The M.Phil. in Irish Art History provides an exciting programme exploring a range of key aspects of the history and analysis of Irish visual expression from pre-Christian to Contemporary art and architecture. The course is designed both for graduates of art history and for those from other, cognate, disciplines. While focused on art and artists in or from Ireland, the imagery, objects and structures are all explored within international and interdisciplinary contexts, as the course is intended to provide graduates with a range of transferable analytical and practical skills that can be applied within other cultural environments. A particular advantage of this course is the accessibility of a wide range of relevant art objects and structures in, and in the vicinity of, Trinity College as well as extensive library and archival resources. Since its establishment ten years ago, the course has attracted applications from all over the world. Many graduates have continued on to undertake Ph.D. research in Trinity and in other universities internationally, while others have taken up posts in museums, galleries, and auction houses as well as in cultural media.
The course offers general introductions to Irish art and architecture as well as a more specialized focus on selected periods and themes. It provides students with a critical understanding of the analysis of works of art within their cultural contexts, and an appreciation of the range of works created in Ireland over time. A core dimension of the course will involve exploring the concept of 'Irishness'. Through engagement with museums and galleries in Ireland, students will also have an understanding of a key curatorial issues of relevance in the development of exhibitions and collections, including the technical opportunities which the digital age offers to curators and art historians. In addition to taking compulsory core modules, students choose a number of electives, which allow them to build specific skills and to follow their individual interests. Students are assessed on the completion of a range of coursework assignments, including essays, critiques, and research exercises. The capstone of the course is a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words on a topic selected by the student, and carried out under the supervision of a member of staff in the Department of History of Art and Architecture or the Irish Art Research Centre (TRIARC).