Mise Éire? Shaping a Nation through Design conference, National Museum of Ireland

Posted 12.09.16

Internationally-renowned author and ceramic artist Edmund de Waal to give keynote address at two-day conference exploring national identity as seen through the lens of design and craft

Mise Éire? Shaping a Nation through Design to take place at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme, with contributions from Irish and international historians, academics, designers, makers and curators

As the 1916 centenary year draws to a close, a two-day conference takes place this November exploring the role of design and craft in shaping national or collective identities, asking what does national identity mean today in 21st century Ireland.

From the historical perspective of 1916 to contemporary practice, Mise Éire? Shaping a Nation through Design will examine the impact of global influences as well as the role that cultural diversity and technology play in shaping identities, now and into the future. It will also investigate the role that the State, and museums in particular have played in interpreting and shaping this overall narrative. The conference takes place at the National Museum, Collins Barracks on 4th and 5th November 2016 as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. The event is being hosted by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland.

Mise Éire? Shaping a Nation through Design will see keynote addresses delivered by award-winning author and ceramic artist Edmund de Waal and leading Irish sociologist Professor Tom Inglis. The conference also brings together a broad range of contributors, including internationally-renowned writer and curator Prof. Simon Olding, cultural historians Professor Luke Gibbons and Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe, curator Brian Kennedy as well as designers, makers and artists such as Ciarán Ó Gaora, Joseph Walsh, Róisín de Buitléir and Joe Hogan. Professor Luke Gibbons will act as Conference Rapporteur, introducing themes in his opening remarks, and summarising key points at the end of each of the two days.

For the full conference programme and how to get tickets go to www.miseeireconference.ie (As places will be limited, early booking is advised.)

Speaking about the event, Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Museum of Ireland on this important conference which brings industry practitioners and academics together to explore Irish cultural identity through the prism of design and craft over the past 100 years. This event provides a timely opportunity to debate how various influences on these sectors will shape the collective identity of generations to come. We are pleased to welcome such a distinguished line-up of speakers – designers, makers, curators and academics – during the conference and look forward to insightful and illuminating discussions over the comprehensive two-day programme.”

Raghnall Ó Floinn, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, said: “Just as our history shapes who we are, our material and visual culture is closely bound with our national, and collective, identities. The National Museum and its collections play a key role in revealing these identities through, for example, the wealth of artefacts in the exhibition ‘Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising’ which convey the complex, moving stories of our struggle towards independence. I’m looking forward to this conference which I hope will provoke discussion and debate with a wider public around how the Museum should continue to reflect the increasingly multiple identities of Ireland in the 21st century.”


Friday, 4 November: 9am – 5.45pm
Themes & topics for discussion:

  • Remembering 1916: how design and craft addressed and reflected issues of cultural nationalism and identity. Speakers: Sandra Heise, Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe, Dr. Lisa Godson. Moderator: Dr. Linda King.
  • The role of the State: how national museums reflect identities through material culture and official collection. Speakers/panel: Dr. Moya Carey, Dr. Audrey Whitty, Dr. Edith Andrees. Moderator: Dr. Alison Fitzgerald.
  • La Maladie de Porcelaine: Travels with the Fonthill Vase. Keynote Address: Edmund de Waal.
  • Designing the future: how contemporary designers and craftspeople in Ireland regard issues of national identity and the role that global influences may play, now and into the future. Speakers/panel: Joseph Walsh, Joe Hogan, Ciarán Ó Gaora. Moderator: Brian Kennedy.
  • Meitheal: an Irish expression of community unity and ritual through cooperative work and mutually reciprocal support. Speakers/panel: Alison Conneely (who will also moderate the discussion), Dr. Steve Coleman, Katie Hanlan, Dr. Caoilfhoinn Ní Bhacháin.

Saturday, 5 November: 9am – 2pm
Themes & topics for discussion:

  • Design, Cultural Practice and Identity in Everyday Life. Keynote Address: Prof. Tom Inglis.
  • Objects and the meaning of things: how cultural diversity, global corporate culture and technology has affected national and collective identity. Speakers/panel: Róisín de Buitléar, Dr. Adam Drazin, Aoibheann McNamara and Prof. Simon Olding. Moderator: Prof. Gary Granville.
  • As part of the overall conference project, a national call-out for new research papers was initiated by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. A chosen selection of these new research ideas will be presented for the first time. They include papers by Mary Ann Bolger, Rachel Botha, Dr. Claudia Kinmonth, Dr. Sorcha O’Brien, David Smith, Tom Spalding, Bernard Timmins and Dr. PJ White.

Tickets: €65 (€40 student concessions). Tickets can be purchased at www.miseeireconference.ie. As places will be limited, early booking is advised.


– Ends –

For further press information, please contact Elevate PR, 01 662 5652
Tara Walsh - tara@elevate.ie / Emer Igbokwe - emer@elevate.ie

Notes for Editors:

About Edmund de Waal, artist and writer
Edmund de Waal is an artist and writer. Born in 1964, de Waal is best known for his large scale installations of porcelain vessels, which are informed by his passion for architecture, space and sound. His work has been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally, with recent exhibitions at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Kunsthaus, Graz; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin; Gagosian Gallery, Beverley Hills; and the Royal Academy in London. Edmund de Waal has also been widely published. His family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), won many literary prizes. His second book, The White Road, was published in 2015. Last year he was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction by Yale University. De Waal was made an OBE for his services to art in 2011. He is a Senior Fellow of the Royal College Art and has been on the Advisory Committee for The Royal Mint since 2012. He is currently a Trustee for The Saturday Club and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

About Tom Inglis, Emeritus Professor, UCD
Tom Inglis is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at University College Dublin. He has written extensively about Irish culture, particularly in relation to religion, sexuality, the media, globalisation, love and the meaning of life. He has published numerous articles and books in these areas, including Moral Monopoly: The Catholic Church in Modern Irish Society (2nd ed. 1998); Lessons in Irish Sexuality (1998); Truth, Power and Lies: Modern Irish Society and the Case of the Kerry Babies (2003); Global Ireland: Same Difference (2008); Making Love: A Memoir (2012); Love (2013); Are the Irish Different? (2014); and Meanings of Life in Contemporary Ireland: Webs of Significance (2014).

Conference Contributors:
Edmund de Waal Author and Ceramic Artist
Professor Tom Inglis Emeritus Professor, University College Dublin
Professor Luke Gibbons (Conference Rapporteur) Professor of Irish Literary and Cultural Studies, National University of Ireland, Maynooth Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design
Dr. Lisa Godson, Lecturer, National College of Art and Design
Sandra Heise 1916 Exhibition Curator, National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks
Dr. Linda King Co-Progamme Chair: BA (Hons) Visual Communication Design, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Dr. Moya Carey, Iran Heritage Foundation Curator, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Dr. Audrey Whitty Keeper of the Art and Industrial Division (Decorative Arts and History), National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks
Dr. Alison Fitzgerald Lecturer, National University of Ireland Maynooth
Dr. Edith Andrees, Museum Educator, National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks
Joseph Walsh Furniture Designer Maker
Joe Hogan Basketmaker
Ciarán Ó Gaora Founder/CEO Zero-G
Brian Kennedy Curator
Alison Conneely Fashion Designer
Dr. Steve Coleman, Lecturer, National University of Ireland Maynooth
Katie Hanlan Textiles Designer
Dr. Caoilfhoinn Ní Bhacháin, Lecturer, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick
Professor Simon Olding Director of the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, UK
Dr. Adam Drazin Lecturer, University of Limerick
Professor Gary Granville Emeritus Professor, National College of Art and Design
Aoibheann McNamara Ard Bia and The Tweed Project
Róisín de Buitléar Glass Artist, Educator, Curator and Writer
Mary Ann Bolger, Lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology
Rachel Botha, PhD Candidate, Dublin Institute of Technology
Dr. Claudia Kinmonth, Visiting Research Fellow, Moore Institute, National University of Ireland Galway
Dr. Sorcha O’Brien, Senior Lecturer, Kingston University, London
David Smith, Lecturer at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and Studio Principal at Atelier David Smith
Tom Spalding Author
Bernard Timmins, Lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology
Dr. PJ White, Research Leader, DesignCORE, Carlow

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie

About the National Museum of Ireland
As a national cultural institution, the National Museum of Ireland has a unique responsibility for the natural history of Ireland and for the rich material culture of its peoples. It plays a central role as a source of education and knowledge of Ireland’s culture and natural history and of its relationship to the wider world, making its collections available to audiences at home and abroad. The Museum has achieved record breaking numbers of over 1 million visitors to their four sites since the start of 2016. Not only is this the 6th consecutive year that the Museum has attracted over 1 million visitors, but it is also the first time this figure has been reached as early as the first week in September; it represents a cumulative increase of 16% on same period last year and is ahead of visitor trends from Fáilte Ireland. Free Admission. www.museum.ie

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