NUI Galway joins Burren College of Art to deliver first Irish Master of Fine Art

Thursday, 18 April 2002

Release date: 19 April, 2002

NUI Galway joins Burren College of Art to deliver first Irish Master of Fine Art

The spectacular beauty of the Burren in Co. Clare has for long been a source of inspiration for artists, writers and poets. Amid this startling landscape of megalithic tombs, caverns and castles, craggy lunar-like rocks and Arctic and Mediterranean flora stands the 16th century Newtown Castle. In its courtyard stands the Burren College of Art (BCA), which was founded in 1994 and has since achieved an international reputation for the quality of the courses it provides. In a significant development, National University of Ireland, Galway has now joined BCA to deliver the first Irish Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme.

Ms. Síle de Valera, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, will officially launch the programme in the Burren College of Art at 3.00 p.m, on 19 April, 2002. MFA students will be based in the Burren College of Art, which provides state-of-the-art facilities including modern studios, lecture theatre, library, dark room and photographic facilities and sculpture workshop. Students will be enabled to express their art in a variety of traditional and non traditional media including but not limited to painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, site-specific work, land art and text-based work. Tuition will be provided by resident faculty as well as international, cutting-edge visiting artists from The Royal College of Art in London, -the number one graduate school of art & design in the UK and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), which has been consistently ranked the number one graduate school of fine arts in the U.S. Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art in London, said 'The new MFA at the Burren College of Art is a major step forward for a school which has already made its mark on the art education scene. The MFA will enable it, through specialisation, to make an even more distinctive contribution'.

Both Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling and Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SAIC will speak at the launch. Carol Becker said "The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has worked closely with the Burren College of Art since its inception. We have watched it become a first rate art school deeply wedded to its locality but also well positioned within a larger global world of art and art making. We are very excited to be part of this new initiative. It will harness a breadth of intellectual and creative energy from the institutions involved and provide a rich, creative experience for all who enter into the programme as students."

Elective studies of the MFA programme will take place at NUI, Galway. This will enable the students to broaden their field of knowledge and also to study intercultural aspects of visual media. Opportunities for co-operative work in areas such as performance art, text and image and writing will be facilitated. "The undertaking of this MFA programme, the first such programme in Ireland, in association with the Burren College of Art, marks a further significant development in NUI Galway s strategic commitment to expanding the higher education opportunities both in Clare and throughout the Western region," said Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway. "We look forward to a very fruitful and mutually enriching partnership with an institution which has already established its credentials in the field of art education at home and abroad .

Mary Hawkes-Greene, President of the Burren College of Art said Just as the Burren reflects an interplay of a macrocosm of giant boulders with a microcosm of unique plants, the MFA programme I envisage combines the resources of a large university and international associates with the creative space and individuality of a small college. It synthesises diverse elements of tradition and cutting edge, the local and the global, placing students at the interface of artistic currents.

The two-year, full-time postgraduate programme, which will commence in September 2003, will enable graduates to

  • Produce a final exhibition, the quality of which will demonstrate that they have acquired the confidence, skills and maturity necessary to function as successful artists
  • Be able to critically evaluate their own work and that of their peers, informed by contemporary fine art practice
  • Exhibit strong expressive and communicative
  • Display increased intellectual capabilities and more advanced understanding of the philosophical and cultural concerns shared by contemporary fine artists

Ends

Information from: Eleanor Franklin, Director of Communications Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. T. 065-7077200 /F. 065-7077201

Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway T. 091-750418 / mobile 087-2986592

Note for Editors:

Burren College of Art

  • Established in 1994 against the backdrop of Newtown Castle with its fully restored minstrel's gallery and its striking circular rooms
  • All College amenities are newly constructed providing state-of-the art facilities for students
  • Situated 3km from Ballyvaughan and 40 minutes from Galway city
  • Provides study programmes in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, which are incorporated into the following:
  • Four year Bachelor of Fine Arts Residency Programme
  • Two 15-week BFA Semester Programmes
  • Annual Summer Schools
  • Hosts Annual Spring Conference and Burren Law School (theme for May 2002: "Identity and the Law").

National University of Ireland Galway

  • Founded in 1845
  • Seven Faculties: Arts, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science
  • Student population: 12,000
  • Arts Postgraduate Programmes include: MA in Theatre Studies; MA in Publishing; MA in Conquest and Colonialism
  • Consistently promoting the Arts in the West of Ireland by hosting a Writer-in-Residence twice annually in both the Irish and English languages; Organising Public Lecture series in Art and Literature; and hosting the only Ensemble-in-Residence in the West of Ireland
  • Academic excellence and cosmopolitan atmosphere encourage creativity and experimentation in music, drama and literature.

Carol Becker is Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of numerous articles and several books including: The Invisible Drama: Women and The Anxiety of Change; The Subversive Imagination: Artist, Society, and Social Responsibility; Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions, Gender and Anxiety; and, most recently Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformation and the Changing Politics of Art.

Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling Rector of Royal College of Art in London, and Professor of Cultural History there. Established pioneering postgraduate courses in the history of design, modern cultural theory and the conservation of artefacts and visual arts administration. On New Year's Eve 2000 he was knighted for ''services to art and design and education''. An historian, a critic and a broadcaster he is well known for his work on BBC Radio and Television. His '6 part television series ' The Art of Persuasion' about advertising, won a Gold medal at the New York Film & Television Festival. Other broadcasts have won awards and critical acclaim. He has publiushed over a dozen books and numerous articles on visual culture, design and history, over the last 25 years. Sir Frayling was the longest serving member of the Arts Council of England.

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