Research Matters for the Creative Arts at DkIT24 April 2023
The Creative Arts Research Centre (CARC) at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) recently hosted a creative sharing event on campus with the aim of facilitating the generation of conversations around ongoing research projects and the dissemination of ideas.
Welcoming participants, Head of School of Informatics and Creative Arts, Professor Fergal McCaffrey noted the diversity of activities in the Creative Arts at DkIT, and he continued by complimenting recent performances by music and theatre students.
The themes throughout the day reflected on the experiences of researchers at DkIT who have published recently and a discussion on the challenges presented by constant change within the creative industry both nationally and globally.
Kenneth Sloane reflected on his chapter in a forthcoming book by Oxford University Press on the Alien movie franchise. His presentation, which explored ideas of archetypal plots, paralleled a presentation by Dr Ingrid Lewis on Holocaust Cinema in East-Central Europe. Lewis, who has published two books and is a leading international expert on the topic, provided historical context for films including an understanding of the impact of World War II on representation in film and the similarities in films from different countries that have contrasting historical experiences.
Presenting on a project that is currently under development, JJ Quinlan provided insight into his development of an education VR experience that introduces users to medieval Dundalk. Quinlan’s work utilizes the latest technologies to engage with audiences and explore history, bringing it to life in a virtual space. His work resonated with that of Dr Kelly McErlean, whose book on interactive narratives and transmedia storytelling has recently been translated into Chinese and has become an important resource in Higher Education.
Dr Ciara Murphy, Dr Kayla Rush and Dr Kelly McErlean each outlined their experiences of publishing books based on their PhDs. Working with different international publishers (Routledge and Bergahn), they provided insights into the motivations and challenges, including a desire to share their research and the timelines involved. Reflecting on the importance of publishing a book for an academic career in the humanities, Murphy’s book on Irish theatre and Rush’s anthropological study of the arts in Northern Ireland conclude at significant points in Irish history – COVID-19 and Brexit – and the challenges for writing material that remains relevant despite constant change in society.
Dr Kieran Nolan, co-director of the Creative Arts Research Centre (CARC), presented his research on computer games and his recent work on preservation and games history. Work in this area is challenged by the rapid changes in industry. Nolan’s work includes examination of graffiti art in games and the links between anime, manga, and videogames. He illustrated this with the Street Fighter games, first launched in 1987 and with a new game coming out this year. He is also researching the work of New York graffiti artist Rammellzee as it links to games and digital media.
This event was extremely productive for all that attended as it provided time and space for researchers to develop discussions that were mutually beneficial for project development, bringing down some of the perceived barriers to disseminating research. It highlighted the globally relevant research in the Creative Arts at Dundalk Institute of Technology and the innovative interaction of arts, humanities, and technologies in the centre.