Professional Diploma in Art and Ecology AD472PD

Are you interested in the intersections of contemporary art with ecology? Do you want to further develop your creative making and critical thinking skills in a meaningful and tangible way? If so, the Professional Diploma in Art and Ecology at NCAD may be just what you’re looking for.

Applications are Open In April for June and October 2024. This programme is eligible for funding through the Micro-Credentials Course Learner Subsidy.

Watch our Art and Ecology Webinar here:

Those who completed the Professional Cert in Art and Ecology in 2023, can apply to join the programme starting on 12 October 2024.

For those who have not already completed the Professional Cert in Art and Ecology, the course begins on 20 June 2024. 

Duration - 1 academic year, 3 part-time modules
Credits – 5 credits per Module (20 credits on completion of Modules 1-4)
NFQ - Level 9

Module One comprises of the 5 credit Certificate in Art and Ecology which starts on 20 June 2024.

Module Two
Commencement Date - Thursday, 12th of October 2023
Time - 10am to 4pm, Thursdays over four successive weeks.

Module Three
Spring 2024

Module Four
Summer 2024

This Professional Diploma in Art and Ecology programme introduces learners to the contemporary and historical field of art and expanded ecologies through situated environmental learning. 

This 20 credit programme consists of four 5 credit modules: Creative Principles (Professional Certificate), Creative Collaborations, Creative Practices, Creative Capstone.

Using and responding to NCAD’s physical inner city location learners will connect with inspiring ecological practices, environmental justice community projects and artists spearheading this emerging field.

With our current Earth crises we need to urgently develop new and necessary Nature/ Culture futures. The historical, cultural and professional contexts of how artists operate and work with ecological themes and the current earth crisis will be explored in rich and varied ways. 

Utilising Eco creative principles students will explore a diversity of practices and approaches and become attuned to ways to practise in this territory.

What to expect?

The programme works directly with an urban embedded novel ecology of the NCAD FIELD site. This taskscape acts as an outdoor classroom, a site for nature connection, commoning and a testing site for multi-species futures.

Connecting to the site and its seasonal activity, nature/culture connections are explored and enacted allowing learners to expand their research, creative making and critical thinking skills in meaningful and liveable ways.

A grounding in the social, political, economic and historical issues that frame ecologies of the surroundings site are explored.  Through the Diploma Programme practitioners will expand, develop and question their practices using the NCAD FIELD as a testing site and shared learning space.

The programme supports a range of creative approaches and interdisciplinary art and design practitioners that wish to connect and work in the space of critical ecologies and expanded environments. 

Learners aiming to evolve as artists, curators, activists, designers and cultural producers will be supported, giving them the tools, networks and knowledge to confidently work in this interdisciplinary field.

The three successive modules following from Professional Certificate (1st Creative Principles) will focus on:

  • 2nd Creative Collaborations (October 2023): working closely with local sites and investigating a range of symbiotic relationships, material and bio-informed strategies and how these might be incorporated into a practice
  • 3rd Creative Practices (Spring 2024): exploring genealogies of environmental art and activism, transdisciplinary collaborations, “more than human worlds” and nature-culture intersections
  • 4th Creative Capstone (Summer 2024): undertaking a project that demonstrates learners' knowledge of creative ecological practices and theories.

Student Experience

Successive modules allow students to develop their practice, their professional, technical and organisational skills and their knowledge and application of critical contexts.

Modes of learning will include field work, lectures, seminars and workshops along with cross-disciplinary conversations and collaborations.  A key focus is on the productive intersection points where creative practices meet scientific, legal and social policy debates, to manifest outcomes that catalyse progress.

Learners will learn through material delivered in advance of each session prescribing group work and also individual initiative.

Student testimonials (June-July 2023):

“I've been searching for a way to integrate my love and interest in the environment with my art practice beyond the traditional approach of direct visual representational art. This course really helped me to push my practice beyond that while staying true to my own working methods and creative process. As well as that, a collaborative and supportive environment was nurtured and encouraged throughout the course”

“The course exceeded my expectations and I feel that what we covered is just the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to explore everything we discussed and discovered together further”.

“The lecturers' enthusiasm, commitment and belief in this course was obvious and they made it a fruitful, diverse place of learning”

Educational Standard

All applicants are expected to present an approved Bachelor degree at minimum level of 2nd class honours (2.2)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)  - Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements for admission may be considered on the basis of a recognition of previous learning  whether based on prior relevant experience or other relevant credited or non credited or learning  (RPL). In such cases each applicant will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on a review of the applicant's CV and other supporting documentation.

Please contact for further information.

Qualifying Examination - In certain cases the academic team may choose to set a qualifying assignment in order to assess an applicant's suitability for admission.

You may apply for the programme if you are currently completing your Undergraduate Degree. NCAD will review the rest of your application If necessary, we can make you a Conditional Offer. When your degree is completed and you send us final transcripts we will upgrade this to a Full Offer.

Applicants who have not been educated through English must show proof of achieving IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in the writing section on the Academic Version) or an equivalent score in another accepted test.

Entry Requirements

Completed Professional Certificate (Creative Principles) module. 

Applications are now Open for the October programme 

Professional Certificate (Creative Principles) is the foundation module of the Professional Diploma programme.

If you have completed this module or are enrolled to complete it in September 2024, please apply here by Sep 31st.


Creative Futures Academy has been awarded a total of €315,640 from the Human Capital Initiative HCI Pillar 3 Micro-Credentials Subsidy funding. Subsidies will range from 50 - 80% of the total course costs for eligible learners.

This course is eligible for subsidy funding. Full details can be found here.  

There is a fee of €2200 for this programme.  If you are eligible you will receive a subsidy of €1760. It is free to apply. 

For those continuing from Prof Cert the fee is €1600.


Step 1: Click on Apply Now link below  | Step 2: Fill in your details

Step 3: Upload your Supporting Documents

  • You can also submit your application even before you upload the necessary documents. 

  • You can not add new documents after you have submitted. 

  • Additional documents can be sent to and we will upload them on your behalf. 

Step 4: Submit your application to NCAD from April

Who Should Apply

Established and emergent artists, curators, activists, designers, makers, cultural producers, ecologists, scientists, architects, landscape architects, social workers, policy makers, biodiversity and sustainability officers, educators, horticulturalists, active citizenship, citizen scientists, lifelong learning.

The programme is designed to meet the needs of the creative sector within and beyond Ireland.  As such, the constituent awards explicitly address key requirements identified in extensive discussions and research undertaken with industry partners and representative bodies such as the Arts Council of Ireland, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and Institute of Designers in Ireland, and findings from government and sectoral reports.

Progession Opportunities 

This diploma lays the foundation for further study at Masters and Phd level.

Opportunities to Engage

As part of a suite of programmes that make up the Creative Futures offer at NCAD, the Professional Diploma in Art and Ecology seeks to provide a scholarly framework for students who wish to study specific, connected aspects of creative disciplines and themes within a leading art and design college setting. 

Many aspects of the suite of programmes will be delivered in collaboration with partners from the Creative Sector and in addition, a number of programme sessions will have a public dimension, allowing us to invite other interested parties from the fields of contemporary creative practice and scholarship to join our conversations and creative activities.

Programme Faculty

Seoidin O’Sullivan:

Seoidín O’Sullivan is a contemporary artist with a socially engaged practice who lectures in Art and Creative Ecologies and First Year Studies at National College of Art and Design. Her art projects are collaborative and focus on bringing people together in action to protect or develop an aspect of their Ecological Commons.

Seoidín works in the area of 'Critical Ecologies' connecting multidisciplinary teams and partnerships using creative participatory art methodologies to reveal, find solutions and work towards creating just multi-species futures and collective imaginaries at a time of climate crisis. Creative out-put includes drawings, installations, video, publications, walks and pedagogical exchange.

Recent exhibitions include  crex, crex, crex, looking at the migration of the corncrake connecting to her own biographical history growing up in Zambia  for EVA 2023. Holdings, a group exhibition at Solstice Arts Centre looked at the soil ecology and the quadrat to unpack how land is valued and measured. She was part of Mapping Green Dublin, a research project  and community mapping project that mapped the tree canopy of Dublin with UCD Geography and Common Ground.

Mark Clare:

Mark Clare is a contemporary visual artist, employing a variety of media including sculpture, video, animation, sound, performance, and photography to produce projects that examine to what extent human activities have had a significant impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. He has exhibited widely and participated in numerous Artist Residency programmes both nationally and Internationally. He is currently one of the inaugural artists at the Dún Laoghaire Baths Artist Studio Residency Program. 

He has over 30 years of experience as a Fine Art Lecturer and is currently a Part-time Lecturer at NCAD, teaching on the Art & Ecology Postgraduate Diploma (Creative Futures Academy), Part-time higher diploma, Level 8 (CEAD), and Media Area Experience (1st Yr). He has also been invited as a Guest Lecturer on the MFA Crawford Art College, Cork, MA Film, Louis-Lumerie ecole nationale superieure, Paris, Sculpture Dept. Columbus State University, USA, Sculpture Dept. State University New York, and the MFA, Grays School of Art, Aberdeen.

Gareth Kennedy;

Gareth Kennedy is an artist and lecturer at NCAD. Based in Sculpture and Expanded Practice, he teaches across graduate, Masters and post graduate programmes. He is lead coordinator on NCAD FIELD - a derelict brown field site beside the college which is in the process of being reappraised as a 'Novel Ecology'. Students reckon with the layered history and potential futures of this site through experimental, experiential and environmental based learning and action. They are tasked with developing new ‘Naturecultures’ through an ethos informed by rhizomatic learning, taskscaping and Urban Commoning.

Gareth’s art practice generates ‘communities of interest’ around the production and performance of experimental material cultures which are familiar, but also strange. He is interested in the use of anachronistic processes and technologies to produce ‘critical anachronism’ and generate contemporary encounter. He often works with individuals who hold skills or knowledge that has been transmitted across generations to this end. His practice includes public art commissions, exhibitions, workshops and printed materials. 

Recent exhibitions include: Nesting in the Gesture, Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, León, Spain, 2023; Metabolic time / Am meitibileach Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 2022; Intensive Spaces, Tallinn Biennale, Estonia, 2021; Collosus Complex, Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães, Portugal, 2021; Kennedy Browne: The Redaction Trilogy, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin ,2019 - 2020; AerialSparks, Kennedy Browne commission for Galway 2020, European City of Culture; The Special Relationship, Kennedy Browne at Krannert Art Museum, Illinois, U.S.A. 2018-2019. Recent symposia includes: On Not Knowing: How Artists Teach, Glasgow School of Art, June, 2023; Commoning and Radical Care, SPACEX RISE Symposium, NCAD, March 2023; Ecology of Food, Trinity College, Dublin. January 2023; RHIZOME NCAD FIELD at Project Arts Centre. June, 2022. Turning Ground with Seoidin O'Sullivan in collaboration with NCAD Gallery & the Digital Hub, June 2022.

Admissions Contact 

Please contact the Admissions Team with any questions.  

Camille Rocca:

01 636 4200