Emmet O’Doherty
Head of the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design & Architecture

Welcome to the 2021 Yeats Academy Creative Showcase and Yearbook. We are delighted to share this celebration of the creativity, hard work and commitment of our students and staff for what has been the most unusual
of academic years.

I would like to start by congratulating our graduating students who have successfully completed a rigorous programme in which the last year was in the midst of a pandemic. This could not have been an easy journey, yet you demonstrated resilience, grit and tenacity in the face of severe challenges. Creative thinkers and problem solvers like you, have the opportunity to make an enormous difference to our society by refining and applying these traits in the careers you pursue after graduation. You have demonstrated that with drive and determination, even without resources, you can create excellence, provided you have a supportive environment. I would like to acknowledge our department faculty members for providing the supportive environment required for our students to allow them to reach their full potential. You have shown dedication and devotion to ensuring that our objective at YAADA, not just to educate our students academically, but to support their development as individuals and to give them the best experience we can during their journey with us was fulfilled. At the core of YAADA we believe that it is both a privilege and a gift to teach students, and that we are prepared to be different in our struggle striving for excellence. In our pursuit of excellence, many of our department faculty members are producing research at the forefront of their respective creative fields. Included for the first time in this year’s publication are a snapshot selection of the impactful research that is contributing to the development of creative practice and pedagogy. Also included in this section is Sinead O’Donnell-Carey, the first of hopefully many YAADA PhD students. As we sit on the threshold of becoming a new technological university, I am unquestionably optimistic for the role that YAADA can play in being a positive central presence at the heart of our new university, our region, and beyond.

September 2021 seems only just around the corner and we are looking forward to being back on campus and to embrace the new and innovative normal that promises to bring new possibilities and opportunities for cultural and creative education. We hope that you enjoy the digital showcase and yearbook and that through our digital presence we can make YAADA more accessible for all.

The Year in Review

What a year it has been! In September we pioneered the first CAO full-time online undergraduate degree programme in Ireland with our Writing and Literature Level 8 Honours Degree online. Although many programmes across the country were forced into online delivery, our programme had been in development for two years with the intention of broadening accessibility and participation for those who may not be able to access higher education or attend campus in the traditional format. December saw our first cohort of graduates in our Masters of Arts through Creative Practice programme. Students from different discipline backgrounds learn side-by-side and experiment with ideas and bring them to fruition by working innovatively with each other. This programme epitomises the post-disciplinary culture that we aspire to create in YAADA, embracing ingenuity born of collaboration to face challenges that will not be solved by siloed thinking or traditional means.

In January 2021, we experienced a significant new development for the Department as we occupied the first phase of the €18 million North Campus Creative Hub. The first phase includes studios for our Fine Art and Design programmes, staff offices, seminar rooms and a multimedia laboratory. I am also delighted to announce that the sod will be turned for Phase Two of developments this coming August, with completion expected for January 2023. The next phase will become the heart of the North Campus, housing two black box theatres, print, ceramics, digital media and costume workshops, a FabLab and Maker-Space along with, design studios and classrooms centred around a large social zone intended to be a melting pot for creativity to thrive and interdisciplinary ideas to flourish.

Sadly, in February we lost one of our first year Design students, Nikita O’Malley. Her classmates showed great generosity of spirit to Nikita’s family and to one another as they coped with such a devastating blow at such a formative time. Remembering Nikita’s energy and positivity kept us going, and we dedicate this book to her.