Philip Kennedy

Lecturer, National College of Art & Design, Northern Ireland

Philip Kennedy

Philip Kennedy

A Culture of Research Through Practice


“If you want to do anything new you must first make sure you know what people have tried before” — E. H. Gombrich, A Little History of the World (1936)

How do tutors encourage a culture of research as part of their student’s education? Can research be used as a way to cultivate independent learning and generate self-initiated work? Most importantly, what value does research have within contemporary illustration?

For the last three years, Philip Kennedy has been teaching Research as part of Ireland’s National College of Art & Design's BA in Illustration. Through his modules, he aims to introduce students to practical research methodologies that can be used to inform and support their practice.

History—and specifically the history of illustration—is a guiding part of this teaching. At a time when contemporary illustration has become so ubiquitous and so accessible, it is the history of the disciple that has become an important way for us to explore ideas of value, power and purpose.

His academic poster reflects on the role of history within his teaching and maps out how it can serve as a valuable lens for students to develop new research methodologies and generate inventive self-directed work.


Philip Kennedy is a multidisciplinary practitioner whose work centres around the disciplines of education, illustration and writing.

He is currently a lecturer at Ireland's National College of Art & Design where he is responsible for designing and delivering briefs on research, studio practice and professional practice. In addition to this, he frequently collaborates on educational projects with museums, galleries, libraries and various other cultural groups.

As an illustrator, he has collaborated with clients on a range of projects including editorial work, educational materials, comics, book jackets and album art. He is particularly interested in producing self-directed work and is interested in exploring the role of illustration within research-led projects.

As a writer, he has produced educational materials for museums, written for design blogs, and is currently working on a debut title for Laurence King Publishers. In 2016 he launched Illustration Chronicles — an ongoing web project which explores a history of illustration through a series of critical essays.

Originally a student of Fine Art and History of Art, he completed a Masters degree in 2014 at Kingston University. While he has lived and worked in a host of European cities, he currently lives in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.