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IMMA groundwork is series of case studies about research in an art museum context. The first case study, The Place Project, is a unique long-term collaboration between IMMA and IADT (the Institute of Art, Design and Technology) BA Art programme. The Place Project is a student-directed research project that offers students in the first year of their BA in Art at IADT a truly unique, immersive and active learning experience. For an entire semester the students are based on the site of the museum, responding to its environs. This project began as a site-specific project focusing on IMMA as the place and has grown into an ongoing, museum-based, student research programme that informs how IMMA engages with third-level groups.

The semester offers space for students to approach IMMA in many ways: as museum, gallery, institution, public space, historical site, architectural structure, environment, destination, cartographical point, atmosphere, etc. Over ten years working in close collaboration with IMMA’s Engagement and Learning department, The Place Project has developed into a comprehensive self-directed research project, incorporating peer and professional-led learning, professional mentoring and public presentations of active research on site.

Each year, the students engage with many different people, working in various professional roles in IMMA such as curators, visitor engagement staff, security, technical crew, OPW (Office of Public Works) gardeners as well as the museum’s visiting public. They also cross paths with the national and international artists undertaking the IMMA Artists’ Residency Programme. At the end of the twelve-week module the students present their research projects in various sites throughout IMMA and its environs.

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