DCU plans new ‘cultural quarter’ for north Dublin

University seeking to place greater emphasis on culture and creativity

Dublin City University is planning to create a "North Dublin cultural quarter" as part of new five-year plan for the development of the college.

The plans form part of a wider blueprint to place a greater emphasis on culture and creativity in a college traditionally associated with science and technology.

In its five-year strategy launched on Wednesday, DCU has pledged to engage with neighbouring communities of Glasnevin and Drumcondra to "open up DCU's spaces and cultural assets" to create a new cultural quarter.

Philip King, musician and founder of Other Voices, has been recruited to develop an arts and culture event to be held at the university over a number of days.


In addition, it plans to establish a DCU “institute of creativity” with a focus on scholarship, outreach and education in the area of creativity.

“This is a broadening of emphasis,” said DCU president Brian MacCraith. “We’re looking at the intersection of Stem [science, technology, engineering an maths] and creative, performing arts. There is a rich vein of innovation that happens here.”

DCU, which is the fastest-growing university in the State, has seen its student numbers increase by 50 per cent in recent years to 17,000. This includes a new institute of education, based on the merger of a number of teacher training colleges.


Another feature of the strategy is that all students across all degree programmes will be exposed to technology, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.

This, Mr MacCraith said, was driven partly by feedback from employers who want graduates across a range of disciplines to be engaged with new forms of technology and their potential over future years.

Curriculum reforms being planned include digital learning enhancements and the introduction of modules such as philosophy/ethics, design, coding, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Launching the strategy in Wednesday, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the plan built on the strength of the college. "With new campuses, a new faculty of education, an expanded disciplinary profile and significant growth in student numbers, DCU is in a strong position to reinforce its reputation as a university of major significance both in Ireland and internationally," he said.

Unprecedented change

Mr MacCraith said the college has the potential to play a “globally significant role” in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by a world in an era of unprecedented change.

“Through our focus on a unique DCU learning experience, we will develop graduates who are resilient and accomplished, open and self-aware, innovative and adaptable.”

“Our prioritisation of sustainability as a key theme reflects our commitment to address a critical, global challenge. In short, our ambition is to be purposefully different by consistently pursuing excellence.”

DCU now has four campuses within a 1km radius: the original Glasnevin campus, along with its innovation campus on the Old Finglas Road, the All Hallows campus, and its new education campus at Drumcondra.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent