• Contact us
  • Location & visitor info
  • Search
  • Visitor Info
  • Contact us
The Venue


POSTPONED - 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 (formerly the RDS Crafts Competition) 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.

The Design & Craft Council of Ireland'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.

Interviews with the shortlisted 2020 candidates took place in the RDS in mid-March and the 2020 winners will be announced at a postponed event which will be scheduled for later in the year.

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

Stevan Hartung, Furniture design and maker, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland nominee

Annie Warburton, CEO, Cockpit Arts


2019 RDS Craft Award Winners

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

Winners of €10,000 Bursaries:

- Laoise Carey (Fashion Design) 

- Chloë Dowds (Ceramics)

- Pierce Healy (Jewellery / Objects)

- Alan Meredith (Furniture Maker / Woodturner)

- Pearl Reddington (Knitwear)


RDS Irish Craft Bursary

The RDS also supports the RDS Irish Craft Bursary which is a €10,000 Bursary managed by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) and open to makers in the DCCI's Portfolio programme. The RDS Irish Craft Bursary is part of the restructured RDS Craft Awards announced in 2018. The bursary is open to all members of DCCI'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 150 makers.

The winner of the 2019 RDS Irish Craft Bursary, worth €10,000, is jewellery designer Seliena Coyle.

Seliena Coyle’s is an ambitious project that will see the production of 100 contemporary icons inspired by and dedicated to women. The RDS bursary will support a period of research in addition to the production of this work. This body of wall-based work will explore the narrative format while utilising skills and techniques familiar to the jeweller, thereby allowing each vignette to retain the intimacy more acquainted with the brooch. Assemblage and symbolic references will combine to construct a micro cosmos unique to each protagonist. They will serve to honour and eulogise the individual.

Speaking about the award, Coyle commented: “I am so delighted to have been awarded this year's RDS Irish Craft Award. It will enable me to undertake the most ambitious project of my career to date and marks a radical shift in my practice. I would like to thank the RDS and Design & Crafts Council Ireland for this support.

Seliena Coyle is jewellery designer, curator and educator based in Derry. After receiving a Bachelor of Design in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Scotland in 1993, she went on to complete the Jewellery Production Skills course at the Design & Crafts Council Ireland in 1994. She subsequently achieved a Masters of Fine Art in Metalsmithing and Jewellery Design from Indiana University, USA in 1998.

The winner of the inaugural RDS Irish Craft Bursary in 2018, worth €10,000, was contemporary glass artist Edmond Byrne. 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

Share this page

Get RDS updates in your inbox.

Get All RDS Venue updates into your inbox

If you want to stay informed on the RDS Philanthropic society click here.