Portlaoise Prison Fine Art Programme 1987 - 2011

For over 20 years, between 1987 and 2011, NCAD delivered a Fine Art programme in Portlaoise Prison that was funded by the Department of Justice

The programme offered an experience of art-making to people in prison equivalent to that offered in Third Level education. The programme was based on principles and practices of art education within the NCAD and informed by an ethos of adult education which encouraged self-determination, self-expression and critical reflection.

Practicing artist/teachers offered workshops to different groupings within the Prison environment, teaching painting, sculpture and media (in particular, film). The ethos and principles underpinning education in prison would eventually be formalised in the 1990 Council of Europe document "Education in Prisons".

In 2009 NCAD commissioned two independent academics, Dr Aislinn O'Donnell (Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick) and Dr John Mulloy (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology), to review NCAD's Fine Art programme in Portlaoise. The review involved extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders. The outcome of this process is presented here, including: a historical chronology,  and the critical reflections of Dr O'Donnell and Dr Mulloy.  There is also a gallery of selected images featuring artwork made as part of the programme.