THE Sherkin Island community is preparing for an influx of visitors this coming weekend as the conferring of awards for the Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT) BA in Visual Art Graduation ceremony takes place on Saturday 6 October at 2.30pm. Family and friends of the 18 graduating students will make their way to the island for this special occasion and to celebrate with the students and the island community at Sherkin Island Community Hall, which also serves as the students’ campus on the island.
Sherkin Island Development Society, the Dublin Institute of Technology and West Cork Arts Centre are pleased to announce that the final year students from the BA in Visual Art Programme will be conferred with their degrees by Dr. Michael Mulvey, Director of Academic Affairs and Registrar, DIT. The event will also be attended by various local community and governmental representatives, including special guest Dinny McGinley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Speaking in advance of the conferring ceremony Minister McGinley said “It is a great privilege to participate in this graduation ceremony. I know from the success of the graduate exhibition held on the island in May just what a talented bunch of people have participated in this course over the last 4 years. I want to wish all the graduates continued success as they now branch out and build on their personal achievement of receiving their BA in Visual Fine Art Practice.”
The funding support of the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht and Cork County Council is hugely significant for this third level arts education course and is instrumental in the programme being able to progress. It has enabled a further group of students to begin their 4 year degree on Sherkin Island in September this year. Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Barbara Murray said “the support of Cork County Council firmly consolidates the recognition of this programme’s significance for the West Cork region.”
This Programme is specifically tailored to allow access to third level education to geographically disadvantaged, mature students who would otherwise have to leave their local community. It brings social, economic and cultural benefits to Sherkin Island. It sustains and nurtures a rural community and paves the way for genuine access and participation to lifelong education. It contributes to sustaining livelihoods and to building living and vibrant communities in the immediate locality and beyond. It is vital to the quality of life of the island residents and to the island economy during the traditionally quiet winter months.
BAVA Programme Chair, Bernadette Burns says: “this year’s cohort of graduates is unique. They were the first group of students to enrol directly onto the first year of BA Visual Art, shortly after it was validated as the first honours degree programme of its kind.”
“They were also the first group to initiate a graduation exhibition, Out There, that took place across the width and breadth of Sherkin Island, transforming the whole of the island into an art gallery over a weekend” she continued. Over a thousand visitors from all over the West Cork region came to admire the artworks created by the students for their graduate exhibition in May this year.
The graduating students are: Michèle O’Connor Connolly, Jocelyn Florence, Maureen O’Sullivan, Ginny Pavry, Claire Lambert, Anna Kirsch, Diarmuid Breen, Paul Austin,
Janet Murran, Gana Roberts, Anne Hartnett, Donagh Carey, Margrit O’Shea, Jane O’Farrell, Chris Gaughran, Wendy Miles, Luisa McCarthy and Danny Stewart.
BA Visual Art is a community-based, four year, honours degree visual art Programme. It is fully accredited, managed and delivered by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in partnership with Sherkin Island Development Society (SIDS). West Cork Arts Centre (WCAC) are also key partners in the planning and implementation of the programme. It is supported by funding from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and from Cork County Council.