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The Venue

03 April 2018

RDS to Double Investment in Irish Craft Sector

  • Exciting new partnership with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers
  • €60,000 prize fund for 2018 – 50th year of RDS Craft Awards
  • Emphasis on supporting emerging craft makers

An exciting restructuring of the RDS Craft Awards will significantly increase the financial commitment of the RDS to the craft sector and take the form of five annual €10,000 bursaries available for Future Makers Awards & Supports winners in the preceding year, supporting their ongoing transition from emerging to professional craft maker.

In an exciting new partnership with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) Future Makers Awards & Supports Programme, the RDS Craft Awards will provide financial help to emerging makers who have demonstrated professional progression in their craft. In order to be eligible for the Awards an emerging maker must have received a Future Makers Award or Support in the preceding year, providing makers with the opportunity to demonstrate the progression of their skills and body of work over a period of time. The RDS will also fund a new annual €10,000 bursary for established makers which will be managed by DCCoI.

The new changes follow a review by the RDS of the existing structure of the RDS Craft Awards and of supports available to the craft sector in Ireland. The new RDS Craft Awards will also be more aligned with the RDS arts work programme and its goal of supporting artists to make the transition from emerging to professional practice.

Speaking about the new changes Michael Duffy, RDS CEO, said: “The changes we are implementing in the RDS Craft Awards significantly increase our direct contribution to the craft sector to €60,000, maximising the benefit and impact for emerging craft makers who are starting out on their professional career. The partnership with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, and specifically their Future Makers Awards & Supports, promises to ensure that some of Ireland’s best emerging talent in craft is given financial support when they need it most. It is appropriate that we are making these changes in the year in which we celebrate 50 years of the Awards – a significant milestone.”

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland said: “The RDS Craft Awards has contributed significantly to the development and growth of the craft sector in Ireland over many years. Through the restructuring of the programme by the RDS, we look forward to seeing emerging makers benefit from these significant bursaries in progressing to professional practice and developing a career in Ireland’s vibrant design and craft sector. We are also delighted to have the support of the RDS in sponsoring a bursary for an established maker and we will be announcing further details about this opportunity in the coming weeks.”

The five Awards for emerging makers are for the development of business and craft skills for those pursuing a professional career in the sector. The money can be spent on further education and training, research, development of new work, mentoring, purchase of equipment, studio improvements, technology, website or residencies. A judging panel of five craft and design professionals will review the applications and shortlist candidates to attend interviews in the RDS in May where examples of their work will be shown to the panel. The Awards will be presented at an event in the RDS in June.

The Awards operate in tandem with the previous year’s winners of DCCoI Future Makers. So, to be eligible to apply for the 2018 RDS Craft Awards, emerging craft makers must have won a 2017 DCCoI Future Makers Award or Support. To be eligible in 2019, makers will have to have won a DCCoI Future Makers Award or Support in 2018.

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