Development of degree programme for Sherkin Island
The BA in Visual Art is a full-time honours degree programme for communities that are geographically / socially distanced from higher education institutions. It was developed and designed by the School of Art, Design & Printing at the Dublin Institute of Technology in collaboration with the Sherkin Island Development Society (SIDS) following the delivery of a pilot programme in Art & Culture between 2000 and 2004. The BA in Visual Art represents a real innovation in outreach delivery and partnership in education. It explicitly engages with the particularities of the context in which the community is located and fosters a critical understanding of the community's cultural and economic relationship with the perceived centre.
Participants on the pilot programme with Noel Dempsey TD, Minister for Education & Science in 2004 after receiving their certificates. Majella O'Neill Collins (artist resident in Sherkin and facilitator on the programme) is in the back row far right and beside her is Bernadette Burns, Lecturer in Fine Art at DIT and Programme Leader of BA in Visual Art.
Delivery of the new degree programme commenced in January 2008 with 14 participants from the original pilot programme. This delivery was facilitated by a significant grant made to SIDS by An Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gealteachta, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The programme was launched officially by Éamon Ó Cuív TD on 26 April 2008. Click here for information on the launch event.
In September 2008 twenty-one new first year students joined the programme. Recruitment will continue on a bi-annual basis with a new intake of first year students every second year.
Dublin Institute of Technology is Ireland's largest educational institution with a total student population of 21,000. The DIT is committed to social inclusion. The Faculty of Applied Arts is a pioneering educational leader in the creative, visual and performing arts and media in the country. It provides a wide range of innovative, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional-level educational and research programmes in film, broadcasting, audio, art and design, music, photography, journalism, public relations, printing and publishing, animation, and computer imaging, multimedia, and the management of the new information and communication technologies. Programmes are offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and all share a strong commitment to linking creative practice with critical theory and new technology. The Faculty's underlying philosophy is to provide education and raining in the key disciplines within the cultural industries while also acknowledging the significant technological and cultural changes that are currently happening.
The Sherkin Island Development Society (SIDS) was established in 1994 as a co-operative. Since its first success in 1984 in building and opening the Community Hall, it has researched, submitted and implemented many projects of educational, economic, social and cultural benefit to the community. Both independently and as a member of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann it liaises with and lobbies administrative, development and government bodies at all levels, in relation to island development issues. Island Life, a quarterly publication by Comhdháil published an article about the BA in Visual Art in the Spring 2008 edition, 'A Chance to Study Visual Art in Sherkin Island'.
West Cork Arts Centre (WCAC) was established in 1985 in Skibbereen, Co. Cork. It is a publicly-funded arts facility that creates opportunities for the people of West Cork to have access to, and engagement with local and global arts practice of excellence. It works with local, national and international artists, arts organisations and other agencies to develop a programme of exhibitions that offers the people of West Cork a broad an in-depth experience of contemporary visual arts.