Contextual Research Methodologies Workshop
January 25th – February 5th


Exploration of Thomas Street

The initial project phase focused on an exploration of Thomas Street and it’s immediate environs as a joint collaboration between staff and students in the two separate departments of “Sculpture and Expanded Practices” and “Media”. The project had a series of  seminars, visiting speakers, workshops and Street tours including:

  • A tour of Thomas Street and environs by Stephen Coyne of Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative
  • Seminar: Research Methodologies – A Post Soviet Urban Case Study by Gareth Kennedy, NCAD Sculpture And Expanded Practice
  • Seminar: Public Art Proposals and implementation – Dublin Ships, by Cliona Harmey, NCAD Media
  • Professional introductions: Ruairi O’Cuiv, Public Art Officer with Dublin City Council and Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer with Dublin City Council
  • Professional introductions: Alan Mee, Thomas Street – A three framed Approach, Architect / Urban designer/ Lecturer, UCD Phd Candidate
  • Seminar: Performance & the Street by Michelle Browne, NCAD Sculpture And Expanded Practice
  • Workshop: Street as Stage & Performance to Camera, with Leah Hilliard, NCAD Media.



These seminars, tours and professional introductions ran in parallel with an active research phase. Students from both departments were divided into 8 research teams and were each given a theme to explore the street as one of the following:
The Street as “Archive”
The Street as “Stage”
The Street as “Workplace”
The Street as “Conduit”

Thomas Street was addressed as a ‘living archive’. It was considered as a complex system of ever changing structures and occupancy of these structures, as a thoroughfare, a tourist trail, a place for business, a place for advertisement, a place for encounter. It was also explored as a place some people call home.

The research teams used direct observation, interviews, recording, archive visits, discussions, local/anecdotal information, chance encounters, conversation, images field trips, foraging, mapping, and discussion to gather material for a series of physical archive boxes.

These archive boxes were used were used a springboard to provide students with learning in relation to research methodologies whilst also enabling them to think about ways of engaging in both primary and secondary research and how to feed this into their artistic practice. This research phase uncovered structural issues/changes, ideas about gentrification, zoning, planning, as well as less obvious hidden/personal/industrial and local histories.


  • Develop an awareness /working knowledge of research practices used at initial stages of a project with potential public engagement in the context of Thomas Street
  • Engage in collaborative active research on Thomas Street and refine and present findings
  • To foster professional and creative responsibility and engagement with / for an audience / public
  • To understand connections and relationships between interdisciplinary fields of practice
  • To develop an awareness of the relationship between art and its context on Thomas Street
  • Use these methodologies and research phase to inform further work to be undertaken addressing Thomas Street

Art Works

Each group prepared a 15 minute presentation with slides, articles, media, maps, objects, performance etc.

This and all other research materials were compiled into a physical Dossier/Folder from each group with material in it, captioned, credited and compiled, hard and soft copies. From the 8 Research Groups 2 dossiers were generated per theme (Workplace, Archive, Stage, Conduit). This archive was envisioned as becoming an accessible common resource for all students as they moved into the next more individuated phases. It is also considered a resource for the following years IPIP students to build on, and for exchange students to explore to orientate themselves in relation to the street. These will be placed in a special cabinet in the NCAD library for further reference.

The pictures are sample extracts from the Thomas Street Archive Boxes produced by NCAD Sculpture and Media Students under the thematic of street as Archive, Conduit, Stage and Workplace.

Thomas Street

Artists and art students