Help For Art School Students After Fire

Students who lost work after fire swept through a "truly unique'' building at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) will be given special bursaries.

The scheme will help give students studio time to develop new work and rebuild their portfolio following the blaze at the world-renowned Charles Rennie Mackintosh building on Friday.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond also announced that funds raised by the institution to restore the building to its former glory will be matched by the Scottish Government, with up to £5 million being offered.

About 200 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at its height and the fire service has been widely praised after crews salvaged 90% of the structure and saved up to 70% of its contents.

As well as housing one of Europe's leading art schools, the listed Mackintosh-designed building is a tourist attraction in its own right.

Completed at the turn of the 20th century, it was voted as the best building of the past 175 years in a poll by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba).

Professor Tom Inns, director at the art school, said: "The beating heart of the GSA is its students and our priority is to ensure that all those most seriously affected by the fire are given the opportunity to rebuild their practice.

"The GSA will therefore create special bursaries which will enable the students have sufficient studio time to develop their practice and make new work.''

Mr Salmond also announced that ministers would work with GSA to develop the bursaries scheme.

He said: "The Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art is truly unique and last week's fire was a devastating blow for students and staff as well as the wider arts and architecture community worldwide.

"The very severe damage to the building's iconic library, in particular, is a cultural loss of significant magnitude.

"The Mack is an extraordinary building. It is an architectural gem and the artistic heart of Glasgow. It can and will be restored, and everything which can be done must be done to deliver this.''

The funding announcement comes as a team of 35 specialist conservation staff from Historic Scotland have been sent to the building as part of the salvage operation.

The main part of the damage caused was in the 1907- 09 part of the building, including the loss of the unique library.

However, the 1897-99 part of the building has survived intact, including the Mackintosh Museum, Mackintosh Room, the director's office and studio, boardroom and furniture gallery.

The archives have also survived.

A joint investigation between the fire service and Police Scotland is working to identify the cause of the blaze.