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The Venue

RDS Visual Art Awards Judging Panel

The RDS Visual Art Awards judging panel are nominated by the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI), the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The panel is chaired by an independent judge nominated by the RDS. This expert panel of judges will select artists from applications for inclusion in a high profile, curated exhibition to be shown in the RDS Concert Hall in late October 2018.


Judging Criteria:

  • The quality of the work being put forward:
    • The work clearly shows an understanding of and places itself within current contemporary art practice;
    • The artist indicates an understanding of their materials and their modes of making;
    • The work potentially brings a new voice to their specific medium;
  • The clarity of the application:
    • The artist clearly articulates their practice, themes, and their influences;
    • The application form is clear, understandable, and the images provided communicate the work effectively;
  • There is a sense that the applicant has a future career as a professional visual artist.

Noel Kelly - Chair of the Judging Panel
Noel is a fellow of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce; President of the International Association of Art Critics - Ireland; a board member of the International Association of Art Critics – International; a member of IKT the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art; a member of the British Society of Aesthetics; a board member of IVARO; and a member of The Institute of Directors. In 2009 he was curator for the Slovenian National Pavilion in the Venice Biennale. He has curated extensively in mainland Europe and Ireland, and has been curator for Temple Bar Gallery & Studios (2005 – 2007). Noel was cultural programme director for the Slovenian Embassy in 2004 during the Accession process with exhibitions both of Irish and Slovene artists. He is a published writer and a commentator on broadcast media. His most recent publications are: Creative Ireland: The Visual Arts 2001 – 2011, and The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland. He currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer/Director of Visual Artists Ireland. Noel is also the Chairman of the RDS Committee of Arts.

Amanda Coogan - Exhibition Curator
Amanda is an internationally recognised and critically acclaimed artist working across the medias of live art, performance, photography and video. She is one of the most dynamic and exciting contemporary visual artist’s practicing in the arena of performance. Her 2015 exhibition in the Dublin's Royal Hibernian Academy, I’ll sing you a song from around the Town, was described by Artforum as 'performance art at its best'. ​Coogan holds a degree in Sculpture fom Dublin’s National College of Art and Design. She was a Masters student of Marina Abramovic at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Braunschweig, Germany and received her PhD from the University of Ulster in 2013. She is an occasional lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin; Limerick School of Art and Design; The Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin; Dublin Institute of Technology and Crawford College of Art, Cork.

Colin Martin - RHA Nominated Judge
Colin studied at DIT and NCAD. Recent solo Exhibitions include 'Keyframe', Platform Arts, Belfast, 2014, 'The Garden' Broadcast Gallery, Dublin 2012 and 'Cyclorama', Basic Space 2011, Dublin. Recent Groups exhibitions include 'Far From Me', Filippe Galerie, Leipzig, Germany 2016, 'Diagrams', Pallas Projects, Dublin, 2015, "The Way We Live Now And Then", The Library Project, Dublin 2014, 'Golden Mountain' Tulca, Galway 2013, 'Shaping Identities Together', Leuven Institute, Belgium 2013. He was the recipient of the Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary in 2015 and 2012. He is currently School Principal at the RHA School.

Seán Kissane - IMMA Nominated Judge
Seán is Curator of Exhibitions at IMMA, Dublin. Focussing both on contemporary art and work from the post-war period, he has curated various shows bringing the work of international modern and contemporary artists to Ireland for the first time. This has included Patrick Hennessy, Gerda Fromel, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Isaac Julien, Carlos Garaicoa, Alice Maher, Romuald Hazoumé, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Shahzia Sikander.

Lesley Tully - NGI Nominated Judge

Lesley is Head of Design Thinking at Bank of Ireland. Over her 15-year career, Lesley has worked with a range of private and public sector clients and startups including Advanced Organisation, Armory Show, Coillte, Culture Ireland, DAHG, DJEI, Fund IT, Failte Ireland, KPMG, Health Founders, HSE, Startup Gathering, and Trinity College. As Project Director, Lesley designed and delivered the award-winning Dublin Contemporary 2011, VOLTA Show NY and Basel. Lesley holds a bachelor’s degree in Design and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Trinity College Dublin and Goldsmiths, London. She is currently a board member of National Gallery of Ireland and Producer of illuminateherstory.

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