School of Visual Culture

Time seemed to both stretch and compress last year. For those living in lock-down, ‘every day’s like blursday’, as one punning writer put it. That makes the achievement of graduating students – in the School of Visual Culture and in other programmes of the College – all the more impressive. They had to find new patterns and tempos for their studies. And when galleries closed and archives shut their doors, our students had to become all the more resourceful and more imaginative too.  

For BA Visual Culture students on our undergraduate programme which explores the power of images in society, past and present new interests emerged too. One of the striking themes in their major research projects this year was the question: what makes a place? Is it the space itself? Is it the memories or ghosts it contains? And can an online setting where we gather virtually be a place too? When the streets outside the College emptied, our Visual Culture BA students seemed to wish to fill them again with people, ideas and histories.

Students on our postgraduate programmes – Art in the Contemporary World and Design History and Material Culture – were just as resourceful, finding ways to form creative partnerships with each other and with Dublin’s museums during the lockdown. Our Design Historians worked closely with the Irish Museum of Modern Art to explore its historic site; and the artists, critics and writers on the Art in the Contemporary World programme embraced the legacy of George Bernard Shaw’s 'Pygmalion' – freshly out of copyright – in close partnership with the National Gallery of Ireland. In these projects, the past was drawn into the present. Here, our students stretched time in the most engaging and thought-provoking ways.   

Professor David Crowley
Head of the School of Visual Culture