The director of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has resigned amid persisting questions over the college’s stewardship of the Mackintosh building
Tom Inns quit his role on Friday afternoon (2 November). During his five years in the job, the landmark building was twice gutted by fire.
In a tribute to Inns, chair of the GSA Board Muriel Gray said he ‘has had the most challenging tenure at the helm of GSA and we are truly grateful for all his enormous commitment and hard work’.
Inns’ resignation follows a difficult period for the GSA board, which has faced questions from a Scottish parliamentary committee over its protection of the building.
Last week, MSPs were told that both the GSA and Kier Construction – the contractor overseeing rebuilding works – had set up offices within the building before the fire, with some claiming this was in breach of fire regulations.
In October, the committee was told that the Mac should be removed from the GSA’s control.
Former GSA employee Eileen Reid, one-time head of widening participation, said the school should step aside from the rebuild and concentrate on teaching students.
Until a successor has been appointed, the GSA will be led by the school’s deputy directors, Irene McAra-McWilliam and Ken Neil.
In a statement, Inns said he would miss the ‘creative energy’ of the GSA’s staff and students, adding: ‘Since the fire in June 2018, just months before the building was to be handed back to GSA, we’ve worked tirelessly to stabilise the building as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to our local community, and to reopen our own campus for the new academic year.
‘I have led GSA through the challenges of fire recovery twice and a restoration of the Mackintosh Building, whilst simultaneously extending GSA’s global reputation, delivering growth, opening up opportunities for disadvantaged students and transforming other parts of GSA’s estate.
‘It is now time for a new director to work with the board to deliver the future vision for GSA.’
The committee’s next evidence session, which will hear from GSA chair Muriel Gray, will be on 15 November.