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The Venue

RDS Visual Art Awards College Curators

The RDS Visual Art Awards college curators are an independent panel engaged by the RDS to view the end of year degree shows (BA & MA) in selected colleges around the country. They will longlist artists, who will then be invited to apply for the Awards online. A panel of five judges will then select artists from these applications for inclusion in a high profile exhibition curated by a high profile professional Irish artist in October each year. The selected exhibitors will also have an opportunity to win a share of the €30,000 prize fund.

2019 College Curators

Mary Conlon - Co-Director, Ormston House

Mary Conlon is the Founder and Co-Director of Ormston House, a cultural resource centre located in a RAPID zone in the heart of Limerick city.  She is on the board of directors of EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art, and is a partner of Visual Artists Ireland, providing advocacy and advice to artists. She sits on the Migrant Workers’ Exploitation Steering Group for the human rights organization, Doras Luimní. In 2016, she worked as a Cultural Programmer for Limerick’s bid for European Capital of Culture.


Darragh Hogan - Director, Kerlin Gallery


Aoife Ruane - Director, Highlanes Gallery

Aoife Ruane is the Director of the Highlanes Gallery, a municipal art gallery for Drogheda and the North East of Ireland. The gallery first opened in to the public in October 2006 and Aoife is the inaugural director. Aoife is currently a member of the Governing Body of IADT, nominated by the Arts Council, appointed by the Department of Education. Previously she was the Assistant Curator and Lectures Coordinator in IMMA, Chair of the Drogheda Arts Festival and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Museums Association.


Sarah Searson - Director, The Dock

Sarah Searson is a curator and cultural consultant and is director at The Dock. Prior to this she was inaugural Head of the Centre for Creative Arts and Media (CCAM) at GMIT, where she led academic programmes in Fine Art, Film and Textiles. She has led several significant arts and cultural initiatives; including PublicArt.ie, a communication tool to support public art commissioning and was an adviser to Arts and Health.ie. As Arts Officer with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Coincil she delivered two major capital projects, Dance Theatre of Ireland and The Pavilion Theatre.


Linda Shevlin - Independant Curator

Linda Shevlin is a visual artist and curator based in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Her projects look at the complexities of modernity’s effects on land and the socio-cultural landscape of her environment. Her recent work has drawn attention to the role that certain historical/mythological tropes and characteristics have played in popular culture. Using exhibitions, film, and installations she creates situations that explore the borders of fact, fiction and reality.


Sean Kissane - Curator, IMMA

Seán Kissane 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. 


Paul McAree - Curator, Lismore Castle Arts

Paul McAree is Curator at Lismore Castle Arts in Waterford, which has hosted solo exhibitions by Gerard Byrne, Camille Henrot and Wilhelm Sasnal. Previously he worked at Breaking Ground, Tate Modern and Ikon Gallery Birmingham, and co-founded Colony Gallery in Birmingham which he directed from 2007-2010. Paul is also cfounder of FLOOD, an occassional contemporary art project in Ireland. FLOOD has hosted several group exhibitions in Dublin city centre including artists Alan Butler, Martin Healhy, Nevan Lahart, Beatriz Olabarrieta and Suzanne Trelster. 

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