Call for artists to develop vision for public art at University riverside campus

Robert Gordon University has today (16 February) launched a plan to develop a new Public Arts Strategy for its extensive riverside campus at Garthdee, and is seeking to appoint an individual or team of artists to create a vision for the integration of the arts within the context of its ongoing campus development.

The University is undertaking a £170m development of its Garthdee Campus which sits by the River Dee, with Phase 1 of the Masterplan due to be completed in Spring 2013.

The Public Arts Strategy aims to establish how the arts can engage with both academic activity, campus development and the wider community by enriching the cultural experience of students, staff and visitors.

Future arts projects can hold a variety of remits such as dealing specifically with the architectural and landscape environments on-site, to schemes aimed at encouraging collaboration between academic disciplines, local communities and industry partners. 

It is envisaged that any future project will include artwork in or around the main entrance to the Garthdee campus, the focal point of which will be the newly constructed Library Tower and Learning Hub. Elements of the project may be permanent whilst others will be temporary or performance-based, also making better use of the University’s substantial art and heritage collections.

The park-like riverside environment also offers opportunities to promote ecological engagement.

Professor Harris, Head of Gray’s School of Art at RGU, comments:

“The nature of public art is diverse and engages with people in different ways, from a simple permanent piece of art, to distributed artefacts, performances or events.

“We’re looking for proposals which will contribute to a sense of a connected campus environment, creating common themes to link buildings together but also helping to retain the individual identities of various schools whilst fostering interaction across disciplines.”

Pat Briggs, Vice-Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Planning and Resources) adds:

“In developing a Public Arts Strategy, we want to promote academic and social cohesion as well as highlight the University as respectful and welcoming of its neighbours by engaging with the surrounding community.

“The appointed artist or team will use a creative approach, drawing on the existing or planned features, characteristics and infrastructure of the site and incorporate them into the final strategy.

The Strategy will contribute to RGU’s achievement in its vision of creating an outstanding campus known for its active and varied academic, social, cultural and recreational facilities.”

Professor Harris continues:

“A vibrant public art approach is an exciting way to bring the academic community together with the wider community in Garthdee and beyond. I hope the call will bring in ideas that are inventive, challenging and engaging, offering real benefits to students, staff and visitors to the campus long into the future.

“The University aspires to be integral to Aberdeen’s future and regional ambition by further developing its leadership role in cultural provision. I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas for a strategy which will have lasting impact on the Garthdee campus.”

Applications are invited from individuals, partnerships or agencies to work closely with the University to create a vision for the site and assist in the development of briefs for future projects. The successful candidate(s) will report to the Campus Arts Development Panel.

For application information, please contact Stephen Keith on 01224 262059 or email Applications should be submitted no later than 5pm on 7 March 2012.


Issued by:
Sarah Grieve
Communications Officer
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206


Notes to Editors:

  • Photographs of the Masterplan development and Professor Paul Harris are available on request from the Communications Office.
  • Interviews with Professor Paul Harris can be arranged via Sarah Grieve (details above).
  • The full brief can be viewed at: