The 2015 intake of Postgrads to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) are making themselves at home in the new Postgrad & Research Annexe of the college that is now housed on James’s Street. NCAD agreed to lease a number of properties along James Street from Diageo earlier this year. The buildings have been refurbished and will be used for studios, workrooms and lectures space.
This initiative is the fruit of increased collaboration between businesses and organisations in the Liberties, who have come together under the Liberties Business Forum to work more closely to enhance and promote this part of the city.
Through the Forum, NCAD raised its space requirements, and Diageo were pleased to make available the buildings at 86-88 James’s Street and the Rupert Guinness Hall, over a four-year period. The agreement assists NCAD in addressing an accommodation issue it currently faces while at the same time increasing footfall and enhancing the James’s Street area.
The new Annexe came into use in September, and – in addition to providing studio space – will also be used for research activity and as an archival site for NCAD’s Edward Murphy Library and National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL).
The chairperson of the Liberties Business Forum, Catherine Heaney, welcomed the development as a tangible sign of the new collaboration between businesses and organisations in the area, furthering the significant renewal taking place in one of Dublin’s most historic neighbourhoods. “Both NCAD and Diageo are members of the Liberties Business Forum and this announcement demonstrates the value of this new partnership to provide solutions to the challenges faced by businesses and organisations in the area.
“In this instance, NCAD’s need for additional space has provided a welcome impetus to Diageo to consider how it might use its various buildings on James’s Street more productively, and support two of The Liberties’ key areas of activity: the education and creative sectors.
“The location of the NCAD Postgraduate & Research Annexe on James’s Street will reinvigorate and bring activity to this part of the street, and will support other businesses in the area, such as cafes and shops, helping to give a much-needed boost to the area. If, as is being proposed, Diageo continue to explore new uses for some of its less-occupied buildings on James’s Street, the benefits of a more lively and busy street will start to be felt more widely.”
Director of NCAD, Declan McGonagle commented: “We are delighted to announce our building space agreement with Diageo, and look forward to using the James’s Street location as much-needed studio space for our postgraduate students. As Ireland’s primary provider of art and design education, NCAD is dedicated to studio and practice-based learning, however our existing campus was under strain from additional space requirements. Through our involvement with the Liberties Business Forum, this challenge has been addressed and we look forward to working with Diageo and using the space on James’s Street over the next four years.”
Liam Reid, Corporate Relations Director, Diageo, said: “Diageo has a long history of involvement with The Liberties community, where the St James’s Brewery is located, and as such we are committed to working with the Liberties Business Forum on improving and promoting the area as a great place to visit and do business in. When the opportunity arose to support NCAD in addressing their space issues, which at the same time would allow us to use our properties more productively, we were delighted to be involved.”
In addition to the development of the new Annexe, NCAD has also recently received permission for a new interpretive trail and visitor experience through its historic campus on Thomas Street, which was formerly Power’s Distillery. The new trail, a partnership between NCAD and Irish Distillers, the owners of the Power’s brand, will give visitors a better understanding of the many historic features of the campus, which retains much of its distillery heritage. The new trail is expected to be in place later this year.