Women on Walls at RCSI

In 2019, RCSI, Accenture and Business to Arts unveiled a series of new portraits that 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. 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 that were commissioned. The group of artists worked with RCSI archivists and team to research their subjects and complete the portraits. The portraits are now hanging in the Board Room of RCSI on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin’s city centre.

Women on Walls at RCSI: Our Subjects

Dr. Margaret (Pearl) Dunlevy (1909-2002)

Dr Margaret (Pearl) Dunlevy was an epidemiologist whose championing of immunisation served to eradicate tuberculosis in Ireland.

Dr. (Emily) Winifred Dickson (1866-1944)

Dr Dickson was the first female Fellow of RCSI. She began her studies at RCSI in 1887, two years after the College first admitted female students.

Dr. Victoria Coffey (1911-1999)

Dr Victoria Coffey was one of the first people to investigate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and one of the first female paediatricians in Ireland.

Dean Mary Frances Crowley (1906-1990)

Dean Crowley was a founder member and first Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery in the RCSI, the first of its kind in Ireland or Britain.

Sr. Dr. Maura Lynch (1938-2017)

Sr Dr Maura Lynch was a surgeon who revolutionised obstetric fistula care in Uganda, alongside extensive work in missionary hospitals in Africa.

Dr. Barbara Maive Stokes (1922-2009)

Dr. Barbara Maive was a paediatrician and pioneering disability campaigner and was senior demonstrator in pharmacy and physiology at RCSI the 1950s.

Dr. Mary Josephine Hannon (1859-1936)

Dr Hannan was the first woman both to train and to qualify at RCSI. In 1896, she established herself as Cardiff’s first practising female doctor.

Dr. Mary Somerville Parker Strangman (1872-1943)

Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman was a doctor, suffragist and elected councillor. She became the second woman to earn the fellowship of RCSI (1902)

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Women on Walls at RCSI: The Podcast

Listen to the eight-part podcast series celebrating the lives of these Irish women who forged careers in healthcare at a time in Ireland when women were expected to stay at home.

Women on Walls at RCSI: Commissioned Artists

In March 2018, artists were invited to submit a proposal to Business to Arts. A selection committee identified six artists who worked with RCSI archivists and team to research their subjects and complete the portraits.

William Nathans

Subject: Dean Mary Frances Crowley

Catherine Creaney

Subject: Dr Barbara Maive Stokes

Mick O’Dea

Subjects: Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman, Dr (Emily) Winifred Dickson

Benita Stoney

Subject: Dr Margaret (Pearl) Dunlevy

Enda Griffin

Subject: Sr Dr Maura Lynch

Molly Judd

Subjects: Dr Mary Josephine Hannan, Dr Victoria Coffey

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Women on Walls at the Royal Irish Academy

In 2016, Accenture in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy, commissioned five portraits of leading female academics. The finished artworks are on public display in the Royal Irish Academy, the first portraits of female subjects to grace the walls in the Academy’s 230-year history. The five portraits were unveiled at a special event on 7th December 2016 and consist of four individual portraits of the first four female Members of the Royal Irish Academy, elected in 1949. The fifth portrait is a group portrait of eight female scientists, who are recipients of the European Research Council Starter Grants 2012 – 2015 and were chosen as representatives of a generation of outstanding young female scientists working in Ireland today. They are Professor Deborah Laefer, Professor Aoife McLysaght, Professor Emma Teeling, Dr Maria McNamara, Professor Sarah McCormack, Dr Aoife Gowen, Professor Catríona Lally and Professor Lydia Lynch.

Women on Walls at RIA: Our Subjects

Sheila Tinney (1918 – 2010)

A pioneer in the field of mathematical physics, it is believed she was the first Irish woman to receive a PhD in the field of mathematics.

Françoise Henry (1902 – 1982)

Françoise Henry was one of the most important twentieth-century historians of Irish art. She trained at the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne.

Phyllis Clinch (1901 – 1984)

An award-winning scientist who was world renowned for her innovative research into plant viruses, Phyllis revealed complex viruses in the potato.

Eleanor Knott (1886-1975)

Eleanor Knott was a "pathbreaking" researcher of classical Irish literature, awarded a D.Litt. honoris causa by the National University of Ireland.

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Women on Walls at RIA: The Documentary

Due to the level of public interest and historical significance of our campaign, a documentary was commissioned to tell the story of Women on Walls at the Royal Irish Academy.

Women on Walls at RIA: Commissioned Artists

The RIA open call to artists was managed by Business to Arts and elicited an impressive response. The judging panel tasked with the challenge of selecting the artists comprised leading figures in the Irish business and arts communities.

Blaise Smith

Subjects: Professors Deborah Laefer, Aoife McLysaght, Emma Teeling, Sarah McCormack, Catríona Lally, Lydia Lynch. Doctors Aoife Gowen, Maria McNamara.

Vera Klute

Subjects: Sheila Tinney, Françoise Henry, Phyllis Clinch, Eleanor Knott

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Media Coverage

The Irish Times

The female trailblazers of Irish medicine

Business in the Community Ireland

Accenture launch Women on Walls at RIA

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