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Institute for International Research in Glass [photo]

Welcome to the Institute for International Research in Glass

The Institute for International Research in Glass (IIRG) promotes and facilitates research in Glass at a national and international level. Its aim is to foster a wider public awareness of the artistic dimensions of Studio Art Glass.

Activities include conferences, seminars, workshops, master classes, summer schools, publications, exhibitions, the curation of exhibitions, short and long-term residencies, consultancy, project management and commissions, specialist training, national prizes for young artists, and facilitation of glass usage of new technologies.

Sunderland has a long history of glass, dating its origins from the Venerable Bede's account of how the Abbott Benedict Biscop, in the 7th century, insisting on better and more spiritually uplifting glass for his new monastery of St Peter's (now the new site of the University and of the National Glass Centre), sent to 'Gaul' for glassmakers.  These glassmakers established themselves at Monkwearmouth practicing what is now known as English Antique Mouth Blown Glass.  Although poorly documented the tradition of glass making continued throughout the medieval period and survived the dissolution of the monastery during the Reformation to form the basis of the explosion of high quality glass produced in the region from the start of the Industrial Revolution.  From the Industrial Revolution through to the latter part of the 20th century, Sunderland, along with Gateshead and Newcastle enjoyed a thriving glass industry.

The Glass & Ceramic department is housed in the National Glass Centre's landmark £17million building, adjacent to St.Peter's Campus.  A further £3 million since 2001 has been invested in developing the staff, facilities and programmes supported by SRIF, HEIF, AHRC, ERDF, ESF, ACE etc..  We now have state of the art equipment and workshop areas.  The nature of the range of facilities and use of new technologies and new processes encourages the potential for interdisciplinary and cross medium research.

The University of Sunderland is a dynamic, modern university with a growing reputation for teaching quality and leading edge research.