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Women on Walls at RCSI in partnership with Accenture and Business to Arts unveils landmark Irish portrait collection with eight new artworks depicting historical female leaders in healthcare

190302_M1_177 webToday, RCSI, Accenture and Business to Arts unveiled a series of new portraits of historical female leaders in healthcare at RCSI. Women on Walls at RCSI in partnership with Accenture recognises the pioneering achievements of a group of eight extraordinary women and aims to enhance the visibility of historical female leaders in healthcare to inspire future generations.

The portraits were officially unveiled today by Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD and RCSI President Mr Kenneth Mealy. They will now hang in the Board Room of RCSI’s historic building on St. Stephen’s Green and can be seen at scheduled times throughout 2019.

In March 2018, artists were invited to submit a proposal to Business to Arts, project managers of the initiative. A selection committee identified six artists who were commissioned to paints the portraits. The group of artists have worked with RCSI archivists to research their subjects and complete the portraits.

The following artists have completed their commissions, creating a series of eight individual portraits:

Commissioned Artist Subject
Benita Stoney Dr Margaret (Pearl) Dunlevy (1909 – 2002)
Catherine Creaney Dr Barbara Maive Stokes (1922 – 2009)
Enda Griffin Sr Dr Maura Lynch (1938 – 2017)
Mick O’Dea Dr Emily Winifred Dickson (1866 – 1944)
Mick O’Dea Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman (1872 – 1943)
Molly Judd Dr Victoria Coffey (1911 – 1999)
Molly Judd Dr Mary Josephine Hannan (1859 – 1936)
William Nathans Dean Mary Frances Crowley (1906 – 1990)

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI CEO said, “We are immensely proud to unveil these portraits of ground-breaking RCSI women today. These pioneers made significant contributions to education and healthcare here at RCSI, in Ireland and much further afield. We hope that by recognising them through this landmark initiative; we might inspire future generations of women and girls to pursue a career in healthcare and science.”   

 “Each of these women had a profound impact and we want history to remember their legacy. It is our duty to help preserve their story and celebrate their achievements. It is right and proper that today they take their place not just on these storied walls of RCSI but also in the history of healthcare.”

Dr Michelle D. Cullen, Managing Director and Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Accenture in Ireland added, “The contribution of women in society is too often invisible. Who we see on the walls, tells us about what we as a society value, about who is welcome, about who fits in. We set out on the journey of Women on Walls with the ambition of making women leaders visible to inspire future generations. It is truly moving to see these magnificent eight portraits being unveiled by RCSI today, reminding us of the impact these women had in healthcare.”

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts said, “The artists commissioned, have created a powerful series of work highlighting the importance of gender equality. The Women on Walls campaign is a strong example of how art helps to communicate an important message. These eight extraordinary women whose portraits will hang on the walls of RCSI for years to come, represent the exceptional achievements of RCSI graduates and Fellows past, present and future. We salute the achievements of the six artists”.

A new Women on Walls podcast series was announced during the unveiling. The eight-part series celebrates the lives of these eight Irish women who forged careers in healthcare during a time in Ireland when women were expected to stay at home. The first episode features the impact that Dr Barbara Maive Stokes, a paediatrician and pioneering disability campaigner, had on Ireland as a tireless advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Women on Walls is now available for download from Apple, Google and Spotify podcasts. A new episode will publish fortnightly.

RCSI is committed to promoting gender equality among staff and students for the advancement of the College’s mission to educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health. RCSI has been awarded Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.

Women on Walls is a campaign that seeks to make women leaders visible through a series of commissioned portraits that will create a lasting cultural legacy for Ireland. Accenture’s Women on Walls began in 2016 with the Royal Irish Academy which recognised the achievements of leading female academics and to inspire future generations.

You can read more about Women on Walls at RCSI in partnership with Accenture and find out more about scheduled tour times by visiting accenture.com/womenonwalls and women.rcsi.com.

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