MoLI to host UCD’s Belonging Project Art Exhibition

UCD and NCAD will reunite in MoLi on Tuesday the 29th of August to unveil the artworks inspired by the college communities' written works on their sense of belonging

The Museum of Literature Ireland will host the first edition of the Belonging Project Art Exhibition with exclusive readings of the written pieces created by UCD and NCAD students and staff and a showing of the artwork created by NCAD students inspired by their words. The now sold-out event is a written submission competition and partnership between the UCD School of Education and Philosophy and the NCAD Bureau+.

The initiative invites past and present students and staff to submit a short form of written submission on their sense of belonging to their college community. From these submissions, unique art pieces were created by students from the National College of Arts and Design. Haikus, letters, short stories, and other expressions of belonging or lack thereof in writing were all made collaboratively and MoLi will provide a physical space for the community born from this project to unite and observe their respective artworks for the first time. 

Dr Shane Bergin, physicist and an assistant professor in science education at UCD's School of Education and one of the coordinators of the project stresses the importance of belonging in the student experience: “UCD greatly values belonging and it was important that we honor the celebrations of belonging in UCD as well as the instances where people may have struggled to find a community”. For the principal investigator on the project, chartered psychologist and researcher in the UCD School of Education, Dr. Emma Farell, the summer lull is as good of a time as ever to launch this initiative: “As we’re coming back from the holidays and settling into the new year, it is important for us to assess what it is we value about university as an experience, especially post-pandemic”. 

The project, which goes above and beyond abstract ideals, follows in the footsteps of the many efforts made by both student-run societies and members of staff to foster an inclusive and tight-knit community on a campus as vast as UCD. 

From the page to the easel, Dr. Emma Farrell reveals that “thinking creatively about belonging also means reckoning with the effects circumstances such as the ongoing housing crisis and the homelessness situation have had on the sense of belonging”. Both Dr. Emma Ferrell and Dr. Shane Bergin cite a “difficulty to sustain a feeling of being a part of a cohesive ensemble in the midst of a housing crisis and in a post-pandemic world”. 

The intrinsically collaborative nature of the project shows that the need for a community has not been diminished but only heightened by recent events. The initiative that boasts contributions from UCD students past and present reveals the institution’s history and legacy of belonging. Artworks born from the ink and feelings of all UCD and NCAD community members will make their way to Belfield shortly and will be available on campus for all to see.