In her paper “The Importance of Place in Contemporary Irish Photograph: Krass Clement and ‘Drum’” Claire Rich interweaves analysis of visual exhibits that establish an Irish context with acknowledgment and response that effectively connects her readings to several relevant larger questions about place, photography, and art history. The paper provides an example of how students can pursue areas of great personal interest and join complex, intellectual conversations through just a small amount of meticulously selected sources.

In addition to her passion for art and art history, Claire’s earlier work in this course, “Irish Imagination Now,” prepared her to write this final paper. Students in the course choose three Irish cultural events to attend during the semester from a menu of over twenty options. Although students also work with textual sources, their experiences at concerts, art exhibitions, lectures, poetry and fiction readings, plays, and other events offer diverse opportunities for multi-sensory inspiration and multi-modal writing.

The ephemerality of live events demands careful attention, so writing about these experiences in her first two papers sharpened Claire’s ability to absorb and choose details in her final paper. Exploring this series of photographs compellingly demanded that Claire precisely balance a focus on subtle elements in individual pictures with analysis on broader and deeper motifs that the collection expresses as a whole. Crafting the argument that she wanted to make also meant that she had to place this work of art carefully in the context of discourses about place, contemporary photography, and more wide-ranging theories about visual aesthetics. Finally, Claire managed to acknowledge and respond to key interpretations of the photographs while carving out a niche for her analysis of the images and her interpretation of the role the piece plays in contemporary photography.

WR 100: Irish Imagination Now