Notions of a Learning Society and Learning Partnership Vehicles: the Islands Project, a Cast Study

Fergus Murphy, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Theses, Masters

Successfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy to the Dublin Institute of Technology, June, 2010


This case study focuses on the Partnership Vehicle that was jointly developed by the School of Art, Design and Printing at the DIT, and the Sherkin Island Development Society in the period 1998 to 2004, in order to construct and deliver a pilot Fine Art programme on Sherkin Island in West Cork. The pilot programme was delivered on Sherkin from 2000 to 2003, and subsequently, based on the pilot, the School of Art, Design and Printing developed a prototype Fine Art degree aimed at isolated
communities. This course is currently being delivered on Sherkin. A third level-community partnership seems an ideal mechanism for furthering academic, local-community and indeed, society’s educational
aims and goals. However, in order to function at a meaningful level the partners need to display a high degree of flexibility and understanding of
each other’s needs (and limitations) in order to move toward their goals. In order to describe and understand this process and the journey undertaken
by the partnership, I therefore elected to study it against a backdrop of learning society models, with a particular focus on notions of partnership
between academic and local-communities, as a means of widening participation. This process has enabled me to develop an understanding of the underlying motives of the partners in general, and key figures within the
partnership in particular. As such, a key facet of this case study has been the opportunity to consider a partnership vehicle and ethos that developed
between two communities prior to, and subsequently, in parallel with, higher echelon (e.g. institutional, governmental) strategies aimed at furthering certain lifelong learning and learning society agendas.


Document Type

Master thesis