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Exploring 160 Years Of Art In Belfast

28 January 2010

A new book tracing the modern history of the University of Ulster’s School of Art and Design will be launched in Belfast today.

Ulster Professor of Irish Visual Culture, Liam Kelly, has outlined the development of the famous institution from the 1960s – when it was affectionately known as the Art College – to the present day.

The book, which is entitled The School of Art and Design 1960 – 2009, was produced as part of the 160th anniversary celebrations of the School of Art and Design.

The launch will take place in the Ormeau Baths Gallery and marks the finale in a  series of events hosted by the university to recognise the landmark year. A retrospective exhibition featuring work from acclaimed artists, including both staff and students who have passed through it doors, is currently running in the gallery until the end of this month.

Professor Ian Montgomery, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Art Design and the Built Environment said: “For 160 years the School of Art and Design has reflected the changes and growth of Northern Ireland’s culture.

“During the difficult times of the late 20th century the School acted as a crucial lifeline for artists and designers in Northern Ireland. 

“Over the past 40 years in particular, students and staff at the York Street campus have made a major contribution to the cultural life of the region in fine arts, applied arts, design and more recently through collaborative work in the innovative new School of Architecture and Design.

“Throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s the landmark, York Street Building was affectionately known by many as the ‘Art College’ or the ‘College of Art’ and while the campus may have changed, the spirit of creativity, innovation and skills development goes from strength to strength.

Professor Liam Kelly added: “This publication is an account of the Art College and how it became the School of Art and Design. It is the tale of two buildings and the absorption of a formally independent college into the university system, the resulting changes in teaching and learning,  and the establishment of art and design as a credible research discipline.”

The School of Art and Design 1960 – 2009 will be launched at 1pm on Thursday 28 January 2010 at the Ormeau Baths Gallery.