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Ireland’s Burren: Voices of the Land

May/June – 4 weeks

  • 6 Credits
  • HS396 Humanities Travel Elective OR WRTG396 Writing Travel Elective
  • FA396: Fine Arts Studio Travel Elective OR DS396: Design Studio Travel Elective
  • Pre-requisites: Completed Freshman year by time of travel and instructor approval

The Burren of Ireland, comprising 250 square kilometers, is one of the largest limestone karst landscapes in Europe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay on the west and north, this wild and unforgiving topography is characterized by subterranean caverns, rugged hills, and dramatic seascapes, along with a unique assemblage of plant and animal life, ranging from Mediterranean to sub-Arctic. Because the natural beauty of the Burren is marked by nearly 10,000 years of human interaction with the landscape, it is a perfect setting in which to immerse students in artistic, literary, environmental and historical examinations of the ways that landscape, memory, and human creativity intersect.

“Ireland’s Burren: Voices of the Land” will utilize both the human and natural environment of the Burren and the village of Ballyvaughan as classroom, studio, resource, and subject, inviting students to explore the relationships between individual identity, collective memory, creative expression, and a sense of place. Students will connect with Irish culture, history, and landscapes through field trips, travel, storytelling, and guest artist presentations; readings and discussion will focus their reflections, writing, and making. Interactions with residents from the area will create opportunities for authentic engagement as well as personal discovery of what it means to live and be of the Burren. The Burren College of Art, located in a restored 16th century castle, will provide a unique base from which students explore.

This integrated course will balance three credits of Writing or Humanities Electives and three credits of Fine Arts or Design Studio Electives. The Writing/Humanities component will have a particular emphasis on Irish poetry, storytelling, and balladry: through both academic and experiential learning, students will examine the connections between landscape and literary form, discovering how an author constructs a voice, a self, and a sense of place through language. At the same time, the Studio component of the course will guide students to consider how place and history shape an artist’s creative work, culminating in an individual project that thoughtfully incorporates new experiences with Irish landscapes and culture into the conceptual and physical creation of student work. A collaborative trip blog will document and organize this rich learning experience.

Students will be required to do some preparatory work in advance of trip and will complete coursework upon return. An exhibition of written and visual work will be mounted in August.

Judith Harway, Professor of Writing, earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University and has been a member of MIAD’s faculty since 1992. Her approach to the teaching of writing reflects her identity and commitment as a working writer, and actively engages the creative curiosity of students. Her published works include Sundown: A Daughter’s Memoir of Alzheimer’s Care (2014), and three collections of poetry: Swimming in the Sky (2014), All That is Left (2009) and The Memory Box (2002); she is a two-time recipient of the Wisconsin Arts Board Literature Fellowship, and a fellow the MacDowell Colony and the Hambidge Center. Judith co-taught in the MIAD Ireland program in 2011 and 2013.
Bruce Grudzinski graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Sculpture from UW – Milwaukee. As a sculptor and professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, he has taught artists and designers for over twenty-five years. His sculptures are socially relevant and spiritually introspective constructions that often include metal forging, welding and casting. Bruce has taught in the MIAD Ireland Program multiple times.
Estimated Travel/ Course Fee:  $4795
Includes 6 credits MIAD summer tuition, housing, field trips, studio space at the Burren College of Art, travel health/safety insurance during program dates, and some meals.
Students are responsible for necessary passports or visas. Airfare is NOT included.
(Roundtrip airfare is estimated at $1100.)
Students typically stay together in a large cottage within walking distance of the Burren College of Art.
Application Deadline:  December 1, 2014. 
Study Abroad Grant Application Deadline: November 17, 2014*
Interested students must apply for the program and complete an application packet (download from MIAD website or available outside of office 450B). Space is limited. Completed application forms must include a deposit of $600 payable to MIAD Ireland Program, a statement of interest, 2 letters of reference and financial aid form (whether requesting aid or not).
*Students interested in being considered for this year’s Study Abroad Need-Based Grants must submit their complete application package by November 17, 2014.
Application materials must be submitted to Jenny Krantz, Director ,Creative Learning Opportunities (450B) by deadline.
After student is accepted into the program, the deposit is non-refundable.
Students must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Minimum enrollment must be met for program to run. Deposits will be returned if program is canceled because of insufficient enrollment or if student is not accepted.
Financial Aid: 
Financial aid is available for qualified students. Interested students should inquire at the MIAD Financial Aid office ASAP to determine individual eligibility. Students should be aware that financial aid cannot be distributed any earlier than 5-7 days before the start of the summer term, so students should plan other means to cover earlier required payments and plane ticket purchases.
Payment Schedule: 
Payments on balance of course fee and tuition* will be due in the MIAD Student Accounts Office. Sample payment schedule based on estimated tuition/course fee noted:
December 1, 2014 – $600 Deposit must accompany application
(non-refundable after program acceptance)
January 30, 2015 – $350 
March 20, 2015 – $350
May 1, 2015 – $3495 FINAL PAYMENT** 

Full payment is REQUIRED before program begins.
– Payments beyond initial deposit may also be non-refundable if expenses have already been paid on participant’s behalf.
** Students who are expecting financial aid for summer semester can elect to have this applied to their final payment.

Jenny Krantz, Director, Creative Learning Opportunities & Research – 
Office – 450B