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Rhona Richman Kenneally, PhD (Architecture)

Professor, Design and Computation Arts
Fellow and co-founder, School of Irish Studies

Rhona Richman Kenneally, PhD (Architecture)
Office: S-EV 6753 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4276
Website(s): Design and Computation Arts
Availability: on sabbatical until January 2019

Rhona Richman Kenneally is a professor and former Chair in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, and a co-founder and Fellow of the School of Irish Studies at Concordia University.  She holds a BA in English Literature, an MA in Canadian History and a PhD and professional degree in architecture. She is also the editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, and is the organizer of a Food Studies Research team under the umbrella of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture.

Her research and publications bring together the domains of food studies, sustainable design practice,and the architecture and design of the built environment, to explore food-related activities,especially in the home, in mid-twentieth-century Ireland and Canada. A second research thread focuses on landscapes of commemoration and memory: out of this arose publications on Grosse Ile, Quebec,and the Quiet Man Museum in Mayo, Ireland, as well as a conference and exhibition on 1960s Montreal in conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

Her most recent SSHRC-funded project focuses on Irish domestic space, especially during the mid-twentieth century. Its premise is that the physical built environment of the Irish home offers compelling means to understand the complex dynamic of tradition and modernity and everyday life, when studied as an assemblage of interactions between household members, the physical contents of the house, the building itself, and its surroundings.   This research involves a variety of sources including interviews, architectural drawings, the architecture itself, magazines, photographs, and archival documents.  Particular attention is given to “domestic foodscapes,” homes conceptualized as spaces in which food is stored, prepared, stored, eaten, grown, etc.

Rhona has been the recipient of two teaching awards, the Distinguished Teaching Award of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia, in 2014, and Concordia's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. In 2018, she also received a Sustainability Champion Award from the university, on the basis of her teaching and practice.


  • BA English Literature
  • MA Canadian Social History (thesis title: The Montreal Maternity, 1843-1926: Evolution of a Hospital)
  • professional degree, Architecture (thesis title: The Architecture of the Narrative and the Narrative of Architecture: Mycenae comes Homer through Joyce).
  • PhD Architecture (thesis title: The Tempered Gaze: Medieval Church Architecture, Scripted Tourism, and Ecclesiology in Early Victorian Britain. 

Areas of expertise

Ecosophic design practice; social and cultural sustainability; domestic space; food systems and networks, understood as part of the dynamic interrelationship between humans, other living beings, and designed objects and spaces; Irish and Canadian-Irish identity.


Recent Publications

(for additional publications please refer to my curriculum vitae)


The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space (co-editor, LucyMcDiarmid). Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017.




'Combining poetry,image, personal meditation, and scholarly essay into one beautifully produced volume, The Vibrant House comprises a fascinating and multi-layered examination of some of the foundational images in a literature in which notions of ‘home’, ‘property’, and ‘possession’ can never be simply and uncomplicatedly incidental', Caitríona O’Reilly, Poetry Ireland (2018).

'Setting the mood to house building and what the home really means ... The Vibrant House is a treasure trove of original works ... an inspiring read', Selfbuild Magazine(Summer 2018).

'From the ground surveyed by architectural historians, geographers, and scholars of folk life,this fresh book flowers with a bounty of images,memories, and fine writing to enrich our understanding of the house, the home,and the act of dwelling, while welcoming us into the common Irish homes that stand between the Georgian mansion and the thatched cabin', Henry Glassie, Indiana University.

'By drawing attention to the quotidian materiality of Irish domestic space this engaging book bravely puts together scholarly and non-scholarly approaches to address larger existential questions of belonging. The attention to the visual,spatial and material nature of 'home' is thoughtfully unpacked through discussions of interior architecture, personal memory, fiction, poetry, drama and film, in a variety of tones that invoke reflective questions of interiority, privacy, status and cultural representation. By examining how we connect to, experience and 'see' home, this collection gives us a template for how to overlay textual analysis, memoir, and visual culture in a manner rarely seen within Irish literary or historical studies', Elaine Sisson, Institute of Art,Design and Technology, Ireland.  


Read an excerpt of the book in the Irish Times  

Theo Dorgan,“Theo Dorgan: Back to the House My Father Built,”


Listen to a discussion of the book on RTÉ Radio One’s current affairs program, Arena:



The Food Issue, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (co-editor, Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire), volume 41, 2018.


Table of Contents:

Rhona Richman Kenneally, "Irish Food: A First Course."

Mark Moriarty, "Anatomy of an Award-Winning Irish Dish:Celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay, hazelnut, celeriac, and smoked hay tea"; includes recipe.


Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, "Contextualizing the Irish Food Renaissance."

Dorothy Cashman, "Sugar Bakers and Confectioners in Georgian Ireland."

Mary Wack,"Recipe-Collecting, Embodied Imagination, and Transatlantic Connections in an Irish Emigrant’s Cooking."

Elaine Mahon,"Irish Cuisine: Irish Diplomatic Dining."

Helen O’Connell,"Bleak Food: William Wilde, Famine, and Gastronomy."

Tricia Cusack,"'This pernicious tea drinking habit': Women, Tea, and Respectability in Nineteenth-Century Ireland."

Eamon Maher, "'Take and Eat': Links between the Eucharist and Human Flesh in some Twentieth-Century Irish Texts."

Marjorie Deleuze, "'Well, we didn’t pass a bit o’ remarks on it. It was second nature to us': The Rituals of Fasting in Ireland before Vatican II."

Deirdre Byrne, "What’s for Dinner?: Eating Practices in Residential Care Centres for Young People in Ireland."

Eugene O’Brien,"'Sunk past its gleam in the meal-bin': The Kitchen as Locus Amoenus in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney."




Teaching activities


Fall 2018:
on sabbatical

Winter 2019:
DART 491     Discursive Design Research (3 credits)

Research activities: Concordia initiatives

CISSC Food Studies Research Team

Food Studies at Concordia University

INDI (SIP) Food Studies Research Current

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