56 Events. 46 speakers. 16 Counties.
Irish Design Week 2023
Irish Design Week 2023 brought together the very best minds, makers and designers to celebrate creativity through a programme of events in venues across Ireland.
From 13-17 November 2023, workshops, exhibitions, talks and conferences took place throughout Ireland all focusing on the theme: Is Folklore the Future?
The events explored Ireland’s rich heritage of folklore and storytelling – currently topics being discussed in international design circles. With so much packed into an incredible week the following five key takeaways help to summarise just some of the conversations we want to keep moving.
I am personally delighted that we resonated with so many makers and craftspeople. This was always a primary ambition of Irish Design Week - finding common ground across many disciplines and practices so that we can progress the conversation on diversity and inclusion. Collaborations with lots of Government agencies and organisations was also extremely gratifying, and lays the foundation for more of the same in the years ahead.
Head of Design, DCCI
5 Key Takeaways
1) We must collaborate to progress
Throughout Irish Design Week 2023, collaboration was a theme cited again and again by speakers who have delivered success in their many and varied initiatives. It is clear that progress happens through creating common goals, or even starting points, and bringing together interested, diverse parties on the journey.
A focus of discussion among the speakers at the launch in Cork City Hall, was the development of a national design centre in Ireland.
Irish Design Week 2023 has set things in motion, connecting people, ideas and energy – a basis for action.
I think it is absolutely essential to have a building fit for purpose. You need somewhere that people see as the central disseminating place. If you have a building you can start from to collaborate with designers, craftsmen and women and different communities. You need to start with something concrete.
CEO Design Museum London
2) How we educate matters
Education, and the significance of learning running through design emerged, as a talking point across many events.
Design is not static. It impacts on all areas of our life – how we live, how we work. We know that success in design is reliant on the need to keep learning. We must put design at the front and centre of education, making sure we are continually learning about how it applies to the everyday.
A legacy of a design centre in Ireland has to be a little bit different, it has to have a rich seam of education running through it. It is about learning how to design, how to design your life, how to design your work context. I would like Ireland not just to be celebrating what we do, but to also have the "teach a person to fish" mantra running through it. This amazing opportunity where we can have diversity of thought, discipline and mindset
University College Cork
3) Be aware of what is around us
Knowing how others experience things and being aware of your surroundings and your impact is pivotal. Successful design should be driven by a strong undertone of what people think, how they feel and an awareness of how design impacts them. We should ask the questions, we should listen to the answers.
Consideration of what ‘good design’ means to different people and to evolve according to it, is key. Design can make a real difference to life, work and our future.
This was not a question of just creating a new brand with the letters GAA in it, it went a lot deeper than that. It was positioning the GAA based on what 8,000 people were saying about our association. You can only go forward when you know what others think about you.
Former GAA President
4) Put diversity & inclusion at the centre of design
Diversity and inclusion remained a strong thread throughout this Irish Design Week.
Ensuring that reasonable accommodation is front of mind is significant if we want to create a society where accessible design works for everyone. Being inclusive and listening to the needs of those around helps us to consider how, why and who we design for and how we need to adapt this in a future world.
Thinking about what reasonable accommodation looks like. The idea is if you are a disabled person who needs accommodation to do your job independently it is your employers responsibility to provide them – as long as they are reasonable. It is trying to move the global thinking that we all need accommodations. This is an incredible opportunity to think about the future for Ireland.
CEO Tilting the Lens
5) All activities need to be future focused
Looking at our history and legacy of design and bringing them into the current day is a key component of the future of design.
We must look back at what we have done before and use this to push boundaries, question our principles and try new things together. The future of design involves everyone. Including and involving as many people as possible is the key to the future of design.
As we talk about current problems and the future, we also need to think about our history, our legacy
CEO Danish Design Centre
For a design centre or for design to be relevant it has to connect with the place. What are the urgent challenges facing the country? Not just today but of the future. It doesn’t have to be ambitious and abstract, it can be about everyday life. It is a huge resource to draw on the global network but also inform it.
CEO Danish Design Centre
Ireland’s need for a national design centre
Irish Design week 2023 kicked off with conversations with leaders and influencers on Ireland’s plan for a National Design Centre.
How we educate matters
Megan Nolan Walsh, a recent graduate of NCAD has quickly become a rising star in the Irish fashion world. Her folklore inspired ranges include modern interpretations of the iconic Claddagh ring. She spoke at ‘The Intersection of Craft and Commerce event’ where there were discussions on bringing design ideas to life
Be aware of what is around us
Gerry Farrell of Tibradden Craft Farm addressed the audience at the opening event in Cork City Hall where the panel discussed the possible models for an Irish national Design Centre and the impact of design on communities.
Diversity & Inclusion
The role of design in accessibility
Sinead Burke, Tilting the Lens and Siobhan McKenna, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the Public Appointments Service took part in our event part Co-Designing Equitable Opportunities. They discussed reasonable accommodation and how employers, public spaces and businesses can make small but meaningful changes that make a massive difference to people’s lives.
Dermot O’Shea, Brand and Digital expert spoke at Back to the Future of the GAA – by design. At this event a panel of well known leaders and visionaries discussed how folklore played a central role in the rebrand of the GAA.