Edinburgh College of Art is an art school in Edinburgh which provides degree level education in a range of art and design subjects. It became part of the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Its origins date back to 1760 and until the merger it had developed a reputation as one of the UK's most successful independent art colleges. The staff are mainly established artists, designers, writers, architects and curators, and many have international reputations.
The college attracts high quality students from all parts of the UK, Europe an beyond. At any given time there can be 70 different nationalities represented in the student community. The college occupies premises in Lady Lawson Street, close to the Grassmarket in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.
In 1760, the Board of Trustees for Fisheries, Manufactures and Improvements in Scotland established the "Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh" with the stated aim of training designers for manufacturing industries. The Academy originally occupied premises in Picardy Place, but in 1826 moved to the Royal Institution building, now the Royal Scottish Academy on The Mound. The Master of the Academy was always an eminent artist, and over time the focus shifted from design and applied art to include fine art. From 1858 the Academy was taken over by the Science and Art Department of the UK Government and became the Government School of Art for Edinburgh, while a separate School of Applied Art was also established.
In 1903 the two art schools combined, and in 1907 became Edinburgh College of Art under the control of the Scottish Education Department. The newly created college moved to new premises on Lady Lawson Street, on a site which had previously been a cattle market. A new Architecture Building was added to the east end of the college in 1961, and in 1972 the Hunter Building completed the college premises as you see them today.
Between 1968 and 2004 the college was associated with Heriot-Watt University for the awarding of degrees. Since 2004, degrees gained at the Edinburgh College of Art have been awarded and validated by the University of Edinburgh. In 2005 the College collaborated with Napier University to launch the Screen Academy Scotland, a new centre of excellence offering practical, project-based, postgraduate courses in aspects of film making. On 1 August 2011 the Edinburgh College of Art merged with the University of Edinburgh to become a new Edinburgh College of Art within the University offering courses in Art, Design, Music, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and History of Art.
Notable People Associated with Edinburgh College of Art