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Ireland: Critical Cartography: The Art of Place Making

May/June – 1 week in Milwaukee, 3 weeks on-site in Ireland

  • 6 Credits
  • HS396 Humanities 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


One depends on the accuracy of maps to get around a new city effectively, or help imagine the contours of a distant land. But maps are not neutral documents. Rather, they are reflective of points of view and have agency in the world. A map can document both place and memory in ways that go well beyond the actual physicality of any specific geography. The act of translating a place into a visual representation is an endeavor rich with imaginative possibility and practical consequence.

This course engages the idea that mapping–both figuratively and literally–is a critical and creative enterprise. Taking the rich history (and contested landscape) of the west of Ireland as both case study and point of departure, students will critically consider maps as documents, as well as creatively explore the potential of new cartographic languages. Students will have the opportunity think thoughtfully and imaginatively about the ways we make sense of our surroundings, and about the ways that “mapping,” both figuratively and literally, impacts history, memory and identity.

The studio component of the course will seamlessly integrate with what students are doing in their humanistic studies. It will ask them to consider mapping as a form of making that can traverse boundaries between art, research, geography and politics. It will allow them to consider particular visual structures as a starting point for their own practice – and introduce them to spatially oriented trends in contemporary art.

During this 3-week on-site program, students will interact closely with the small town of Ballyvaughan, located within the striking, challenging landscape known as the Burren. The Burren College of Art, located in a restored 16th century castle, will provide a unique base from which students explore. Students will stay together in a self-catered cottage within walking distance from the college. Fieldtrips to such sites as Coole Park, Corcomroe Abbey, the Cliffs of Mohr and the Aran Islands will broaden students’ understanding and appreciation of the landscape and rich history of Western Ireland.

Students will meet as a class both pre- and post-trip and will complete coursework upon return. An exhibition of written and visual work will be mounted in late August at MIAD.

Courtney Maloneyis Associate Professor of Writing & Humanities at MIAD, and was most recently Chair of Writing & Humanities. She has been full-time faculty at MIAD since 2006. She has both personal and scholarly interests in how places are materially and imaginatively constructed and lived in. She previously taught in MIAD’s Ireland program in 2007.

Robert Lynch is a Professor in the Interior Architecture and Design Program and has taught at MIAD for 18 years. Prior to MIAD, Professor Lynch taught in the School of Architecture and Interior Design the University of Cincinnati and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His background in architecture, interest in geography and time spent working for a civil engineer/surveyor along with urban planners, have inspired his interest in the land and mapping. He has taught in MIAD’s Ireland program a number of times.

Estimated Travel/ Course Fee:  $4095
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 several meals.
Students are responsible for necessary passports or visas. Airfare is NOT included.
(Roundtrip airfare is estimated at $1100.)

Application Deadline:  December 1, 2015.
Study Abroad Grant Application Deadline: November 17, 2015*
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, 2015.
Application materials must be submitted to Jenny Krantz, Director ,Creative Learning Opportunities (450B) by deadline.
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.
After student is accepted into the program, the deposit is non-refundable.

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 before the start of the summer term, and in some cases, not until mid-program, 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, 2015 – $600 Deposit must accompany application
(non-refundable after program acceptance)
January 30, 2016 – $350 
March 20, 2016 – $350
May 1, 2016 – $2795 FINAL PAYMENT** 

Full payment is REQUIRED before program begins in May.
– 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