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The Venue


RDS Craft Awards

Irish craft is something to be proud of and the RDS is delighted to play our part in supporting this creative industry.

The RDS Craft Awards has contributed significantly to the development and growth of the craft sector in Ireland for decades. Every year following a competitive process, five emerging Irish craft makers are awarded significant bursaries of €10,000 each at a formative stage in their careers.

These five significant RDS bursaries are for the development of business and craft skills for those pursuing a professional career in the sector. The award can be spent on further education and training, research, development of new work, mentoring, purchase of equipment, studio improvements, website and residencies. These winners will also have the opportunity show their work to the public on a free stand (value €2,000) at Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair which take place annually in the RDS.

To be eligible to apply for the  RDS Craft Awards, emerging craft makers must have won a DCCoI Future Makers Award or Support in the preceding year The DCCoI's Future Makers Awards & Supports programme which provides cash supports for students and emerging crafts & design practitioners – is the qualifying competition for the RDS Craft Awards. This provides makers with the opportunity to demonstrate the progression of their skills and body of work in the year since winning Future Makers.

To be eligible to apply for the 2020 RDS Craft Awards, emerging craft makers must have won a DCCoI Future Makers Award or Support in 2019.

Rules of entry to the RDS Craft Awards


RDS Craft Awards Judging Panel

Róisín de Buitléar, Artist (Chair)

Sara Flynn, Ceramic Artist

Siobhán Riordan, Managing Director, Alan Ardiff Jewellery

John Tynan, Head of Education, Training & Development, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Annie Warburton, CEO, Cockpit Arts


2019 RDS Craft Award Winners

In 2019, the judging panel of craft and design professionals reviewed the applications from eligible candidates and eleven candidates were shortlisted to attend interviews in the RDS where examples of their work were shown to the panel. Shortlisted candidates: Egle Banyte, Sinéad Brennan, Edward Coveney, NIamh Flynn, Sandra Hartwieg, Genevieve Howard, Nicola Hutchinson, Kieran McNeely, Raychel Murphy, Lily Read and Alla Sinkevich.

Winners of €10,000 Bursaries:

- Egle Banyte (Jewellery)

- Sinéad Brennan (Glass)

- Edward Coveney (Furniture)

- Genevieve Howard (Jewellery)

- Alla Sinkevich (Textiles/Fashion)


2018 RDS Craft Award Winners

In 2018, the judging panel of craft and design professionals reviewed the applications from eligible candidates and nine were shortlisted to attend interviews in the RDS where examples of their work were shown to the panel. Shortlisted candidates: Laoise Carey, Sophie Kate Curran, Chloë Dowds, Pierce Healy, Ann McBride, Alan Meredith, Pearl Reddington, Sarah Roseingrave and Adele Walsh. (Pictured above L-R: Laoise Carey, Alan Meredith, Pearl Reddington, Pierce Healy and Chloë Dowds)

Winners of €10,000 Bursaries:

- Laoise Carey (Fashion Design) 

- Chloë Dowds (Ceramics)

- Pierce Healy (Jewellery / Objects)

- Alan Meredith (Furniture Maker / Woodturner)

- Pearl Reddington (Knitwear)


2018 RDS Irish Craft Bursary Winner

The RDS also support 'the RDS Irish Craft Bursary' which is managed by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) and open to makers in the DCCoI's Portfolio programme. The winner of the inaugural RDS Irish Craft Bursary, worth €10,000, was contemporary glass artist Edmond Byrne. The announcement was made by Dr. Philip Dodd, Chair of the RDS Committee of Arts, at the opening of Surface Matters, an exhibition of new and innovative works from the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2019-20 publication, at the OPW’s Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

This bursary is open to all members of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s PORTFOLIO programme, both those who are featured in the Critical Selection publication and also those featured in the wider, online programme, a group of over 140 makers.

The award is for activity taking place in 2019 and Byrne’s ambitious and innovative project is a collaboration with award-winning metalsmith Adi Toch. The aim is to explore the meeting point of metal and glass, stretching and challenging specialist knowledge and skills to make a new original body of work. Through the cross-pollination of processes, skills and materials, the meaning and various approaches to contemporary craft-based practices will be examined. Metal and glass share a rich and colourful history and the project will also be informed by this. Byrne’s aim is to create a series of five fully resolved sculptural vessels as well as set up the working relationship, knowledge and multidisciplinary practice to create more work in future.

Speaking about the award, Edmond Byrne commented: “I have reached a crossroads in my career where I have the desire to expand my material language and redefine my practice. I’m eager to collaborate and start a new experimental journey that will open up new ways of making. This bursary will enable me to explore an ambitious multi-material approach, discovering new territories, audiences and a visual vocabulary for the next step in my career.” 

Byrne graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Craft from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2000 and completed a Higher Diploma in Art and Design Education in 2007. In 2008, Byrne went on to study for an MA at the Royal College of Art in London, finishing in 2010. He is part of the wider PORTFOLIO programme and was selected for PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2017-18 and 2015-16 editions. His most recent exhibitions were in the Joanna Bird Gallery, London; Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; and London Glassblowing, London. He is currently based in Surrey and teaches at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, UK.

For further information please contact:

Dara O'Leary
RDS Arts Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7255
Email: arts@rds.ie

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