NEW: MA in Art History, Collections and Curating to be offered at UCD from 2018

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We are delighted here in the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy to announce a new taught postgraduate programme launching in the 2018/19 academic year: the MA in Art History, Collections and Curating. This has been designed to provide advanced academic training in the history of art, with a special focus on collections and curatorial practice. I’m very pleased to be delivering the core Seminar in Collections and Curating which forms part of this exciting new programme — you can download an MA brochure for more details.

Led by MA course director Dr Conor Lucey and involving our full staff, students will benefit from our School’s extensive partnerships with local, regional, and national cultural institutions and gain first-hand exposure to advanced, active research in art history. This MA will provide an excellent foundation for future careers in art historical research and writing, and prepares students for further study in either higher level academic research or specialized curatorial training programmes.

The programme is aimed at postgraduate students of art history and of cognate subjects such as art, architecture and geography. It is also intended for those with experience in the art world and in the cultural heritage sector looking for an opportunity to hone their skills in the interpretation, critique, and analysis of works of art and architecture, developing the knowledge and capacity to pursue careers in academia, research, writing, and curatorship.

The programme includes taught modules, a week-long guided international trip (which in 2018-19 will be to Berlin), and a supervised dissertation. Examples of taught modules include:

  • Approaches to Art History
  • Seminar in Curating and Collections
  • Classical and Early Medieval Collections of Europe
  • Institutional and Private Collecting in the Netherlands in the Early Modern Period
  • Architecture and the Museum
  • Museums and Modernity

For more information about the new MA, and application/deadline details please visit: our MA course blog, or get in touch!

 

 

And so it begins: autumn 2017

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Greetings readers! Hope your summer was full of wonderful things, even if the sunshine somewhat eluded us here in Ireland… After a break from the blog, I’m getting back into the swing of things — not least since today is the first day of UCD’s new term! Today we’re welcoming 100+ new first year students in art history, and 23 members of our new class of MAs in Cultural Policy also. Lots of folks have been enquiring about our new part-time MA option at UCD, so do feel free to get in contact with me or our course director Pat Cooke if you’d like more details.

Jobs have just been updated — several senior roles are currently advertised, including Directors of the Hunt Museum, Crawford Gallery, Queen’s Film Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival, etc. As always, feel free to send on any listings and I will post them as soon as possible.

I’ll be posting more event updates etc. in my next dispatch — but if you’re grousing for cultural policy news, two items for your perusal:

New curatorial internship at Chester Beatty Library

800px-ChesterBeattyLibaryFrountI’m happy to share news that The Chester Beatty Library has launched a new curatorial internship scheme, which is part-funded by the American Friends of the Arts in Ireland (AFAI). From the Library:

The objective of this new initiative is to offer practical museum training experience to a recent graduate or postgraduate interested in pursuing a career in the arts and museum sector. The programme will start by offering a short internship (part-time) of 4 months working with the Curator of Western Collections. The exact focus of the project will be dependent on the successful applicant’s academic background, professional skills and interests, however the intern will be expected to assist with the on-going cataloguing of the Library’s Western print collection.
Deadline for applications is 2 June.

Milestone for Irish museums: Irish Museums Survey 2016 launched

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Launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 / LAMN 1916 Exhibition. From left: Liam Bradley (Curator, Monaghan County Museum); John Rattigan (Chair, Local Authority Museum Network); Minister Heather Humphreys; Brian Crowley (Chair, Irish Museums Association); Dr Sandra Collins (Director, National Library of Ireland); Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald (UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy). Photo by Gary O’Neill.

It’s out! Yesterday more than 100 museum professionals gathered at an event in the National Library of Ireland for the launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

This survey is indeed a milestone: it’s the first comprehensive study of the Irish museum sector in a decade. Funded by the Irish Research Council’s ‘Engaging Civic Society’ scheme, it’s the product of a collaboration between the Irish Museums Association and UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy.

I was the Principal Investigator and author of the report (along with the research team Gina O’Kelly, Dr Colleen Thomas, and Fernando Sanchez), and I’m delighted it’s now available as an online publication.

The results are alternately fascinating, encouraging, and worrying. Here are a few highlights:

  • There are approximately 230 museums in Ireland (north and south); 118 participated in the survey (ranging from independent/community museums to national cultural institutions)
  • 6.1 million visitors were welcomed by Irish museums in 2014: on average museums reported 35% international and 61% domestic visitors.
  • The positive effects of the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland (run by the Heritage Council) over the past decade in enhancing museum practice nationwide were widely observed
  • Provision of educational services has increased from 31% in 2005 to 60% of museums in 2016
  • Digital engagement has risen sharply: museums reported growing levels of collection digitisation, and high levels of engagement on the web and on social media: 98% of museums have a website; 78% are on Facebook; and 40% are on Twitter

… however …

  • 46% of museums have experienced budget decline from 2005-15; this contrasts sharply with 2005 data (when only 7.4% reported a decrease).
  • Museums have experienced drastic reductions to the labour force and increasing reliance on volunteers, interns and community employment schemes: 41% indicated they are ‘very dependent’ on voluntary/unpaid labour, and 17% of museums have no paid employees at all. The majority of museums (77%) are staffed by fewer than 10 paid employees.
  • Comments from participants extensively detailed problems with infrastructure and basic facilities, affecting museums across the country. Cutbacks on every aspect of museum provision (education, programming, conservation, security, etc.) indicate the broad and deep impact of budget reductions and hiring freezes.

The report is chock-full of information and analysis, covering all aspects of museum activity. We hope this report will help inform future programming and planning for museums at national and regional levels. This is especially critical for institutions (large and small) which reported serious problems with infrastructure and facilities in a severe state of disrepair.

Our primary recommendations? In a nutshell:

  1. Establish a research unit to enhance quality and regularity of data collection, based at the Irish Museums Association, the Heritage Council, or the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
  2. Improve museums’ data collection practices by developing training opportunities for Irish museums, to better support advocacy efforts.
  3. Prioritise, in future policies and programmes, the primary resource needs as identified by museums: (1) capacity (staff, volunteers, time); (2) funding and fundraising support; (3) buildings and storage.
  4. Enhance support of community and independent museums, including a review of supports and the development of a national strategy concerning the needs of small museums.
  5. Offer additional training and resourcing in the areas of digitisation and the development of digital and online strategies.
  6. More detailed research is needed on museum outreach and education, to be further correlated with policy developments such as the Arts in Education Charter.
  7. Low rates of improvement in disabled access since 2005 should be addressed by museums as a priority.

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(version for web viewing)

(version for printing)

Back in the swing of things! New Irish arts jobs etc.

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It’s the first day of orientation here at UCD — the autumn semester is upon us! I’ve just updated all of the arts jobs listings, and will post a fall preview (looking ahead to events in the coming weeks) on the blog very soon 🙂

A special welcome to all of our undergraduates in art history, and postgraduates in art history and cultural policy this year!