In the academic year, 2011-12, Dr. Aphra Kerr, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology spent a semester as a Visiting Scholar at the prestigious Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The Annenberg School for Communication stands at the forefront of education, research, and policy studies on the processes, nature, and consequences of existing and emerging media. Arising from her visit to U Penn, Aphra undertook to organise and host the Annenberg School's annual Summer Culture trip in July 2013 at Maynooth University.
Prof. Barbie Zelizer lead a group of Annenberg doctoral students on the trip which involved two weeks of lectures, seminars, workshops, site visits and field trips. The U Penn students were joined by doctoral students from universities around Ireland. Twelve doctoral students alongside U Penn faculty attended the summer school the theme of which was 'National and Transnational Cultural Flows and Place.' Staff from the Departments of Sociology, Geography, History, English and Music at Maynooth University and speakers from Dublin City University and Trocaire all contributed to the programme. The group have also visited the Russell library, Newgrange, the Irish Film archive, the new Mac gallery in Belfast and the city of Derry, which is currently the UK city of culture.
A number of students have undertaken research projects on innovation and space in the city, including studies of the digital media industry and its impact in the Dublin 8 neighbourhood, design innovations and the rise of the car boot sale in the city and its hinterland. Dr. Kerr noted that 'the Summer School was a fantastic opportunity for doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences in Ireland to touch base with their American counterparts, and that both groups had something to learn from each others experience." Professor Barbie Zelizer congratulated the faculty at Maynooth University on the breadth and depth of their research. "We are so impressed by the seminars lead mainly by Maynooth University academics. Normally when running this Summer School, we have to go outside the host institution to get the necessary expertise. But in this case, all the high calibre people we wanted to hear from were in situ!"
Pic: Students and staff from the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University and the Department of Communication from UPenn, USA summer school visit the gardens at St. Patricks College.
left to right: Nicholas Gilewicz (UPenn), Barbie Zelizer (UPenn), Daradh MacDonald (University of Ulster), Yoel Roth (UPenn), Aphra Kerr (NUIM), Emily Plowman (UPenn) and Marwan Kraidy (UPenn)