Dr. Elaine Sisson

Dr Sisson is a senior lecturer in Design for Stage + Screen.

Dr. Sisson specialises in 19c and 20c Irish cultural and visual history with a particular emphasis on modernism, material culture, the Irish literary revival, theatre studies, costume and theatre design. Her current research focuses on the cultural and social history of the Free State 91922-1937). She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and The College of William & Mary in Virginia. She is a core member of the Gate Theatre Research Network, a member of the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, and a member of the Historical Studies Committee at the Royal Irish Academy. She has extensive experience in curriculum design and development especially in relation to art and design research. She is the Co-coordinator of the BA in Design for Stage and Screen and in 2018 won a national Delta Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She has a strong track record in winning research funding and in postgraduate development and was a founding member of the inter-institutional Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media in 2008. She has published widely in the area of Irish studies including a book on Patrick Pearse, a co-edited volume on Irish design history, and journal articles, among others, in The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Éire-Ireland, and Modernist Cultures. She also regularly acts as an historical consultant on the social and cultural history of Ireland for television and radio.


I have published in the area of Irish visual and material culture, Irish social history, theatre studies, modernism and cultural history, Irish cultural nationalism (Pearse, Synge)

“Visual Shrapnel” (with Linda King) Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. Concordia University, Montreal 2015
“Dublin Civic Week 1929 and the Materialisation of History” Object Matters: The Visual and Material Culture of 1916 (Eds) Lisa Godson and Joanna Bruck, Liverpool University Press2015
‘Research Visibility and the “Emergent” Practices of Creative Media.”Restating the Value of the Humanities (editors Jane Conroy and Margaret Kelleher). Published under the auspices of the Humanities Serving Irish Society Consortium, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin2014
Editor, with Linda King. Ireland, Design and Visual Culture: Negotiating Modernity 1922-1992, Cork University Press 2011
“Materiality, Modernity and the Shaping of Identity (with Linda King) in Ireland, Design and Visual Culture. Cork University Press2011

Research projects

Conferencing, writing, broadcasting in the area of Irish cultural studies


Conferencing and presenting nationally (NUIG, TCD, St Patrick's, UL, QUB) and internationally (University of Aalborg; Concordia University Montreal; Queen Mary, London; University of Newcastle; Boston College on Irish cultural history.

Pearse and 1916. Conference A Terrible Beauty is Born: The Easter Rising and 1916. Boston College, 2016
Moore Institute Fellowship Lecture: Research and the Theatre Historian, NUI Galway.2016
Experiment and the Free State: Toto Cogley’s Cabaret and the founding of the Gate Theatre. Conference on the Gate Theatre.2015
“Reassembling Social Networks of the 1920s” Irish Modernist Women Symposium, UCD. 2015
“Scenography and the Theatre Historian.” Symposium on Performing Space, Trinity College Long Room Hub2014
“Irish Costume Design and The Gate Theatre’s 1928 production of Wilde’s Salomé.” Panel on Visual and Material Culture. American Conference for Irish Studies/Canadian Conference for Irish Studies, University College, Dublin2014

Awards + Achievements

Awarded a Moore Institute Fellowship at NUI Galway, January2016
Member of the International Editorial Board, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies2016