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Engagement and Learning > Projects & Research

The Education and Community Department has initiated and participated in a range of projects and research to promote access to modern and contemporary art. Most projects are medium to long-term action-research projects intended to inform IMMA’s own policy development and practice and cultural policy development in general.

Projects & Research

> Artists' Panel
> Explorations and Encounters

Artists' Panel

IMMA’s Education and Community Department works with artists to implement its access programmes. Artists facilitate a range of gallery and studio-based programmes and projects, such as workshops, talks and events to engage the public with contemporary art. IMMA also encourages artists to devise and test out their own ideas in relation to public access.

While opportunities to engage and commission artists are subject to current programming and budgetary provision, IMMA remains committed to working with artists and we invite artists to continue to send in CVs and expressions of interest. We keep all CVs on file and we draw on this resource when an opportunity arises.

Please send your CV and cover letter to:
Administrator, Education and Community Programmes, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Artists’ Panel Publication
At the end of 2006 IMMA produced a publication intended to be a resource for prospective artists, to make the role of the artist more visible and to encourage more artists to become involved. The key texts from this publication are available to download.

Please click on the link to download:
> arrow link Introduction
> arrow link The Role of the Artist in a Museum or Gallery, Lisa Moran
> arrow link The Artist in the Institution, Mick Wilson
> arrow link The Artist and the Museum – Another Way, Clíodhna Shaffrey
> arrow link Rethinking the Museum as a ‘Way-Station’, Christine Mackey

Review and Research
During the period 2009-10, the Education and Community Department undertook a review of the way in which it works with artists to engage the public with contemporary art. An Advisory Group comprising artists and arts practitioners was established to oversee this review and research process to inform IMMA on how best to work with artists in devising and implementing access strategies to engage the public with contemporary art.

The Advisory Group comprised Rhona Byrne, artist; Felicity Clear, artist; Clodagh Emoe, artist; Brian Fay, artist and lecturer, DIT; Cliodhna Shaffrey, curator; Tim Stott, lecturer; Lisa Moran, Curator: Education and Community Programmes and Mark Maguire, Assistant Curator: Education and Community Programmes.

Explorations and Encounters

Explorations and Encounters 2010 is a pilot collaborative research project involving Poetry Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. A central focus of the project is enabling primary teachers to develop meaningful approaches to arts integration in their classrooms through shared and reflective practices. The project facilitates the exploration of responses to poetry and contemporary and modern art in the primary school through direct engagement with the artist and encounters with his/her works.

It is hoped that the outcome of the research will inform a future model for arts integration in Primary teacher education.

Other Projects & Research

> Unspoken Truths 1991 – 1996
> Once is Too Much 1995
> The Sparkling Seven 1997 - 1999
> Red Lines Between the Fingers 1997 - 2002
> Mapping Art Project 1998 - 2006
> Somebodies: Young Curators 1999 - 2000
> Out of Place 1999 - 2003
> Even her nudes were lovely: towards a connected self-reliance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art 2000
> Council of National Cultural Institutions: A Policy Framework for Education, Community, Outreach (ECO) 2004
> arrow link Lifelong Learning in Museums: A European Handbook 2007
> arrow link Bealtaine

Unspoken Truths 1991 – 1996

Unspoken Truths was a cross-community project initiated by artist, Ailbhe Murphy, in 1991. The project brought together two Dublin-based community development projects: the Family Resource Centre, St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, in the south inner city and the Lourdes Youth and Community Services, Sean McDermott Street, in the north inner city, to explore issues held in common by the two communities in a city undergoing rapid change.

The project progressed during 1991 and resulted in a major exhibition by the 32 women involved at the Museum at the end of 1992. The women mediated the exhibition which attracted a very large attendance during its 12 week run. A major conference was held which brought together arts and community development organisations to explore arts in the community and community access to institutions.

The project continued to develop until 1996 during which time the exhibition toured throughout Ireland and women represented it at major international conferences. A final video document and publication was produced. The publication is available on loan from the Education and Community Department.

Once is Too Much 1995

This exhibition grew from a collaboration between the Family Resource Centre (FRC), St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, IMMA and four artists - Irish artists Ailbhe Murphy and Joe Lee, Scottish artist Rhona Henderson and Canadian artist Rochelle Rubinstein (through the Artists’ Work Programme). Working at community level to support women and children living in the context of domestic violence let the FRC to consider the creation of an exhibition to raise public awareness of this issue. The exhibition was initially shown at IMMA during the winter of 1997/98 and has since toured to Sligo, Derry, Limerick, Kilrush, Drogheda, Tralee, Kilkenny, Galway and Castlebar, accompanied by a workshop programme, two artworks also travelled to Toronto, Canada.

The Sparkling Seven 1997 - 1999

The Sparkling Seven was a collaborative initiative between St Michael’s Parish Youth Project and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The project involved seven young people between the ages of eight and twelve and a youth worker from St Michael’s Parish, working with an artist on a museum-based project over a two-year period between 1997 and 1999. A study is available on this project please follow contact the Education and Community Department for further information.

Red Lines Between the Fingers 1997 - 2002

A Review of the IMMA/Breaking the Cycle project
By Eibhlin Campbell and Anne Gallagher, December 2002
Published 2004, ISBN 1-903811-30-9
Copyright Eibhlin Campbell, Anne Gallagher and the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Copies of the publication are available free of charge. There is a charge for post and packaging (Ireland €2.50, International €5.00).

This publication presents the results of research undertaken as part of the IMMA/BTC project of the Department of Education and Science (DES) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). This project ran over a four-year period from 1997 to 2001. The research draws on the views and experiences of teachers, artists, the Senior Curator: Head of Education and Community, IMMA, and the BTC Co-ordinator on the IMMA/BTC project.

The report presents an original framework for developing effective and sustainable arts education collaboration. This model illustrates the type of questioning in which prospective partners need to engage so as to determine whether a joint approach can actually be implemented. The model serves both as a diagnostic tool and a support for ongoing project development and review. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for best practice in arts education, which incorporates the learning from this pilot project and build on its significant achievements.

Mapping Art Project 1998 - 2006

The Mapping Art Project was a developmental art project with young people between the ages of eight and twelve from three youth projects in Dublin’s south inner city - St Michael’s Parish Youth Project, Rialto Youth Project and Bluebell Youth Initiative. The project brought artists and youth workers together, to share knowledge, experience and skills in order to facilitate young people’s engagement with the visual arts. Based in the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the respective youth projects, the Mapping Art Project provided opportunities for young people to look at artwork, to meet and work with artists and to create artwork in response to their experiences. The Mapping Art Project was evaluated using an action research model with a view to identifying models of practice which could be disseminated and replicated.

To download the Mapping Art Project catalogue please follow the link:

> arrow link Download: Mapping catalogue (Adobe pdf - 463KB)

Somebodies: Young Curators 1999 - 2000

Somebodies was an exhibition jointly supported the Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition was curated from the Museum’s Collection by a group of young curators drawn from Waterford, Meath, Cavan and Dublin, and was on shown in three venues, including the Museum, between November 1999 and January 2000.

Out of Place 1999 - 2003

The Family Resource Centre, St. Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, worked with artist Joe Lee on a long-term project engaging a large number of tenants, past and present, from St Michael’s Estate in a process of exploring feelings, memories and concerns relating to the imminent demolition of their estate as part of Dublin City Council redevelopment plan for the area. Working with a number of artists, including Rhona Henderson and Ailbhe Murphy, this project has had a number of manifestations both in St Michael’s Estate and in the Museum’s studios resulting in an exhibition of the work in St Michael’s Estate in the Spring of 2002 and an outdoor projection, Dreams in the Dark in 2003.

even her nudes were lovely: towards a connected self-reliance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art 2000

The Older People’s Programme was the focus of research carried out by the Adult and Community Education Department of the University of Ireland at Maynooth. The result of the research was a publication called even here nudes were lovely: towards connected self-reliance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. One of the main findings of the research was that involvement in the arts contributed towards well-being and independent living for older people. A research report is available please contact the Education and Community Department for further information.

Council of National Cultural Institutions: A Policy Framework for Education, Community, Outreach (ECO) 2004

Published 2004, ISBN: 0-9547261-0-3

This seminal Policy Framework document marks a significant moment in the development of the ten national cultural institutions in relation to public access, described here as Education, Community and Outreach (ECO) programming.

The aim was to establish shared understandings and common points of reference that would clarify the nature and purpose of ECO work, to assist dialogue about ECO within CNCI and key government departments and agencies; and to establish a basis for any future joint actions in this field. The document clarifies and articulates policy principles and guidelines to inform practice in this area and to influence its wider policy and resource context

This is the first policy document of its kind to be drawn up by the National Cultural Institutions and builds incrementally on the growth of practice in recent years. It was commissioned by the Education, Community, Outreach (ECO) Working Group of the Council of National Cultural Institutions (CNCI), and was researched and written by external consultants Martin Drury and Susan Coughlan in consultation with the members of CNCI’s ECO Working Group.

To download the National Cultural Institutions ECO document please follow the below link:

> arrow link Download: ECO document (Adobe pdf - 95KB)

Lifelong Learning in Museums: A European Handbook 2007

Edited by Kirsten Gibbs, Margherita Sani, Jane Thompson

This publication is the result of a European trans-national project Lifelong Museum Learning (LLML), a two year project funded by the European Commission between October 2004 and December 2006, within the framework of the Socrates Grundtvig programme. The contributors all work internationally and draw mainly on the experiences of partners within their own country who have more detailed knowledge. The handbook is designed to support museum and gallery staff, especially those who have responsibility for education, interpretation or access, ensuring that learning opportunities, exhibitions, and resources are genuinely open to all. It is also for those educators who are more familiar with methodologies and practice relating to schoolchildren and would like to expand education activities to include adults. The publication is aimed at a broad European audience, with a variety of specialist training, expertise, experience, and status within their organisations.

There are twenty two contributors from seven countries all of whom are experienced in museum and gallery education. The LLML partners were from Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

To download the LLML Handbook please click on the following links:

> arrow link (English version)

> arrow link (Italian version)

Get Acrobat Reader
(click here to download Acrobat Reader)

Helen O’Donoghue, Senior Curator: Head of Education and Community Programmes at IMMA is one of the contributors and in Section 2 (pgs. 18-35) her contribution in included which is based on IMMA’s experiences of working with older adults. Photographs of IMMA’s programmes in this section were taken by the Dutch artist/photographer Mirjam Keune (pg.18) who is based in Dublin and by IMMA’s Education and Community staff (pgs. 21 and 35).


Bealtaine is the annual country-wide arts festival each May which celebrates creativity in older age. Bealtaine events are run independently by over 300 organisers, with Age & Opportunity responsible for overall coordination and promotion of the festival. For further information visit Age & Opportunity’s website at > arrow link

This year IMMA is hosting a number of Bealtaine associated events.

For further details please contact Jen Phelan, Administrator: Education and Community Programmes at tel: +353-1-612 9900 or email:


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