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February 18, 2020 NCAD NMI
NCAD and National Museum of Ireland announce partnership

The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) have announced details of a new partnership, which will see the two institutions collaborate on a series of projects over the next three years. Under the partnership, NCAD and NMI will work together on research, contemporary collecting, academic funding applications, public talks, a research symposium and a major international conference.

Details of the first joint research project were shared by the two institutions today. As part of the project, students of NCAD’s MA course in Design History and Material Culture have undertaken research on a selection of objects in the NMI’s Decorative Arts and History collections. The students’ research draws attention to the objects’ historic, functional and symbolic meaning, and will be added to these objects’ information records.

Objects researched by students as part of this collaboration include a ‘dowry’ chest from County Limerick that forms part of the Museum’s Irish Country Furniture collection; a silk and wool ‘Night and Day’ jacket from 1982, currently on display at the Museum as part of its Ib Jorgensen fashion retrospective; and a nineteenth-century bog oak ‘chatelaine’, a decorative clasp worn at the waist, in the shape of the Tara brooch.

The partnership between the two institutions is aimed at encouraging knowledge-sharing and mutual learning between students and staff. Further collaborations under the partnership include:

  • A series of co-hosted monthly public talks on future-oriented material culture, which commenced in December 2019 and will run until May 2020.
  • A fashion history symposium in Collins Barracks on 3rd April, which will focus on research undertaken by students and graduates of NCAD’s MA Design History and Material Culture into the substantial dress and textiles collection at the Museum.
  • A joint collecting exploration of material that reflects or constitutes contemporary cultures in Ireland.
  • Joint support for prospective PhD candidates’ funding applications.
  • A major international conference on the role of national museums, details of which will be announced in due course.

Speaking about the partnership announcement, Director of NCAD, Sarah Glennie said: “There is so much skill and expertise at the National Museum and NCAD, and this exciting new partnership will allow us to share and grow this knowledge and to jointly develop capacity and skills across arts, culture and design research and practice, as well as collections management, conservation and interpretation.

“Immersive and practical learning is a hallmark of education at NCAD, and projects such as the one we are launching today demonstrate how access to the national collections and working with Museum staff enhance the student experience and research opportunities. Our joint projects will also provide a very valuable platform for the exchange of cultural leadership between our organisations.”

Director of NMI, Lynn Scarff said: “Museums are essentially creative platforms and dynamic spaces of learning, all of our experience shows that when you combine human interest with outstanding collections you get compelling results. This collaboration with NCAD will enable the Museum to support learning and practice around our collections, amplify the skills and expertise of our team here and cement future opportunities for research and exchange between our two institutions”.

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