Kilkenny to showcase work of emerging makers as part of Ceramics and its Dimensions Conference

Posted 27.08.18

Ceramic piece by Future Lights finalist, Zsiri Melinda Dempsey from Cork

  • Exhibition of the work of the 18 finalists of European ceramics competition Future Lights will open to the public for one day only, on Friday 7th September, in the Parade Tower, Kilkenny
  • Kilkenny to host members of European project Ceramics and its Dimensions (CAID) for the first time, from 5th to 7th September

The work of 18 emerging makers from both Ireland and across Europe is to be exhibited in the Parade Tower, Kilkenny for one day only, on Friday 7th September (9.30am – 4.30pm). The makers are finalists in Future Lights, an annual competition for recent ceramic graduates from Europe designed to assist them in furthering their careers. Kilkenny will also host members of European project, Ceramics and its Dimensions (CAID) for the first time from Wednesday 5th to Friday 7th September 2018 and will welcome delegates from 18 European countries for the conference (for CAID members only). The exhibition is a free event and open to all however pre-booking is required via

In 2017 recent graduates from across Europe were invited to apply to the Future Lights competition with proposals of how they would respond the theme ‘Go green – Ceramics and the Environment’. The applications were shortlisted with 18 finalists invited to present to a panel of judges at Kilkenny Castle on 7th September. Six of these finalists will be selected to receive a Future Lights award and will act as an ambassador in the field of ceramics. Ceramicist Chloë Dowds, from Co. Wicklow and a former DCCoI Future Makers Awards & Supports winner, won a Future Lights award in 2017 and was chosen to be a Future Lights Ambassador for 2018.

Representing Ireland in the 2018 group of finalists are Zsiri Melinda Dempsey, a ceramicist and visual artist who is based in Cork and Amy Mackle, a ceramicist based on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Zsiri, a 2017 Future Makers winner, creates experimental sculptures using ceramics materials which push the boundaries of ceramics art both technically and artistically. She uses mixed materials which produce unique, unexpected finishes. Her work is held in collections in Germany, Taiwan, Japan, Ireland, UK, Hungary and Slovenia. Amy's work is made predominantly in porcelain but she dabbles in different clays and materials and is inspired by many things, mainly her sense of place and where she lives. Having graduated from Belfast School of Art in 2016 and worked at the International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark, she has gained experience in many aspects of ceramic practice. 

Future Lights is run by ceramics specialists Porzellanikon and co-organised by Staffordshire University, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and the British Ceramics Biennial. The Future Lights judges are keen to discover talented early career professionals who are exploring questions of sustainability in their work and have the ability to inspire others. The competition is a key module of the CAID project and in February 2019, Future Lights Ambassadors will exhibit at the prestigious consumer trade fair, Ambiente.

CAID is an innovative three-year project that brings museums, universities, and research institutes together to provide an integral view of ceramics past, present and future. It is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union as well as by European Ceramic Society (ECerS) and Journal of the European Ceramic Society Trust. CAID started in 2015 and has 25 partners in 11 countries across Europe. It aims to:

  • Explore the interplay between and support future developments in culture, design and industry, with a focus on ceramics
  • Encourage cross-cultural collaborations and promote interdisciplinarity
  • Enable early-career practitioners and researchers to develop their practice through European-wide networks, furthering their careers through increased profile
  • Bring ceramics to new audiences and stimulate wider cultural engagement

John Tynan, DCCoI Head of Education, Training & Development, commented: “It is good that Ireland is one of the European partners in Ceramics and its Dimensions and we are particularly delighted to welcome the members of CAID to Kilkenny and to showcase the work of the Future Lights finalists to the public. The CAID project brings together museums, universities and Government-linked craft and design agencies to consider and investigate ceramics and its uses, whether domestically or in industry, and to make the results of the project available to a wide audience via the EU CAID website. The exhibition of the work of the Future Lights finalists also gives the public a chance to view the imaginative and creative output of emerging ceramics talent from across Europe. Congratulations to all finalists.

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Notes for editors

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 2,500 registered clients.

About Ceramics and its Dimensions (CAID)
Ceramics and its Dimensions is an innovative project encompassing all facets of ceramics and uniting Europe under its wide umbrella. It will bring museums, universities, and research institutes together to provide an integral view of ceramics past, present and future and, last but not least, harness all manner of internal and external communication to shed light on the dawn of ceramics: European ceramics – a material with tradition for the world of tomorrow.

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