Visual Culture - Research

The School of Visual Culture is an interdisciplinary centre for teaching and research in humanities and social science disciplines with particular focus and expertise across the history, theory and criticism of art, design and visual culture.

The School creates a community that fosters lively exchange, scholarly discussion and critical debate. The mix of disciplines in the School enables ambitious enquiries into all aspects of art and design, representation, cultural production, cultural consumption, material culture, visual and spatial culture and cultural politics. Themes are explored through a variety of methodologies and with reference to a wide variety of art and design practices and forms of Visual Culture.

We welcome proposals for doctoral research 'by thesis' and 'by practice' - see the FAQs tab for further details.

Research students in the School also benefit from opportunities to take classes in our MA programmes.

Current and completed doctoral research projects at the School include:

•Fred Boissonas's Phtography and the Representation of the Greek Landscape

•Miroslaw Balka and the Politics of Memory in Polish Art

•From Hide to Hand: The Leather Glove as Material and Metaphor in Polite English Culture, ca. 1730 to 1820 (IRC funded studentship)

•Objects, Spaces and Rituals. A Social and Material History of Matrnity in Ireland, c. 1730-1830 (IRC funded studentship)

•Irish Identity through the Home: The Suburban Mid-Century Transformation

•On Ballet and Design

•Ontology of the Digitally-generated Image

•Systems Theory / cybernetics and the contemporary art institution

•On the Stained Glass of William Early (1872-1956)

•Bochner's Intermittent Objects: Aesthetics, Embodiment and Affect in Conceptual Art

•Interstitial Distance: The Future Of The Critical Arts Insitutions' Relationahip To The Neoliberal State

•Narratives of Global Modernity: International Contemporary Art Exhibitions as Places for Mapping Relational Geographies

•Reclaiming Remix: The critical role of Sampling in Transformative Works - a multimodal semiotic analysis of rhetoric and ideology in Critical Remix video

•Bracha L Ettinger's Matrixial Theory & Aesthetics: Matrixial Flesh and the Jouissance of Non-Life.

•Ghost-haunted land: Art After the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland - published by MUP

•Advocating for the user: Functionalist industrial design practice in the German Democratic Republic - published as a book

•Form, complexity and governance: Problems of play in contemporary arts practice - published as a book

•Catholic Ireland: the Catholic church and the construction of Irish identity 1879-1923

For further details about length, duration of study, etc., please click on the course weblink below.

Entry requirements

Educational Standard

A candidate seeking admission to a course of study and research leading to a PhD must fulfil one of the following criteria:

a) A minimum of an upper second class degree or equivalent in a relevant honours Bachelor's degree. The College will consider applications from holders of diplomas in art or design (minimum level upper second Class Honours or equivalent).

b) A relevant master's degree; or

c) The candidate has demonstrated other evidence of academic standing and/or relevant professional experience

Those applying on the basis of a) or c) above may be required to pass a qualifying examination appropriate to each case, before being admitted to doctoral degree studies. Participation in selected courses at NCAD, together with related written work, may be required.

Application dates

You apply through the admissions section of the website

We welcome informal approaches before receiving a formal application.

We often encourage potential applicants to come in to NCAD / or talk on the phone/skype before applying. This allows us to understand the subject and also to establish whether we have the right expertise to support you.

If you would like to talk about your ideas before applying, it is helpful if you draft some notes in answer to the following questions

What is my research field and/or questions?
What is the state of thinking and / or research in that field? (it is important to demonstrate an awareness of the work of others in order to show 'originality')
What will my approach to research be? (will you be using a body of theory or conducting interviews?)
What sources will be required and do I have access to them? (For instance, do you plan to work with archives?)
Please send these notes to the Visual Culture office - and a member of staff will respond.

We also recommend that you read some PhD work prior making an application to understand the challenges involved. We keep copies of existing PhD work in the library at NCAD.


Students can be registered full time or part time.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Flexible

  • Apply to

    Course provider