The Alasdair Gray Archive is a free, public resource which was established in March 2020 after Alasdair Gray’s death in late 2019.
We are a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with the registration number 052417 and fundraise to deliver our program of activities. Our delivery and strategic planning is delivered by our Custodian in collaboration with our Board, we also seek support from others including our Critical Friends.
Who was Alasdair Gray?
Alasdair Gray was born in 1934 in Riddrie, Glasgow. Often referred to as a polymath, he dedicated his life to ‘making imagined objects’ across space and form. He made poems, plays, short stories, novels, political essays, marginalia, typeset and designed his books and those of others, created murals, paintings, drawings and prints. Both an artist and writer from an early age, Gray has (until recently) been best-known for his literary output, however his previously neglected work as a visual artist has seen more recent recognition due to the support from his gallerist and friend Sorcha Dallas.
Gray was arguably the most acclaimed and most influential writer in post-war Scotland. His 1981 debut novel, Lanark, is widely seen as ushering in a fertile period not only for Scotland’s literature but for its arts as a whole. In the words of Scotland’s ex-Makar and Gray contemporary Liz Lochhead, ‘he is partially responsible for transforming that landscape’.
He was a proud supporter of socialism, believing in a fair and equitable society. He lived by these principles, paying assistants at the same rate of pay as himself and valuing the ability for everyone to have the right to the freedom of thought that culture provides. This was most notable in his support of libraries and the belief in the transformative power of literature and the arts. As a child he would use books to travel and experience different worlds and cultures from his bedroom in Riddrie. This had a profound effect on Gray and is a cornerstone of the aims and objectives of The Alasdair Gray Archive. To offer that space to others, to escape and learn about themselves and others and to travel back inspired by what they have learnt.
Who We Are
The Alasdair Gray Archive is a free, public resource which was established in March 2020 after Alasdair Gray’s death in late 2019. We are a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with the registration number 052417 and fundraise to deliver our program of activities. Our delivery and strategic planning is delivered by Sorcha Dallas, our Custodian, in collaboration with our Board, we also seek support from others including our Critical Friends.
Our current board is: Monica Callaghan (Chair), Dougie Smith (Secretary), Andy Bell (Treasurer), Judit Bodor (Trustee), Laura Frood (Trustee).
This document outlines how we will work to:
- Promote, protect and advance visual and literary arts for the public benefit with particular emphasis (although not exclusively) on works created by Alasdair Gray.
- Advance the knowledge of the life and work of Alasdair Gray through exhibitions, commissions, research and publications.
- Foster, promote and develop education opportunities in relation to the work of Alasdair Gray.
- Create an archive of key works to serve as a source of information about the life and work of Alasdair Gray and to provide public access to this collection.
- Support and inspire others through the provision of tiered series of awards, residencies, student placements and commissions.
The Alasdair Gray Archive became a registered charity in 2023, Scottish Charity Number: SC052417. It holds both Gray’s family collection as well as recent acquisitions & donations acquired by the Archive. When you visit us it is like walking into Alasdair’s front room with the objects & items that surrounded him, many of which feature in his work. This collection consists of original visual artworks, sketches and drawings, Gray’s original prints made with Glasgow Print Studio and Edinburgh Printmakers, a restaging of his working studio set up, a section of his personal library, all Gray publications (including those he designed for others) as well as a section of literary papers, photographs and correspondence all held there for research & learning purposes.
Extending our Collection
We reflect the collaborative way in which Alasdair worked, supporting overlooked and marginalised voices, by sharing the stories of others and making the archive a reflection of who he was as a person & practitioner. This approach is mirrored in our deposit scheme where sections of the archive are dedicated to others. A focus over the next few years is to create an Agnes Owens Archive (with support from her family) to share the story of the supportive and nurturing personal and professional friendship they shared.
How to visit
The Archive is free and open to all, please get in touch via email, email@example.com or social media (links in footer) to book your visit today.
The work of the Archive is supported by the following organisations:
Grants & Awards:
The Scottish Government
The National Archive ‘Archives Revealed’ Scoping Grant
Rebuilding Heritage Mentoring Support
Glasgow Life Arts Development Grant
Museums Galleries Scotland ‘Surviving to Thriving Business Support Program’
Graduate Careers Advantage Scotland
The Glasgow School of Art