Rebecca Xu awarded the Foulis Medal for top graduating Masters student for her postgraduate project “Where Do You Come From?” exploring multi-cultural identity

MDes in Design Innovation & Collaborative Creativity graduate Rebecca Xu has been presented with the 2023 Foulis Medal today, Tuesday 21 November 2023. The medal, which is awarded to the top student on a taught Masters programme at The Glasgow School of Art, was presented at Winter Graduation in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Top students in the five Schools were meanwhile awarded Chair’s Medals: Kesong Cui (MDes Interior Design), Laura O’Connor (MSc Heritage Visualisation), Tianyu Zhang (MArch Studies programme), Rosie Collier (MLitt Curatorial Practice) and Ebby Lai (MDes Design Innovation & Service Design).

"Today we mark an important moment for our postgraduate students as they move forward into the next stage of their creative development.

They step out into new opportunities for their creative careers as artists, designers, architects and innovators, taking the skills they have learned during their time here at The Glasgow School of Art” says Professor Penny Macbeth, Director of The Glasgow School of Art.

“Art schools are powerhouses of creativity and innovation that have a vital role to play in addressing the most urgent issues facing today’s society. Our graduates produced fascinating and ground-breaking bodies of work during their time at the GSA, engaging with themes that cut across many of these most pressing concerns. They challenge the way we see things and question the world around them.”

“Now they join our global Creative Network of graduates who are applying ingenuity and imagination across many different disciplines and sectors, making an invaluable contribution not just to Glasgow’s own creative economy, but to the city’s global reputation as a centre for culture, creativity and innovation. We wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

Rebecca Xu’s postgraduate project “Where Do You Come From?” probes the complexities of cultural self-identification, exploring the authentic stories of 26 individuals from diverse backgrounds spanning nearly a century. The project takes the form of a book, over 25,000 words long, which shares in-depth personal interviews that offer insights from immigrants, mixed-race individuals and perspectives on politics' impact on identity. In amplifying the voices of mixed-race and third-culture individuals in the book, Xu illustrates the shared struggles and challenges we all experience finding our place in the world, displacing stereotypes of race, class and culture in favour of a more expansive humanity. Xu’s project aims to make space for rarely-heard perspectives and inspire reflection; expanding horizons, bridging gaps and ultimately sparking meaningful discussions beyond its pages.

“Rebecca’s work demonstrates the power of design to go beyond material invention and explore personal and national identity. Her work has generated and shared stories that would otherwise have remained untold, allowed her participants to celebrate their individual and family histories – to see themselves as citizens and of countries and products of history. In an era when the UK is still struggling to deal with the consequences of the Windrush scandal, such work is timely, relevant and powerful. This is Design Innovation exploring our shared histories to create a discussion about what tomorrow will look like.”

Professor Gordon Hush, Head of The School of Innovation & Technology.

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