Images l to r: work by Future Makers 2018 recipients Genevieve Howard, Kieran McNeeley and Aoife May Soden

Calling all student and emerging designers and makers!


  • The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers fund of €25,000 recognises and supports the next generation of Irish designers and makers
  • Entry to this programme is free and the closing date for online applications is 9am, Monday 25th March 2019
  • Future Makers Awards & Supports celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and has invested over €260,000 in awards and supports to 229 Irish designers and craftspeople since 2009

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) Future Makers Awards & Supports programme for 2019 has opened and is now accepting online applications. With a total fund of €25,000 this year and 28 prizes available, Future Makers Awards & Supports is one of Europe’s largest prize-funded award programmes for students and emerging makers. Entry to this exciting programme is free and the closing date for receipt of applications is 9am, Monday, 25th March 2019. All applications must be submitted online at

Divided into student/recent graduate and emerging practitioner categories and covering a broad range of disciplines, the Future Makers programme recognises and rewards vision, innovation and excellence in both making and the creative process. Entries will be assessed by a judging panel comprising national and international judges. Frances McDonald, Contemporary Design and Craft Consultant, and Paula McCoy, Homeware Buyer at Arnotts, will review and select a long-list from the first round of entries. The second round will be assessed by Brian Kennedy, Curator; Alison Conneely, Fashion Designer; and Romain Juilha, Manager of International Projects with Ateliers D’art de France, who will then choose the final winners from this group. Alison Conneely is a past Future Makers winner having received the overall Future Makers Award in 2013.

Future Makers Awards & Supports is one of several DCCoI initiatives supporting and investing in a new generation of talent in the design and craft sector. This year marks ten years of the programme and, since 2009, over €260,000 has been invested in awards and supports to 229 Irish designers and craftspeople.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Awards & Supports programme was created in 2009 as a way to support and foster emerging Irish designers and makers, and during the past decade we are delighted that almost 230 Irish designers and craftspeople have benefitted from this initiative. Through this programme’s funding support, our aim is to encourage and give confidence to a new generation of talent by assisting them in establishing their careers and developing their skills, nurturing and growing Ireland’s design and craft sector into the future. We look forward to investing in and helping a new group of makers achieve their ambitions with Future Makers 2019 and wish all entrants the best of luck.”

Previous winners and recipients of Future Makers Awards & Supports have established and developed careers across a wide range of design specialties in the creative sector. Former winners include fashion designers Pearl Reddington, Natalie B. Coleman, and Sorcha O’Raghallaigh; jewellers Genevieve Howard and Pierce Healy; leather artist Úna Burke; ceramicist Ann McBride; design studios Elements of Action and Superfolk; and furniture designers Cillian Ó Súilleabháin and Alan Meredith.

The 2018 Future Maker of the Year, glass artist Aoife May Soden, said: “Being recognised through the Future Makers 2018 programme has given me the confidence to move forward in creating a broader profile for my work in Ireland. Winning such a high-profile award from a panel of international artists allows me to approach new galleries and boutiques with confidence. I am in the process of establishing a network with galleries and stockists in Ireland, something which is only possible because of the opportunity given to me through Future Makers. It is a slow but steady race but none of this would have been possible without the financial assistance of the Future Makers award from DCCoI.”

According to Pearl Reddington, who was awarded Studio Support in 2018, “Winning a Future Makers award two years in a row gave me the confidence to do what I love and it gave the public confidence to invest in my brand. The press coverage from Future Makers is amazing. The start-up stage is the most expensive stage in a young designer’s career, so winning a Future Makers Support was a big financial help,” she said. 

Niamh Flynn, a graduate of Fashion at National College of Art & Design, who received Travel & Training Support in 2018, used it to travel to Madagascar to pilot a research project in a local indigenous community. Niamh explained that “Future Makers has allowed me to travel to this community to fulfil this project allowing me to engage in a new experience providing a positive social impact in collaborating with crafts people and designers abroad.”

Additionally, the RDS Craft Awards 2020 will be open to winners of DCCoI Future Makers Awards & Supports 2019. Five bursaries of €10,000 each will be awarded for the development of business and craft skills to 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. See for information.

All Future Makers Awards & Supports Categories for 2019:

Students Category:

  • Future Makers Student Award: €2,500
  • Materials Support: €500 x 6
  • Travel & Training Support: €500 x 4
  • Professional Development Support: €500 x 4

Recent Graduates/Emerging Practitioners Category:

  • Future Makers Emerging Maker Award: €3,500
  • Studio Support: €1,000 x 4
  • Residencies/Training Support: €1,000 x 4
  • Exhibition Support: €1,000 x 4

Full details are here:

Assessment will be based on the strength of an applicant’s written proposal and their creative work. For full details about eligibility criteria and terms and conditions, please visit here. A set of application guidelines is also available here.

Full details on the programme are available at All applications must be submitted online at and the deadline for entries is 9am, Monday, 25th March 2019.

The winners and recipients of the 2019 Future Makers Awards & Supports programme will be announced at a presentation ceremony in Dublin in June.


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