Burren/Ireland: Studio Residency

July 7 – 28, 2018

Ireland Badge

This summer course offers students three weeks in the unspoiled, wild beauty of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland. This class will use the facilities of the Burren College of Art, an art school located on the grounds of a 16th-century castle amidst the spectacular western Irish seacoast. A studio-based study trip experience in which  each student shares half of an expansive studio bay, the itinerary will also include visits to some of the oldest man-made structures in Europe, hill walking, and an overnight trip to the Aran Islands, the last European outpost on the western Atlantic.

This course is designed on an open studio or residency model. Students will have the freedom and time to focus on and develop independent projects, detached from the conventions and constraints of traditional curriculum, enabling full engagement with their own work, free from distraction. Group critiques as well as numerous informal meeting sessions will be held.  Peter Power and Paola Cabal will meet with students for individual discussion and critiques. We’ll enjoy local presentations on Irish music (from traditional to post-punk) and Irish literature and history (from stone age to postcolonial, post-Celtic tiger). Field trips, readings, and explorations of Irish culture and the ruggedly beautiful landscape will provide an expansive and rare environment in which to work.

Credits: 3 or 6 credits STUDIO (3000-level)

Instructors: Peter Power: Printmedia Paola Cabal: Painting and Drawing

Program fee: Approx. $3,500 Includes accommodation and studio space, admissions, ground transport, and some group meals. Does not include airfare.

PLUS Tuition cost per credit: Undergraduate—$1,552 per credit hour Graduate—$1,625 per credit hour.


Budget at least $1,200 for airfare if flying from the United States. (Note this is only an estimated figure. Actual fare will depend on many variables including airline, number of stopovers, exchange rate fluctuations, ports of departure and return, and date of ticket purchase).

Online registration begins: March 14, 2018

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions: Monday, February 5,  4:15 p.m. Columbus Drive Bldg., room CO 319

Friday, March 2,  4:15 p.m. MacLean Centre, room MC 111

Scholarship Opportunities: Students who intend to register for this study trip are eligible to apply for SAIC Travel & J. Field/R. Field Family Travel Scholarships to assist with expenses. Application deadline February 14, 2018.

From previous course evaluations:

  • AMAZING TRIP!!! I learned so much and had a great time.
  • The Burren is one of the most incredible places I've ever been to in my life, the facilities at the school were great, Peter and Paola provided excellent feedback on our work, and they were incredibly knowledgeable about Irish history and culture.
  • It caught me off guard how challenging it is to be given your own studio, and then to work in it every day. It taught me a lot.
  • This trip was incredibly rewarding. We were encouraged to respond to the environment, and I ended up making an entirely new body of work using local plants as drawing materials. I would have never thought to do that here in Chicago. My studio time there was all about experimentation and play. I came away feeling refreshed and ready to try new things
  • I had some of the best conversations I've ever had on this trip.
  • Paola is kind and energetic, with a sense of humor and a lust for life. She is a great group leader and communicates clearly.
  • Peter's Irish background is invaluable to this course. His knowledge of the country and culture were an obvious benefit to making the program so great.  Peter is generous and encouraging.
  • Be prepared to be self-motivated because you will have a great amount of freedom to direct your studio practice.
  • Buy a really good raincoat/boots and take a lot of day trips. Consider flying into Dublin a little early and staying for a few days. The flight is cheaper and Dublin is awesome. Come with an open mind and a good attitude and be willing to get weird in the studio.
  • I went in with plans of what I wanted to explore and make work about. It worked out in the end but it took me a while to shun the over-analysis and actually creating & responding to the landscape. So go in with a clean slate, have fun & make whatever you feel like. It's the perfect place to discover new things about your work - especially because you probably won't be able to hold on to it once the trip's over. It's like making a sketch on a cheap dirty napkin - there are no stakes involved & you can make that weird clown thingy your hands just naturally want to make - and that's where you discover something new.