Royal Scottish Academy
The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) is a Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 organisation that promotes contemporary
Contemporary art
Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II. The definition of the word contemporary would support the first view, but museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced...

 Scottish art
Scottish art
The history of Scottish art which we can take to mean the visual art produced within the modern political boundary of Scotland since the earliest times, forms a distinctive tradition within British and European art...

. Founded in 1826, as the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts, the RSA maintains a unique position in Scotland as an independently funded institution led by eminent artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

s and architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s to promote and support the creation, understanding, and enjoyment of visual arts through exhibitions and related educational events. The RSA is separate from the Royal Academy
Royal Academy
The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, though there are links between the two organisations.


In addition to a continuous programme of innovative and exciting new exhibitions, the RSA also administers scholarships, awards, and residencies for artists who live and work in Scotland. The RSA's historic collection of important artworks and an extensive archive of related material chronicling art and architecture in Scotland over the last 180 years are housed in the Dean Gallery
Dean Gallery
The Dean Gallery is an art gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is part of the National Galleries of Scotland. It was opened in 1999, opposite the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which is its sister gallery. As the result of a rebranding exercise in 2011, the buildings have now been...

, and are available to researchers by appointment. Displays of the historic collections are mounted whenever possible.

Its home since the 1850s has been the Royal Scottish Academy Building
Royal Scottish Academy Building
The Royal Scottish Academy Building, situated in the centre of Edinburgh, was designed by William Henry Playfair during the 19th century. Along with the adjacent National Gallery of Scotland, their neo-classical design helped transform Edinburgh in to a modern day Athens of the North.The building...

 on The Mound
The Mound
The Mound is an artificial hill in central Edinburgh, Scotland, which connects Edinburgh's New Town and Old Town. It was formed by dumping around 1,501,000 cartloads of earth excavated from the foundations of the New Town into the drained Nor Loch which forms today's Princes Street Gardens. The...

, Princes Street
Princes Street
Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, and its main shopping street. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh's New Town, stretching around 1 mile from Lothian Road in the west to Leith Street in the east. The street is mostly closed to private...

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, adjacent to the National Gallery of Scotland
National Gallery of Scotland
The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is the national art gallery of Scotland. An elaborate neoclassical edifice, it stands on The Mound, between the two sections of Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens...

 (NGS). The building is managed by the National Galleries of Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland are the five national galleries of Scotland and two partner galleries. It is one of the country's National Collections.-List of national galleries:* The National Gallery of Scotland* The Royal Scottish Academy Building...

 but the 1910 Order grants the RSA permanent administration offices in the building. Exhibition space is shared throughout the year with the NGS and other organisations (Exhibiting Societies of Scottish Artists). The building, originally designed by William Henry Playfair
William Henry Playfair
William Henry Playfair FRSE was one of the greatest Scottish architects of the 19th century, designer of many of Edinburgh's neo-classical landmarks in the New Town....

, was recently refurbished as part of the Playfair Project
Playfair Project
The Playfair Project created an underground link between the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy Building. The project was named after William Henry Playfair, the original designer of both buildings...

, and is also used by the National Galleries of Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland are the five national galleries of Scotland and two partner galleries. It is one of the country's National Collections.-List of national galleries:* The National Gallery of Scotland* The Royal Scottish Academy Building...



The RSA is led by a body of eminent artist and architect members who encompass a broad cross-section of contemporary Scottish art. Members are known as Academicians, and are entitled to use the postnominal letters RSA. Academicians are elected to the Academy by their peers. There are also Honorary
An honorary position is an unpaid position. Other uses include:* honorary title — awarded as a mark of distinction** honorary citizenship — awarded to aliens who have rendered service to the state...

 Academicians (HRSA), including the RSA's patron, the Duke of Edinburgh. After amendments to the Supplementary Charter in 2005, once Associates have submitted a Diploma work into the Permanent Collection of the RSA, they are then entitled to full membership of the Academy. The membership includes 30 Honorary Academicians and 104 Academicians. As of 2010, the RSA President is Professor Bill Scott, Secretary Arthur Watson and Treasurer Professor Ian Howard.
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