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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. Each year an expert panel of judges select artists from applications for inclusion in the high profile, curated exhibition to be shown in the RDS Concert Hall in October.


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.

2019 RDS Visual Art Awards Judging Panel


Janet Mullarney - Exhibition Curator

Janet is one of Ireland's most important artists working today and has been exhibited extensively in both Ireland and abroad. She trained as a furniture restorer at the Accademia di Belle Arti and Scuola Professionale di Intaglio in Florence before becoming a well-known and innovative wood-sculptor. Incorporating an extensive range of materials, her dynamic sculptural works reference religious iconography, art history and human relationships. She is a member of Aosdana.


Patrick T. Murphy - RHA Nominated Judge

Patrick is currently the Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy. After graduating from Trinity College Dublin he took on the role of Exhibitions Officer with the Arts Council before becoming the Director of the Douglas Hyde Gallery. He later moved to Philadelphia and directed the Institute of Contemporary Art in the University of Pennsylvania for nine years before returning to Ireland and taking up his current position. He was the curator of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001, mounted a major exhibition of Irish art in the National Gallery of South Africa in Cape Town in 2006, oversaw the refurbishment of the Gallaher Gallery building in 2008 and organised a collaborative project with John Gerrard at Venice in 2011.


Rachael Gilbourne - IMMA Nominated Judge

Rachael is currently working as Assistant Curator of Exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Previously she has worked with Kerlin Gallery; as General Manager at Black Church Print Studio; and Exhibitions Manager at Project Arts Centre. Rachael is an NCAD Graduate with a BFA in Sculpture and she also holds an MFA in Visual Arts Practices from IADT.


Cliodhna Shaffrey - RDS Nominated Judge

Cliodhna is the Director of Temple Bar Gallery & Studios


Lesley Tully - NGI Nominated Judge

Lesley is Head of Design Thinking at Bank of Ireland. Over her 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 illuminate herstory.

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