The National College of Art and Design occupies a unique position in art and design education in Ireland, offering the widest range of art and design degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Many of the most important Irish artists, designers and art teachers have studied or taught in the College. It has long been the central and most important art and design educational institution in Ireland.
The origins of the College date from 1746 when Robert West had a private drawing school in George's Lane, Dublin, which was taken over by the Dublin Society (later the RDS). Throughout the eighteenth century the college was home to three schools: Figure Drawing, Landscape and Ornamental Drawing and Architectural Drawing. The School of Modelling was added in 1811. From 1854 the institution was controlled by the Department of Science and Art, London. In 1877 it was renamed The Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. The Department of Education took control in 1924, and twelve years later it became the National College of Art. In 1971 the National College of Art and Design was established by act of an tOireachtas and is now governed by a board (An Bord) appointed by the Minister for Education and Science.
The College's campus is situated in Thomas Street, in the historic Liberties area of Dublin. In 1998 the College opened its new wing, the School of Design for Industry, and now houses all of its activities on the Thomas Street campus or nearby.
The College has conferred honorary associateships on Sybil Connolly, Dr. James White, Patrick Scott, Jan de Fouw, Sonja Landweer, Conor Fallon, Dr. Seamus Buachalla, Leonora Curry, Paul Costelloe, Prof. Anne Crookshank, Charles J. Haughey, Dr. Patrick Moriarty, Dr. Edward Walsh, Professor George Dawson, Michael Farrell, Paul Hogan, William Walsh, Mealla C. Gibbons, Bro. Joseph McNally, Juan O'Callahan and Anthony Cronin.
The College has 1,000 full time students and a further six hundred students who are taking evening courses. Those who know the College, and those who have attended the Open Day, the annual exhibitions and fashion show, will be aware of the very high standards that are achieved.
The College has four Schools; Design, Education, Fine Art and Visual Culture.
A tutorial system operates throughout the College and many of the courses are project based. Students' progress is monitored at the end of projects, and by examination at the end of each year.
From its beginnings the College has been as equally concerned with fine art as with design.
The School of Fine Art teaching combines the traditional disciplines such as drawing and painting with an open experimental approach which allows individuals to realise their ideas in a wide range of media. The Department of Applied Materials in the School offers opportunities for students to develop a deep understanding and engagement with textiles, ceramics and glass. Through contact with teachers who are practising artists, students become familiar with the activities and the ideas of artists working in society today. Students also become familiar with the fundamentally questioning nature of contemporary art and of the variety and expanding range of practices which make up the field. It is an intensely creative education, not only for artists but for others who may build careers in the media and the arts.
The School of Design is the largest in the College and comprises jewellery and objects, fashion design, industrial and product design, textile design and visual communication. In design the emphasis is on solving specific problems set by project. While students are expected to master the relevant technologies, the aesthetic design factor is stressed equally. There are many links with industry and students often work on competitions sponsored by commercial firms. The College aims to promote a broad education in design which can be the basis for a variety of careers either as part of a team in industry or by working individually in a studio or small business.
The School of Visual Culture interacts with other schools in providing the visual culture elements of all NCAD degrees. In both the fine art and design courses, the element of history and theory of art and design is essential in assisting artists and designers to place themselves within a larger historical, intellectual, social and stylistic context. Within contemporary fine art practice, theory has become increasingly important. The Joint Course BA degree makes special provision for the student who wishes to explore art history and studio practice in art and design to an equal extent. For all students there is a requirement to attend regular lectures and submit written papers culminating in a thesis in the final year. The well stocked College Library is a central resource for all courses.
The School of Visual Culture also offers an undergraduate degree in Visual Culture as well as a number of postgraduate taught and research degrees (PhD). This offers the student the opportunity to study the theory and practice of art and design in a creative art school setting.
The School of Education provides for the education of teachers of art, craft and design in second-level schools. There are two modes available: the four-year joint honours degree in Design or Fine Art and Education, and the two-year Professional Master of Education in Art & Design. The School also provide a two-year Professional Master in Socially Engaged Art (part time mode). The Centre for Continuing Education in Art and Design is part of the School of Education and offers a range of part-time courses including certificate courses.
Artists and designers of international repute are invited to teach or give special lectures in the College. Exchange programmes with colleges and universities in Europe and the United States take place annually. Individual staff members are linked to numerous professional organisations at home and abroad. The College is a member of the European League of the Institute of the Arts.
The College has been a recognised college of the National University of Ireland since 1996, in 2011 it became a Recognised College of University College Dublin (UCD). www.ucd.ie
The College welcomes all applicants who are committed to art and design and who also have the necessary talent and academic ability.
A degree course at NCAD is an enriching and challenging experience. It is a preparation for life in both a professional and a broad educational sense.