiken, a former head of Gray's, and an illustrated address presented to John Gray by the students of the day in acknowledgement of his gift. The Library has also produced a 38 page commemorative booklet with colour plates which accompanied the exhibition.

Cover Versions

October 2005

Collections - Cover VersionsDuring October 2005, the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library hosted a display of book covers. These were student work produced from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's. Students would have been asked to design their own versions of covers for well known novels in keeping with the publisher's house style. Note the advent of decimalisation during this period!

A number of different techniques were used including stone lithography, linocut and letter press printing. Work was done under the instruction of the then Head of Design George Mackie, who was himself awarded the RDI (Royal Designer for Industry) for his work relating to academic book design: while at Robert Gordon's Mackie was a typographical consultant for Edinburgh University Press.