Institution / University of Limerick
City scape

Festive Arts

The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance has been Ireland’s premier centre for music and dance performance education since its foundation twenty years ago. In keeping with its cutting edge reputation, the Academy is pleased to announce its first programme to expand beyond music and dance and embrace a wide spectrum of performance practices under the umbrella of ‘festive arts’.

The MA Festive Arts is a one year, full-time Masters offering a comprehensive programme of study embracing practical, scholarly and performance-based aspects of festival studies. Students will have the opportunity to apprentice with a festival towards the acquisition of skills related to festival coordination and design, as well as being introducing to methods for the study of festival, a survey of global festivity, and aspects of festival management.

The MA Festive Arts joins a suite of ten taught Masters programmes at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, which also offers two undergraduate programmes (BA Voice and Dance; BA Irish Music and Dance Performance), as well as doctoral-level research opportunities and a structured PhD programme in Arts Practice. The MA Festive Arts programme has a special relationship to the MA Community Music programme with which it will develop shared areas of study.

The MA Festive Arts programme aims to:
•provide students with a strong foundation in theoretical and methodological principles relevant to the study of festival.
•provide students with practical experience in the creative development of festival-based artistic programmes, events management, and festival-based performance.
•provide an integrated context for studying a variety of performance practices.
•provide students with the skills to engage in reflexive scholarship around their own practice.
•provide students with the skills to create audio, visual and written archival documentation around identified festivals.

See more at:

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold an honours undergraduate degree (Level 8 - National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) and/or substantial experience of an appropriate arts practice, evidencing a record of achievement equivalent to a high honours degree, as per UL’s APEL policy. In all cases, the application process will include an interview and audition.

What to include with your Application:
Qualification transcripts and certificates

English language qualification if English is not your first language

Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English

A copy of your birth certificate (long document).

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:
•Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
•Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
•TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
•IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5 with no less than 6 in any one component.
•English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
•GCE ‘O’ level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
•University of Cambridge ESOL –Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English - Grade A
•GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.


1 year full time

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

The programme will equip students with the ability to:
•Demonstrate an understanding of key themes and practices in the area of festive arts studies.
•Display skills which address the key requirements of festival coordination including artistic programming, events management, marketing, finance, security, health and safely and audience development.
•Develop a research foundation capable of negotiating ethnographic, practice-based, cultural and historical paradigms of festivity.
•Engage in practitioner-based research that contributes to the growth of international research in festive arts.
•Direct a performance-based programme of study.
•Critically evaluate key issues in performance practice and research relevant to the area of festive arts.

Further enquiries

Course Director
Dr Niamh NicGhabhann
Course Director, MA Festive Arts
IW1 - 032
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance
University of Limerick

Phone: 353 (0)61 202798

Subjects taught

Autumn Semester
MD6131 Introduction to Local and Global Festivity
MD6021 Introduction to Fieldwork Techniques
MD6041 Introduction to Ritual Studies
MD6141 Research and Discovery for Festival Studies
MD6071 Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 1
MD6121 Festival Development and Production
MD6091 Professional Development for the Performing Arts

Options: students can choose one option from the list below
• MD6111 Colloquium 1
• MD6031 Media Technologies for Performing Arts and Arts Research
• MD6051 Independent Study 1
• MD6101 Interdisciplinary Improvisation
• MD6061 Introduction to Somatics

Spring Semester
MD6122 Introduction to Culture and Performance
MD6112 Introduction to Curating Performance
MD6062 Critical Contexts for Arts Management & Cultural Policy
MU5092 Programming and Production

Options: students can choose three options from the list below.
• MD6102 Colloquium 2
• MD6082 Choreography for Camera
• MD6052 Independent Study 2
• MD6072 Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 2
• BR5001 Broadening through Awareness, Activism and the Arts
• MD6092 Introduction to Somatics

Summer Semester
MD5522 Final Presentation

Programme Modules

Local and Global Festivity

This module introduces students to the study of festive arts through a cross-cultural investigation of festivals based on case studies of specific local, national and international festivals focusing on questions of differences and similarities across time and space; cultural constructs of celebration; festival organisation; varieties of festival design and dynamic; festivals as reflective and / or transformative of their social and cultural contexts.

Research and Discovery

This module introduces students to appropriate methods for studying public, religious, domestic and civic festivity with particular emphasis on performative aspects of festival activities through an exploration of how people understand and narrate their participation in festivity; how scholars access, utilise and present research on celebrating events; how we listen, see, interview, participate, observe and document festivity through notes, photos, videos, archives and public documents; how we analysis and synthesise; how we engage with research in an ethically responsible manner.

Festival Management

This module provides students with a foundation in the issues surrounding festival management and sustainability, covering a range of topics including artistic programming, events management, marketing, feasibility, public relations, media, finance, security, local authorities, health and safety and audience development.

Culture and Performance

This module explores cultural and performative dimensions of festival, contextualising it within a broad range of disciplines including performance studies, cultural studies, ritual studies, material culture studies, ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology with reference to how scholars, producers, directors, managers and artists reflect on the social and physical embodiment of festivity; through an exploration of celebration, commemoration, passage-marking and other kinds of cultural and religious performances, as well as reflections on festival roles, settings, objects, audiences, performers and productions.

Programming and Production

This module provide practical experience of festival programming and production through an internship with a local, national or international festival; the student will begin the process of identifying and selecting a suitable festival site in advance of the commencement of the internship in consultation with the course director and the festival artistic director and will be expected to fulfil an internship programme which provides experience of artistic programming and curatorship; design and production; marketing and audience participation, as well as performance aspects of the festival events.

Irish World Academy Spring Elective

This module offers students the opportunity to pursue self-directed learning of an academic or performance-based project, under the guidance of the course director and an elective supervisor. The student may wish to use the elective to pursue more specialised study in his / her area of study, or to access the other areas of expertise available at the centre. These currently include Ethnomusicology, Ethnochoreology, Music Education, Community Music, Music Therapy, Irish Traditional Music and Dance Performance, Contemporary Dance Performance and other specialist research interests of faculty and doctoral researchers at the Academy.

Final Presentation

This final presentation involves a final performance / thesis submissions or a combination of both, offered by the student as the culmination of his / her work during the course of the programme. The presentation is designed in consultation with the course director and relevant tutors In the Festive Arts programme, the Final Presentation module will include participation in a ‘Festival Lab’ within which students will incubate projects that will be performed as part of the lab and documented in A/V format and in the form of a 7,500 word reflexive paper.


The MA Festive Arts offers a comprehensive programme of study embracing practical, scholarly and performance-based aspects of festival studies. Students will have the opportunity to apprentice with a festival towards the acquisition of skills related to festival coordination and design, as well as being introducing to methods for the study of festival, a survey of global festivity, and aspects of festival management.

Application date

Taught Programmes - Application Process
All applicants apply through the online application system by choosing a programme from one of the five faculties. If Non-EU applicants wish to contact the International Education Division first before completing an online application, they can do by filling out the International Education Division Enquiry Form. For more information visit the International Office website.

International Office:
Tel: +353 61 202414
Fax: +353 61 213062

Visit the International Office website

What to include (upload) with your application
•Certified results for all examinations mentioned on your application form and/or confirmation of the award of your qualification(s).
•Evidence of English language proficiency.
•Certified translations of your award and transcripts if they are not in English
•A copy of your birth certificate or passport

Please note that certain programmes request additional documentation such as personal statements and/or references. Please check the programme entry requirements to ensure you have included the required information.

What happens after I apply?
Once you submit your application online, you will receive an email acknowledgement. It is important that you upload all your documents at the time of application as you will not be able to upload these at a later stage. If you do not have your documents at the time of application, you will need to mail them to the Postgraduate Admissions Office once they become available.
Your application will then be passed to the Course Director who will decide whether or not to offer you a place. Some programmes require interviews and you will be notified of the date, time and venue.

Decision Letter
You will receive one of the following letters from the Postgraduate Admissions Office:
•An unconditional offer. You satisfy all of the academic conditions required and we are offering you a place.
•A conditional offer. You do not yet satisfy the academic conditions required before entry but you propose to do so. The conditions are listed in the offer letter and may include English language tests as well as degree results.
•Letter of regret. We are unable to offer you a place.

Please note that a decision is authoritative and official only if it has been sent in writing from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Accepting a place at the University of Limerick
To accept your offer you must pay your acceptance deposit and send in the course acceptance form, stamped by the bank, to the Postgraduate Admissions Office. On receipt of this acceptance form/deposit, the Postgraduate Admissions Office will change the status of your application to Firmly Accepted. You will receive an orientation pack in August. The orientation pack will provide you with full details of orientation and enrolment.

Deferring your offer
You cannot defer a place on a taught postgraduate programme without the permission of the Course Director. If you are offered a deferral, you will receive a letter from the Postgraduate Admissions Office confirming that a deferral has been granted. You should then contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office before March of the following year to confirm that you will be accepting your place. If you are not offered a deferral, then you must re-apply for the programme the following academic year.

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Graduate School
Foundation Building
University of Limerick
Tel: +353 61 234377
Fax: +353 61 233287

Course fee

An Application Fee of €35 (electronically) or €40 Bank Draft/Cheque will apply to all taught postgraduate programmes.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: 04/Sep/2017.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!