Dugald Cameron (b 1939) is a distinguished figure in the history of The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) whose contribution to the academic and collegiate ethos of the art school is of long standing. He established the seminal joint programme in Product Design Engineering between GSA and the University of Glasgow in 1987 and became GSA’s Director in 1991, retiring in 1999.
These later achievements, however, followed an enterprising and creative career reaching right back to his student days. He enrolled in the Diploma course in 1957, specialising in Industrial Design in his final two years.
In 1961, while still a student in his fourth year, Cameron came into contact with the engineer Tom Brown of the engineering firm Kelvin Hughes, who was engaged in developing the world’s first obstetric diagnostic ultrasound scanner with Professor Ian Donald, Regius Chair of Midwifery in Glasgow. Dugald Cameron was invited to join this team that brought together clinical obstetrics, engineering, electronics and industrial design expertise in order to produce the first commercial prototypes and production scanner machine models. This medical technology is now in routine use worldwide.
Cameron began part-time teaching at GSA in December 1962, a few months after completing his Post-Diploma study. He was freelancing at the same time and continued this independent work alongside teaching practice into the 1980s. He became a full-time senior lecturer and then Head of Product Design at The Glasgow School of Art in 1970, Head of Design in 1982 and, as already noted, he established the seminal Product Design Engineering programme jointly with the University of Glasgow in 1987.
In addition to his work as an industrial designer, educator and academic leader, Cameron is a keen advocate of the daily practice of drawing. His Squadron Prints, reproduced from his paintings of aircraft and other forms of transport, are keenly collected. In addition, Cameron throughout his career displayed his enthusiasm and exceptional energy in helping rescue historical locomotives and aircraft for museums’ collections in the UK.
In 2016, Cameron formally donated material relating to his studies at GSA in Industrial Design to GSA Archives and Collections. This archive provides examples of his work from the general course, diploma studies, and his post-diploma work relating to the development of ultrasound machines.
GSA began to teach Industrial Design, the precursor of the Product Design and Product Design Engineering courses, in the late 1940s, in tune with the drive to modernisation and reconstruction in the UK after the Second World War. Cameron’s folio provides an excellent insight into student projects from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Cameron remains highly active as attested by his work celebrating the RAF’s 100th anniversary in 2018. His paintings are in the collections of the National Museum of Flight, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
A Companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society, he was granted the Baird of Bute Society’s aviation award in 2013. He was awarded the Lord Provost of Glasgow’s Gold Medal for Education in 1998 and appointed an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to Art and Design. That same year he was made an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Strathclyde.
At the University of Glasgow, he is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and in 2021 the University also awarded him an Honorary Doctorate.