School of Fine Art

I am delighted to be writing this with the rich evidence of our student’s work and thinking all around us. The flat earth of the ‘covid’ time is giving way to new kinds of volume, of art thinking and action.

There are brilliant things here at NCAD that make us look again and that are proposed materially and digitally through physical exhibition, performance and other dissemination. It is with real pleasure that I can say that I hope you enjoy the shows, however and whenever you access them.

I recently collected a student’s photographic work from the acute hospital that NCAD partners with. It is a rather beautiful black and white image of a made sphere and, to borrow one of Maud Cotters’ titles, seemingly ‘a work of no fixed meaning.’ The NCAD student who made it never saw the work installed as others saw it in that particular hospital environment over the past year. As I look at it again now, a year on, it is a moody thing, by turns a tumbleweed blowing through deserted space, at other times a spiky spore or virus, and sometimes a new world in formation. The artwork in context has that ineffable thing that makes you want to look again. 

I note this as I know our students have been engaged with their learning in different conditions, over zoom, at home, in studio, in digs, in an unusual world and now learning again experientially with others. Our local partnerships and European Erasmus+ engagements are robust, expanding and richly ‘in person’ again and collaboration has never seemed more important. I’d like to thank all our staff who have been mighty and skilled through these extended periods of challenge. 

Finally I would like to say how very proud we are of our students who have been adaptable, resilient, and powerful. These are critical skills and talents that are key now and in the future. Really, really well done. 

Professor Philip Napier
Head of the School of Fine Art