Universities and culture

My university – Dublin City University (DCU) – is often considered to be a science and technology-focused institution. We are well known in Ireland for major courses is computing, engineering and the sciences – though we do actually have a large business school and also some very impressive humanities programmes. However, it is true that the largest research centres in my university (and these are amongst the most prominent in Ireland) are in science and technology.

However, we also have a significant presence in the performing arts. Ireland’s National Chamber Choir is the ‘choir in residence’ in DCU, and we have a larger performing arts centre – The Helix – with three venues that include Ireland largest concert hall. In short, DCU has tried to play its part in contributing to the cultural life of its neighbourhood and of the country.

It has become widely accepted that universities are not just teaching institutions, but have a major role to play in economic development, social inclusion, public debate, and arts and culture. Universities need to see themselves not just as providing a ‘service’ (however important that service may be), but also as providing leadership in society, to ensure that society is tolerant, harmonious and inquiring. The cultural dimension is particularly important, and I am glad that we are able to play at least a small part in that for our community.

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2 Comments on “Universities and culture”

  1. Cian Brennan Says:

    And yet, while we’ve funded a major performing arts centre, it seems to be completely unused by the students, with the College’s various performing arts societies (the drama society, the music society, and so on) still using the student centre for the majority of their productions. Doesn’t say that much for DCU’s contribution to the arts as anything other than another way to pay the bills, or to generate advertising.

  2. universitydiary Says:

    While I understand the point that Cian is making, it isn’t quite like that. Student groups have made substantial use of the Helix, and it is used also for some events directed at students. Nor does the university take any money from the Helix, ever.

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