150 years of Mackintosh

Press release   •   Mar 20, 2018 15:25 GMT

A campaign to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of world-renowned architect, designer and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his lasting legacy in Glasgow has received a major boost from the national tourism organisation.

Glasgow Life, Glasgow Mackintosh and Scotrail have been awarded £40,000 from the VisitScotland Growth Fund to support the three organisations in coming together to promote a programme of events and highlight the rich Mackintosh experiences that can be enjoyed in the city during 2018 and beyond.

The funding award for Mackintosh 150 – which was announced at the Glasgow Tourismand Visitor Plan Conference today (20 March) – will utilise social media, video, PR and media partnerships to promote a special 150th anniversary programme of events to Scottish day trippers and short break visitors. The campaign will also involve partnership work to encourage UK and international visitors to make the trip to Glasgow.

Mackintosh 150 is being co-ordinated by Mackintosh heritage partners from across Glasgow and beyond. As well as commemorating his remarkable achievements and creative genius as an architect, artist and designer, the campaign provides a focal point in safeguarding Mackintosh legacy for future generations, inspiring more young people to take an interest in art and design and promoting his unique portfolio for visitors and tourists.

The significance of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has also been identified as one of the key drivers of the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023, which aims to grow the city’s economy by increasing overnight leisure tourism visits by one million over the next six years.

Born in Glasgow on June 7th 1868, Mackintosh is considered one of the principal exponents of the Glasgow Style. He went on to be regarded as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century and a leading figure in both the Scottish Arts and Crafts Movement and European Art Nouveau. Glasgow is home to the world’s pre-eminent collection of Mackintosh buildings, drawings and designs, which can be explored at venues across the city as well as at two key attractions in nearby Helensburgh.

Throughout 2018, a special celebratory programme of Mackintosh 150 events will be rolled out in the city, including openings, exhibitions, workshops and talks across Mackintosh venues, as well as Mackintosh themed menus in restaurants.

Activity will be phased to coincide with key milestones, from the opening of a major new Mackintosh exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum at the end of March to his actual birthday in June and the opening of Mackintosh at The Willow, the redevelopment of his original tearoom design in Sauchiehall Street due to re-open later this year.

Liz Buchanan, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director MBE, said: “Glasgow Life, Glasgow Mackintosh and Scotrail have seized the opportunity of Mackintosh’s 150th birthday with a formidable year-round campaign, and we are delighted to join forces with them to make sure that the anniversary delivers for Glasgow.

“Nowhere else in the world can offer the experience of our unique Mackintosh heritage, and so ‘Mackintosh 150’ makes this a milestone year for the city – one that will see us well on our way to achieving the Glasgow Tourism & Visitor Plan’s target of an extra million visitors by 2023.

“It’s also great to see how well the partners have aligned the campaign with the national Year of Young People 2018, inspiring a new generation of artistic talent and creating the Mackintosh fans who will sustain his legacy for many years to come.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We are delighted to have this support from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund. It will allow us to deliver innovative activity and work collaboratively with partners to promote the exciting, multifaceted Mackintosh 150 programme, which provides a fantastic opportunity, in this landmark year, for visitors to explore Mackintosh’s legacy and the wealth of buildings and attractions to be enjoyed in the city, from House for an Art Lover and The Lighthouse to The Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross.

“Charles Rennie Mackintosh is part of the very fabric of Glasgow. As a city, we’re home to the world’s pre-eminent Mackintosh collection and whilst examples of his work can be found in museums across the globe, his significant built legacy, together with every aspect of his production – his furniture, fittings, drawings, letters and art – is almost exclusively held in the city. Anyone who wants to experience and enjoy Mackintosh’s output in its fullest sense must make the trip to Glasgow. As such, his cultural legacy is one of our prime pillars for tourism growth and is central to our destination marketing in the UK and internationally.”

The VisitScotland Growth Fund supports collaborative tourism marketing projects which focus on growth and ensure that visitors experience the true Spirit of Scotland. To be eligible for a Growth Fund award, applicants must place a strong emphasis on digital marketing and the creation of digital content assets

For more information on Glasgow Life, visit

To find out more about the VisitScotland Growth Fund, go to


Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.