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Marion McEnroy-Higgins


Centre for Creative Arts & Media 
Galway Mayo-Institute of Technology

GMIT President’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2020 Recipient

Lecturer History & Theory of Art & Design
Sustainable Design

Home: Quote

"ars longa, vita brevis"

art is long, life is short

Hippocrates of Kos (c.460 - c.375 BCE)


Roles & Responsibilities

Left:  Arts and Humanities Evaluation panel for the FCT, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Lisbon Portugal June 2019.

Prof. Arthur Eger, Blauw Zand Publishing; Chairman Prof. Han Brezet, TU Delft; Prof. Daan van Eijk, TU Delft;

Dr. Ruaidhri Neavyn, HEA Ireland; Marion McEnroy, CCAM GMIT; Prof. Lily Diaz-Kommonen, Aalto University Finland; Prof. Stefaan De Ruyck, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp.

Jan 2002-present

BA Art & Design PT

Lecturer in BA Contemporary Art and BA Design Programmes.  Modules include History of Art, History and Theory of Design, Sustainable Design, Critical Theory, Visual Culture, Dissertation supervision.  Internal examiner for MA student Castlebar 2020.  Ongoing internal supervisor for MA candidate GMIT. 

Programme Chair BA Design 2019-2021.  Coordinated many PR meetings until Covid-19 led to movement to Online T&L when colleagues and students required extra support and leadership from the Chair.

Currently Programme Chair for the newly resumed BA in Art & Design Part-Time degree for mature students.

October 2019-present


Elected to Academic Council representing CCAM.  Member of Sub-Committee for Collaborations. Served on QAE panel for Science Sept 2020.  I am eager to participate in collegiate discourse on academic governance and am intrigued to learn from peers across all disciplines whether around the conference table or virtual MS Teams meetings.  Academic integrity, accountability and QA matter greatly to my teaching practice.  I am at a stage in my teaching career where I want to play a greater part in the process of academic policy making.

Sept 2019-present


Member of WG 3 Flexible Working Managing Career Breaks.  Attended training in: Data Analysis and SMART action planning  by Dr. Victoria Brownlee, Head of Athena Swan Ireland ; Chairing Meetings;  Participated in staff questionnaire and contributed to content and editing of WG3 documentation. I am passionate about the values the Bronze award for GMIT would recognize - eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.  My lectures and seminars have always embedded gender and LGBTQ sensitivities in redressing the balance of Art History with values of social justice which I prioritize imparting to my students.

June 2020


Rethink is a Social Enterprise (Public Benefit Entity PBE) working towards inspiring sustainability through education, demonstration and provision of services.  Along with Coordinating Director, Dr. Vincent Carragher, of Spark Change & TCD Researcher and 4 other Directors, I lead the Textiles working package as conduit to GMIT aiming to develop student research and placements.  We are part of the Rediscovery Ballymun Academy.  Funding applications pending.

June 2019


Evaluation Panel: ARTS AND HUMANITIES – Arts and Design, Artistic and Musical Development. 

A uniquely challenging and stimulating experience, involving several weeks of documentation analysis and review prior to a week of visits to 7 of the 14 Universities of Portugal, including institutions in Lisbon, Oporto, Évora and the Algarve.  Working with a team of International panelists and meeting FCT staff, and each faculty's staff and PhD students was an honour and privilege.  I'll bring this experience and knowledge to all my future curriculum and programme development in GMIT.  See link for the FCT panel report:


Jan - April 2020


The Radius project is a community outreach initiative led by Dr. Seamus McGuinness and Celine Curtin, CCAM.  As part of their Professional Practice in S2 Y3, a team of 4 Design students - Graphics, Textiles & Industrial Design - worked in consultation with SVP management and staff to redesign their Merchant's rd. shop.  I was part of the team of Design teaching staff supervising the project.  As part of my Rethink research, GMIT funded a short visit to Belgium to visit European leaders in charity retail, Kringwinkel in Tienen.  My documentation of the visit and of second hand shops in Brussels was central to the communication of our sustainable vision to SVP.  I also facilitated and transported the Industrial Design student to source wooden pallets for her designs at Barna Waste Recycling Centre.

January 2019-August 2020


Successfully passed the GMIT EfS 10 ECTS L9 module.  In 2015 I wrote 6 modules for a new BA in Design including Sustainable Design.  I was part of the team that achieved approval for this crucial programme for CCAM. This new departure has invigorated my teaching practice and is life changing.  Undertaking the module workshops organised by Dr. Mark Kelly, Dermot O'Donovan and John Scahill was a pleasure and I found a wonderful 'tribe' of colleagues and academics from around Ireland.  Lifelong learning is vital to me in sustaining my own teaching practice as I share knowledge assimilated from the EfS module in the third iteration of my own Sustainable Design to the whole Y3 cohort.  (A PDF of my final assignment is available to view.)

Jan 2018 - June 2020


I've served as External Examiner for L8 Dissertation and Visual Culture modules L7 for 3 years on the Visual Communication Programme at WIT.  I am rigorous in my feedback but in a respectful dialogic method with constructive peer review of assessment methods and final presentation standards of academic writing.  This work translates into value in my own teaching practice and in my contributions to curriculum and CA design for GMIT. I've aslo been EE for Sligo IT for three years giving me an excellent overview of National IOT standards.

Home: Experience


Personal Profile

Born in Toronto Canada to immigrant Irish parents, who enshrined the value of education in all five of their children,  I hold dual Irish-Canadian citizenship. I have great empathy for my many international students forging a life in a new country, often working in English as a second language.  Having studied at the University of Vienna through German as an undergraduate Arts student, I can relate to the challenges of working in a second language. 

I had a very happy secondary education with the Jesuits at Coláiste Iognáid, Galway, followed by a Foundation year in GMIT as an art student, (around the time I drew this self-portrait). I decided I needed to understand art more deeply to make art, so I began a BA in Art History in UCD, with German and Philosophy. 

I started teaching aged 21 having gained a Diploma as an Associate of the London College of Music enabling me to support myself as a piano teacher through college.

In my Bachelor of Arts I achieved a First Class Honours in History of Art and was awarded the Thomas Dammann Jr. Memorial Trust to travel Europe studying antique Greco-Roman sculpture, which remains a cornerstone specialism in my lectures in GMIT.

Then I returned to the studio at the Burren College of Art where I won the T.J. Westropp Award for Photography.

Subsequently I graduated with a First Class Honours Masters Degree in Palladian Architectural History & Historiography from UCD. During my PG studies I got a job in UCD as tutor for mature students of Art History.  

My career began in the National Gallery of Ireland Education Department, working for 2 years, meticulously researching the collection for public guided tours for all kinds of audiences.  For 18 years, I've brought my students on field trips to the NGI, an annual pilgrimage that sadly for the first time cannot happen due to Covid-19. I also freelanced at the Hugh Lane Municipal gallery a collection close to my heart.  

In 2000 I established an education department at the state of the art new Model Arts Niland Gallery, Sligo for 18 months prior to getting my dream job as a lecturer back home in Galway at GMIT.

I am married to Kenneth Higgins and we have three daughters aged 11, 9 and 6.  I aspire to further PG research and publication as it enriches teaching practice to be actively engaged in these pursuits although parenting young children one has to find a work-life balance.  Music and singing in choirs is a joy for me and I've sung with Mark Keane's Galway Chamber Choir, Katharine Mac Manuis' Cór le Chéile with Athenry Music School and Sean Rowland's GMIT online choir during lockdown brought us all 'Happy Days'. 

Home: About Me

Academic Writing

& Presentation Skills 

"Our fear of the unknown is often our greatest deterrent. Starting College as a mature student is certainly a decision not lightly taken. Knowing that your chosen path involves stepping back into essay writing only compounded that fear for me. 

Had I known Marion prior to undertaking this journey all my fears would have been allayed. 
Her series of lectures were the highlight of my college week and her approach to the delivery immediately put my mind at ease. My only regret is that my 4 years has sadly ended." 

Tim Butler 
BA Contemporary Art Honours, student of the year 2019  

Outdoor Study Group

Academic Writing

Empowering students to express themselves as critical thinkers to a high standard of professional academic writing  is central to my teaching practice.  GMIT affords individual tutorial support to each student which is hugely beneficial and I enjoy the detailed work of supervision both at UG and PG levels.  I try to practice what I preach by writing either for publication or towards accredited qualifications.  I work closely with Library staff and the Academic Writing Centre and find them hugely helpful and vital to our students.

Researching and Writing

Literature Analysis

Helping students to source and analyse literature is key to all my modules which are mandatory theoretical subjects.  Every single student who registers for either the BA Design or BACA will complete two, three or four of my formative modules (with rare exception of RPL cases).  I've had the pleasure of getting to know every student who passes through CCAM.  I share the Portuguese emphasis on preparing students to publish and have undertaken training with Dr. Rowena Murray, Uni. Strathclyde that I've imparted to my students.  Every year I write letters of reference and support for students in pursuit of further education or employment. 

"Because of my dyslexia writing has always been a struggle, but thanks to Marion's positive reinforcement and the advice she gave in class I have grown more confident in my ability to present my ideas via writing. This guidance certainly influenced my decision to do an MA"

Graduate testimonial

Public Speaker

Personal Presentation Skills

In the creative industries of art and Design the artist or designer essentially becomes synonymous with their own brand.  I emphasise this in Year 3 with supporting evidence from literature in seminars such as Understanding Art Markets and Sustainable Design where students are assessed on their seminar presentations.  They are given preparatory tutorials, encouragement and feedback.  Many struggle to overcome anxiety but this is a major threshold towards becoming a professional. Students who have despaired at the thought of presenting frequently confide feeling much stronger for having risen to the challenge.  Witnessing personal growth in my students is hugely rewarding. 

(I facilitate those who cannot simply cannot present publicly in private session.) 

"In first year of college I never thought I would be able to stand up to a crowd of people and give a presentation but with Marion's guidance come fourth year I gave a presentation in her class for over 30 minutes"

Graduate testimonial

Home: Education



GMIT, 2020 Education for Sustainability.  

Successfully passed L9 10ECTS module (Pass/Fail module).  


CELT, (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching), NUIG2010-11.  

PG Cert Teaching & Learning in Higher Education 

University College Dublin1998.  MA History of Art. First Class Honours. 

Palladian Architecture  Historiography. 

Thesis: ‘Life and Work of Irish 19thC painter, Rev John Rooney’ published in Irish Arts Review Vol. 17 2001.   

Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.1995-6.   

University College Dublin1995 .  BA International History of Art. First Class Hons.

Minor: German. Erasmus at University of Vienna, Austria 


GMIT Foundation year in Art & Design   1991.           


Coláiste Iognáid, Jesuit secondary school, Galway.  Leaving Certificate. 1990   

Associate of London College of Music.  Diploma in pianoforte. 1993.


  • Jan 2019-August 2020 L9 PG module in Education for Sustainability, GMIT.  

  • Athena Swan - Data Analysis and SMART action planning, Dr. Victoria Brownlee, Head of Athena Swan Ireland & Chairing Meetings, Keith Clarke, Protrain Ltd. Women in Leadership CPD accredited webinars 2020-21.

  • January 2019 Attended CUA Sligo Conference.   

  • Attended numerous GMIT BOLT and EWIL online training sessions May-june 2020 - ongoing. 

  • Dec 2018 Teaching & Learning workshop using E-Portfolios - Lisa Donaldson DCU  

  • 2017 Attended Art$Ummit 2017 to inform my Level 7 module Understanding Art Markets. 

  • Jan 2017 ‘Curriculum Design & Assessment’, Prof. Chris Rust, Oxford Brooks University. GMIT 

  • Dec 2016 Design Thinking 2 Day Workshop – Ainsley Peters. CCAM 

  • Jan 2016 ‘Writing for Publication’ Professor Rowena Murray, University of the West of Scotland, DIT 

  • 2013 Introduction to NVivo – building a qualitative database, Ben Meehan, QDA Training Ltd 

  • 2013 Curriculum Design Discourse/ Engaging in Programme Review & Design, Fiona O’Riordan, GCD. 


Represented GMIT at Galway 2020 meetings as part of the European Pilot Cities programme entitled ‘Culture in Sustainable Cities: Learning with Culture 21 Actions in Europe (Pilot Cities Europe 2015-2017)’ April 2016. 

Public Lecture: ‘Irish Wartime Art and Design, c. 1916’ Oct 2016 Heritage Studies Series: ‘Ireland’s Rising, 1916–2016: Public Histories, Historical Geographies and Cultural Heritages’  

UCD History of Art 50th anniversary - Guest speaker representing Prof. Michael McCarthy’s tenure as Chair. 


Member of Association of Art Historians (AAH) 

Member of Irish Association of Art Historians (IAAH) 

Director of Rethink Galway. Recently established Public Benefit Entity, working group Sustainable Textiles 

All Videos

All Videos

Watch Now

2019 I undertook the Clay Portrait Head module with Mel French CCAM alongside my Y2 students including a research trip to NGI and Hugh Lane

Research photographs I took of second hand shops in Brussels we used in initial meetings with Radius St. Vincent de Paul staff project with CCAM Y3 Design students to re-design St. Merchant's rd shop.

With Directors of Rethink Galway in Tienen, Belgium visiting De Kringwinkel warehouse and shops with Director Paul Staessens.

Year 3 Sustainable Design students on field trip to Barna Waste Recycling Centre with Campbell Finnie plant manager.

'Tat-Wood' upcycling project I did for Reuse Month October 2019 to encourage my Sustainable Design students to take part.

Home: Video


GMIT Centre for Creative Arts & Media, Monivea Road, Galway


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