As a preliminary to providing full semester courses, OaC ran a series of weekend courses from November 2005 to May 2006, principally aimed at Irish participants There were twelve or more participants for each weekend and they were considered very successful by all concerned.
Planning for a summer school for July 2006 aimed at an international audience, was brought to an advanced stage but, unfortunately had to be abandoned, because of inadequate finance for marketing abroad. Academic accreditation for this school was granted by NUI Galway. Our arrangement with that college continues.
FULL SEMESTER COURSES
It is anticipated that full-semester courses at undergraduate level for international students will be a viable proposition when the renovation of the premises have been completed.
The combination of an accessible, extensive archive and an educational institute is expected to attract researchers and post-graduate students alike. This will bring benefits in terms of the additions such visitors will make to the existing body of academic knowledge relating to Irish traditions but it will also benefit the undergraduate students through their interaction with such scholars in the formal study environment and on campus generally.
In recent years, distance and e-learning have become an important factor in the development and provision of learning opportunities, particularly in the leisure and life-long learning sectors. The recent Shannon Development E-Town initiative in Miltown Malbay brings broadband to the region and this presents the opportunity for the development of a significant distance learning programme with the potential to generate further economic benefit for the region.
The establishment of a library and archive of the traditional arts in Miltown Malbay is an integral part of the overall project:
- The establishment of a library and archive of audio and visual material relevant to the traditional arts, folklore and local history.
- The provision of facilities for the recording and preservation of music and folklore from living sources.
- The recovery and cataloguing of all available Willie Clancy Summer School archive material (or copies thereof).
- The acquisition of such other local collections as may in time become available.
- The establishment of links with relevant bodies, including educational institutions, local and national authorities, community groups, special interest groups, international organisations etc.
Continuous and user friendly access to this archive is of pivotal importance to the project. Primary users of the archive will include local people, musicians, students of all levels, researchers, international scholars, broadcasters and third level institutions at home and abroad. A new concept in archiving is envisaged here, one which is more in tune with contemporary museums and interpretive centres so that exhibitions and installations can be enjoyed by visitors to the area. The housing and cataloguing of this archival material in the region will promote research and add significantly to the existing body of literature and learning. In addition easy access will inform current practice and provide the opportunity for the musicians of the future to access the riches of the past.