The sun is finally shining in the Burren, Ballyvaughan is a buzz with families released from urban captivity and our studios are once again alive with students attending our Global Ecologies Studio Summer School. Heralding a welcome resumption of faculty led groups, the indomitable Professor Mira Cantor is leading her group of students from Northeastern University for her 14th year. An international cohort of resident artists follow for a 4 week immersion, Summer workshops return in person from August 16th – 20th, then a new academic year begins again with renewed hope for better days ahead.
Our location and spaciousness fuel us with optimism for this safe and gradual unfurling and re-opening. While our classes and workshops pivoted successfully online, as illustrated in the wonderful exhibition of our graduating students, lockdown has illuminated for us just how much Burren College of Art is all about people, about place and about real human interaction… and we just can’t wait to welcome you all back .
Our postgraduate programmes continue to expand and now include a new MPhil in Fine Art, awarded by NUI Galway, to which The Nora Hawkes scholarship, initiated to honour my late Mother’s lifetime dedication to education, will assist a successful applicant. Meanwhile, renowned international poet David Whyte has generously gifted a poetry residency at BCA in recognition of the powerful influence the Burren continues to hold for his work. These awards, together with the Sean Scully and Janet Shaughnessy scholarships, open our alternative education model to the most talented and deserving students. We are forever grateful to all who support our work.
ReSource – our new centre dedicated to facilitating creative solutions to complex problems – made significant strides in its ongoing work on education reform during lockdown – read the full report here. The Irish Language is the next audacious project and subject of the forthcoming 3 day immersive “Tionol Cruthaitheach“ (Creative Conversation) with Martin Hayes and Iarla o Lionaird joining the facilitation team in September. The work of ReSource, which builds on the power of place and creative process to enable deep change, is a natural and exciting progression for the Burren College of Art and particularly timely in the current climate of uncertainty and change. To this end, ReSource is delighted to partner with the Berkana Institute as Irish hosts for Meg Wheatley's Warriors for the Human Spirit – a nine month programme beginning in October. We were really sorry to have to postpone our annual Executive Leadership Retreat this August, but look forward to reconvening instead in May 2022 when the Burren will be at its most splendid.
Coming Full Circle, a film documenting a performance conceived and enacted by our students to celebrate Richard Long’s stone circle at Doolin Point - directed by Dr. Aine Phillips, Head of Sculpture, and filmed by Tom Flanagan, was a wonderful collaboration enabled by Galway 2020 and Clare Arts Office. We thank Richard Long and Tate St. Ives for their co-operation. The film will be screened at BCA on Culture Night.
The Burren Law School, 1994-2000, a beautiful compilation of memories, photographs and stories, edited by Ursula Quill was launched In May on the 26th anniversary of the first law school weekend. Limited copies are available here.
Finally, we thank James Harrold, and Fionnuala Gallagher for their support over the years and wish them all the best for the future as they retire from their respective positions as Galway Arts officer and Arts Officer at NUI Galway.
Until the next instalment – keep on creating and imagining….