NUI Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence

Tuesday, 8 October 2002

Release Date: 8 October, 2002 NUI, Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has announced the appointment of Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin to the position of Sean-Nós Singer in Residence, the first such appointment at the University. In welcoming the appointment, Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, said this latest appointment represents an important extension of the dynamic connection between the University and the performing arts. 'It is a timely acknowledgement of the tradition of Sean-Nós singing as a highly developed and sophisticated art form which is particularly strong in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Through her work at the University and in the wider community, particularly in the Gaeltacht, Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin will bring further distinction to that great tradition.' A native on An Aird Thoir in Carna, Bríd cites her great-uncle, Joe Heaney, her granfather Máirtín Éinniú and her mother Bairbre as formative influences on her singing style. Her first foray into the world of competitive singing was at the inaugural Féile Joe Éinniú in 1986 where she was awarded Corn Joe Éinniú for the most outstanding young singer at the festival. Since then she has won numerous awards including Corn Mháire Nic Dhonnchadha, Corn Sheáin Óig Uí Thuama and Corn Tom Pháidín Tom. She was runner-up in Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas Festival in 2000. Over the coming twelve months, Bríd will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna and at other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. She will also record her own work and that of other singers. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway. For further details, contact Louis de Paor at louis.depaor@nuigalway.ie. Phone: 091 512198 Ends Issued by: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway

Monday, 7 October 2002

Release Date: 7 October, 2002 Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway The new Centre for the Study for Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI, Galway will host its inaugural public lecture entitled On the Contours of Atlantic History on Thursday, 17 October, 2002. The lecture will take place at 8.00 p.m., in the Ó Eocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. Professor Bernard Bailyn, Director of the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, Harvard University will deliver the lecture. All are welcome. Bernard Bailyn has been the most distinguished of the senior historians at Harvard University over the past half century; a fact acknowledged by his appointment in 1981 as the Adams University Professor at Harvard. More recently, he has established and directed the highly successful Harvard International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World. Professor Bailyn s many books have had an Atlantic dimension starting with his influential study of "New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century". After this he immersed himself in the study of the pamphlets which were published to justify the challenge to British authority that culminated in the American Revolution of 1776. The pinnacle of Bailyn s endeavours on this subject was his book "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution", which was awarded both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes in 1968. More recently, he has been engaged in a massive study on emigration described in his book "The Peopling of British North America". The first instalment of this undertaking has appeared under the title "Voyagers to the West: Emigration from Britain to America on the Eve of the Revolution". Besides these and many other books, Bernard Bailyn has been an influential and successful teacher, and has lectured extensively throughout the world. NUI, Galway was awarded €2.5 million by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to establish the Centre for Human Settlement and Historical Change. The award in 2000 under the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions was the largest amount ever given to a university for humanities research. A new purpose-built research centre, which will be officially opened early in 2003, has been built. The Centre will contribute significantly to the understanding of the economic, social, cultural and political factors at work in Ireland, Europe and throughout the world in earlier centuries as well as in the recent past. The Centre will build on existing expertise in NUI, Galway in different areas, including History, Archaeology, Irish Studies and a range of literatures and languages. It will focus the work of some two-dozen established academics and bring within its new dedicated building some thirty young doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. A programme of research into the historical creation of colonies, cultural landscapes and planter societies around the world and in Ireland itself will be carried out at the Centre. It will also research the new worlds in the Atlantic and Pacific produced by Europeans on the move - new worlds that profoundly changed the old world of Europe. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418

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Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway

Monday, 7 October 2002

Release date: 7 October, 2002 Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway Following on from Andrew Folan s highly popular opening talk last Tuesday night NUI, Galway s Talking Through Their Arts series, continues with a presentation by award-winning architect, Paul Kelly at 8pm on Tuesday, 15 October. The talks take place on Tuesdays, at 8pm, in the Ó hEocha theatre at the Arts Millennium building, NUI, Galway. Tickets at €4 / €2 per session are available on the door. Paul Kelly is a partner in Fagan Kelly Lysaght Architects who established practice in 1998. They received joint first prize for their entry to the Smithfield Urban Design Competition in 1991 and second prize in the Third International Yokohama Competition. Most recently they have been shortlisted in the Kildare and Monaghan Civic Offices Competitions and received second prize in the Wolfe Tone Park Design Competition. They have been exhibited, both individually and together, and have received several Architectural Association of Ireland Awards and an AAI Special Mention as well as RIAI Regional Awards 2002, for the Stacey House and Silicon and Software Systems. One of their most recent, exciting design projects has been the Esat Tower at Park West, Dublin. While the primary function of the tower is to support a mobile phone antenna, the architects have given an acceptable face to a potential health hazard through good design, which is carefully mannered and thoughtfully articulated. Paul Kelly will discuss his influences and the hallmarks of good, contemporary design. The series also features distinguished artists: Rita Duffy, Brian Maguire and Maud Cotter. Each works in a variety of media including screenprint, stained glass, public sculpture, painting, video and new technologies. These talks give voice to the individual creative experience and, in so doing shed light on issues in contemporary Irish art. The artists will survey their own work using slides, discuss their art making process and share their thoughts on Irish art today. Details on the wide range of Autumn/Winter arts activities are available from the NUI, Galway Arts Office webpage: www.nuigalway.ie/arts_office Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS

Monday, 25 November 2002

Release date: 25 November, 2002 NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS A new research project about to get underway in NUI Galway is aiming to improve the effectiveness of distance education and teleworking. Project leader Dr. Sam Redfern of the Department of Information Technology at NUI Galway, will explore new ways to alleviate the problems often associated with distance learning and remote working. "Feelings of isolation, lack of team unity, lack of consideration of different learning styles and a lack of effective work task co-ordination are frequently cited as the main inhibitors to working and learning remotely," said Dr. Redfern. Studies show that informal communication accounts for more than twice the amount of work-related discussion in the workplace. This social interaction with colleagues allows trust to be established and is the foundation on which effective work practices are built. This social element is missing from the remote environment and often causes the distant worker and learner to feel isolated and socially deprived of contact with other colleagues. Dr Redfern hopes to address these problems through the use of a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE). The CVE is an online community or computer-enabled virtual place where distant workers and learners can meet and interact with each other and their peers through the use of technology. CVEs have been in existence since the early 1990s and have up to now mostly been used for military and industrial team training, collaborative design and engineering and multi-player games. "Because CVEs are relatively new, the majority of scholarly work to date has focused on their design and implementation. It is only within the past two or three years that any CVE researchers have begun to look beyond these purely technological issues," said Dr. Redfern. Most of the advancements in IT to date have centred on developments in hardware and software. However, this is about to change as more analysts predict that the most exciting research in IT over the next few years will concentrate on designing spaces for human communication and interaction. This will enhance our ability to understand, analyse and create interaction spaces. The research being carried out by Dr. Redfern and his team will greatly aid this process and places NUI Galway at the forefront of this development work in Ireland. Few studies addressing computer-supported co-operative work and human factors have been published to date. "In addition to investigating a number of specific issues, this project will develop a software platform for more varied and long term research and development into the support of dispersed working using CVEs. The intention is for this to become an area of research excellence based in NUI Galway," said Dr. Redfern. The CVE takes distance learning or remote working a step further by 'humanising' the process to provide the user with a much richer and fulfilling experience. Through the use of technology, the communication between remote workers and learners is greatly improved. This is done by capturing the non-verbal communication or body language of the user, which is not conveyed via distance learning or remote working, at present. It has been widely shown that this type of communication is an essential component of social interaction and without it the person often experiences feelings of isolation or loneliness. Satisfying the need for social interaction stimulates more productive work and learning practices. Some of the technologies, which will be used by Dr. Redfern and his team to capture non-verbal communication, include a gesture scripting system, which allows very high-level control, a facial expression selection tool and a facial pose and expression estimation system using digital image processing and pattern recognition. These technologies are designed to be used in a very a non-intrusive way, in an effort to optimise the communication process and make the experience as life-like as possible. Dr Redfern's research is supported by Enterprise Ireland's Advanced Technologies Research programme. Ends For more information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway Tel: 091-750418 / 087-2986592 E-mail: m.mhicuidhir@mis.nuigalway.ie

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CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING

Monday, 18 November 2002

Release date: 18 November, 2002 CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING NUI, Galway is about to launch a dedicated Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). CELT has responsibility for training academic staff on teaching skills, implementing widespread use of the latest educational technologies and managing audio-visual services across the university. Bringing all three together, with the aim of improving the overall learning experience for students and the professional skills of staff, is a unique approach in Ireland. CELT will coordinate a wide range of projects, funded from a variety of sources to the tune of EUR1 million. CELT will offer staff the opportunity to acquire postgraduate level qualifications in education as well as providing one-day workshops and conferences on specific topics such as: educational technology, large and small group teaching, student assessment, course design, etc. This new approach to academic staff development is an international trend, which is only recently emerging in Ireland, according to Dr. Iain MacLaren, the Director of CELT. "It is widely acknowledged now that teaching is very demanding. The continuing professional development of staff is central to meeting evolving educational needs," he said. Technology as a vital tool Academic staff development is just one aspect of CELT. The use of technology in education is another important focus. "Technology is a very effective tool in the provision of education, if properly used. It's important to inform staff about how technology can add value to the overall student learning experience," said Dr. MacLaren. One of the early goals of CELT is the establishment of a virtual learning environment (VLE), which will provide support for campus-based and distance learning courses. The VLE will be powered by a number of industry standard technologies and will be available to both students and lecturers as a useful tool for a wide range of functions including course organisation and delivery, facilitating study groups and submitting coursework. One important aspect of the VLE will be ease of use, making it accessible and inviting for users with all levels of IT ability. Forging links CELT will serve as an important medium to facilitate research and development activities in the field of third level education, particularly through the fostering of international links and collaborative projects. Communication technologies such as video-conferencing will greatly aid this and will allow experts in third level institutions from all over the world to share their knowledge. "CELT will put NUI Galway at the forefront of teaching technologies and will allow the university to take part in many international projects and to keep pace with developments in the field," said Dr. MacLaren. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091-750418 Notes to the editor Dr. Iain MacLaren has been newly appointed by NUI Galway. A native of Scotland, he graduated from Edinburgh University in 1983 with an honours degree in Astrophysics and subsequently obtained a PhD in Cosmology from the University of Durham. He has held a number of research and teaching posts. Much of Dr. MacLaren's work in recent years has been in technologies in education and other aspects of teaching and learning. He has been a partner in several major projects funded by the EC and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. He has provided staff development courses and workshops at a number of Scottish universities and consulted at various levels in aspects of learning technologies and student learning.

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