GMIT Mayo launches new part-time honours art degree

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Press Office
Press Release

New programme is one of only two such art courses offered in Ireland

GMIT Mayo has launched a new part-time honours art degree, one of only two level 8 (honours) part-time art courses offered by a third-level college in Ireland.


The new Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art is a two year add-on degree which comprises modules in Painting and Critical Theory. It will be delivered in the Mayo campus in Castlebar one and a half days a week during the academic year, commencing September (2014).


Graduates will be able to work as practitioners in the fields of painting or, subject to further specialisation and experience, in the fields of community arts, public art, arts administration, art and design education, curation, practice/theory based research and careers linked to contemporary visual art and design culture.


The new honours art programme complements the level 7 BA in Contemporary Art Practices course, also recently launched in GMIT Mayo, which is delivered on a part-time basis over four academic years (1 and a half days a week), commencing every September.


The Level 8 (honours) programme has been welcomed by current art students and graduates of GMIT who are practising artists.


Mary Nestor, GMIT Mayo Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator, says the new course has been in demand for some time, from graduates of the Level 7 course (ordinary degree) as well as current art students who wish to go on and train to teach art or continue to further their knowledge and skills in postgraduate art disciplines.


“We are delighted to offer this honours programme. Studying on a part-time basis allows people who have work or family commitments to engage with the intellectual and creative life of a college environment. It also provides a springboard for ideas, work practice and opportunities that working in isolation may not afford.”


Westport-based, award-winning artist Benita Stoney who graduated from GMIT Mayo with a degree in Fine Art in 2006, says the GMIT degree opened up all kinds of opportunities for her. “It made me aware of my place in the art world and has supplied me with the support and companionship of other artists. I am deeply grateful.”

Benita Stoney won the RHA Jorgensen Award while still an undergraduate art student in GMIT. She is also a recipient of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Changing Faces Award and the Simon Weston Award, and regularly exhibits at both the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London.

She has held over ten exhibitions, including this year at the RHA annual exhibition, and was in the group show ‘Emerging Artists’ at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon last year (2013) - The Irish Times wrote “… the careful, meticulous precision of [Benita Stoney's] close-up portraits recall the almost frightening clarity and detail of Freud prior to the 1960s.” (27 May 2013)


Applications for the new honours programme (level 8) and for the BA in Contemporary Art Practices (level 7) are directly to the college. Forms are available from the Lifelong Learning Office, GMIT Mayo, Westport Road, Castlebar, Co Mayo.  A portfolio is required and interview at the end of this month (May). Closing date is Friday 30 May.


GMIT and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) are the only two third-level Irish colleges offering a level 8 (Honours) part-time degree in art. CIT offers its programme through the Access Office.