Éamon Ó Cuív launches exciting new degree programme
On Saturday 26 April 2008 Sherkin Island, off the coast of Baltimore in
West Cork, hosted Éamon Ó Cuív TD who officially launched a full
Honours Degree programme in Visual Art. This is a hugely innovative and
significant educational development for the West Cork region as Sherkin
is the first island location to host such a course.
This four-year modular honours degree programme offers a dynamic and creative education in the visual arts and is fully accredited, managed and delivered by the Dublin Institute of Technology.
From left: Brid Grant, Director, Faculty of Applied Arts; John O¹Connor, Head, Art, Design & Printing; Tommy Cooke, Head of Community Links; Jen Harvey, Head of Lifelong Learning.
The programme evolved from a pilot programme in Art and Culture that took place on the Island from September 2000 to June 2003. This consisted of a series of accredited short courses jointly developed by the School of Art, Design & Printing at DIT and the Sherkin Island Development Society (SIDS) and delivered in the Community Hall on Sherkin. West Cork Arts Centre (WCAC), another partner, collaborated in delivering a series of professional practice workshops for the pilot student participants.
A generous annual grant to be delivered over the next four years has been secured from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs towards the practical provision of the programme on Sherkin Island. This commitment to lifelong learning by the Government, in addition to the acknowledgement of the importance of community involvement in developing a programme appropriate for local needs, is a welcome move.
The BA in Visual Art combines delivery through live and electronic media. The methodology employed presents a viable model for linking third level institutions with isolated communities and presents the opportunity for future collaborations.
Congratulating all those involved in the programme the Minister urged other island communities to investigate the potential for similar initiatives without simply copying the idea. Brid Grant, Director of the Faculty of Applied Arts at DIT described the 'ethos that underpins collaboration between the School of Art, Design and Printing at DIT and SIDS is one of mutual respect, innovation and enthusiasm in the pursuit of its goals. Openness to addressing challenges in pedagogy, resources, time, and diverse commitments is central to the partnership. The partnership is participative and process-driven, and through this emphasis, issues arising are always negotiated, within the stated interests of the parties involved.
The programme is supported by the Lifelong Learning Division of DIT and the Community Links Office. More information about this innovative development will be posted here shortly.
More information on the BA in Visual Art is available in Island Life.
Information on the Islands Project at DIT is also available.
Comhdháil Oileán na hÉireann held its AGM on the Island on the same day and also hosted a public seminar on the subject of "Third Level Education and the Islands". It was Chaired by Senator Denis O'Donovan TD. John O'Connor, Head of Art, Design & Printing at DIT spoke on the Partnership between DIT and the Sherkin Community.