Alumni Stories

News and updates from the NCAD graduate network.

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Adam Blagburn - Spatial Design

BA Product Design, 2017

‘As a student, I could spend days at a time with NCAD tutors and students. This interdisciplinary approach to design I experienced at NCAD has had a lasting impact on my practice to this day.’

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Fiona Harrington, Artist - Lacemaker

BA Textiles, 2013

"As a result of Covid-19, we are now all in a situation whereby we must consider how we can share our work. This is throwing up a lot of new ideas and may even result in a greater number of people who are able to access the arts due to digital technology."

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Rachel Marsden, Service and Systems Designer

MFA Design, 2018

"At times of great turmoil, we tend to question and rethink the way we live, making design more relevant than ever."

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Pacifico Borza, Interaction/UX Design

MA Interaction Design, 2020

"I decided that achieving a masters qualification would point me in the right direction, especially towards a career in UX. Studying Interaction Design at NCAD was the design reboot I needed in terms of knowing what opportunities are out there and understanding what employers are looking for."

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Ian McWhinnie, New Product Development – Medical Devices

MSc Medical Device Design, 2017

"We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the change in habits we are seeing towards sustainability and environmental accountability, that are being driven by the pandemic. If we want to drive change, this is the time."

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Miriam Wade, Goldsmith and Jewellery designer

BA Jewellery & Object, 2011

"The projects we did with external companies really gave a great insight into the commercial aspect of jewellery design."

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Kevin Glynn, Researcher & Interaction Designer

BDes Industrial Design, 2014 and MA Interaction Design, 2019

'Working with tutors who were experts in their field, who believed in my potential and nurtured my creative choices, and motivated me throughout my studies - that has never left me.'

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Lesley Kelly, Ceramic Artist and Post Primary Art, Craft & Design Teacher

BA Fine Art Ceramics, 2000

“There are limitations to everything, without constraints there would just be endless options of solutions, it’s what holds us back that lets us break free.”

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Niamh O'Hora, UX Design

BA Fine Art Print, 2000

'Don’t overthink it and enjoy the time you spend creating things for no reason other than it’s interesting to you'.

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Deirdre Giblin, Director of a Higher Education College

BA Textile Design, 1988

'My four years in NCAD gave me a very strong grounding in an interdisciplinary approach to learning, before it was ever a discussion on the broader education landscape.'

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Michelle Murphy, Industrial Design / Medical Device Design

BA Industrial Design, 2011
MSc Medical Device Design, 2014

'It took a couple of months to transition from designing physical products to digital interfaces. Although I had to learn new tools, much of my training around the design process at NCAD remained relevant.'

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James Brady, Industrial Design / Interaction Design

BDes (Hons) in Industrial Design, 2012
MA Interaction Design, 2018

'Every bit of experience counts and the relationships you build are the most important thing for progression.'

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Daniel Kearns, Fashion Design

BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, 1997

'As designers, our role first and foremost is to answer the brief. Be creative but think about the commerciality of what you do. At the end of the day, what we do needs to sell.'

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John Fogarty, Graphic Designer

BDes (Hons) in Visual Communication, 2017

'Creative people are skilled at problem solving and are self-motivated... In times of turmoil such as this, it is often creative people who begin new startups and open their own studios. Sometimes you need to look to create a job for yourself.' 

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Laoise Carey, Fashion Designer

BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, 2017

'Opportunities are opening up for creatives to be drivers of change, and innovators in every area of fashion design, production, sales and marketing.' 

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Frances Neary, Principal - Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun

BA in Art & Design Education, 2000

'NCAD training allowed me to understand the endless possibilities of solving problems and the importance of being solution focused...Even though I am not physically creating a piece of art with my hands, I am using a creative approach in all areas of my work.' 

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Shane Holland, Industrial Designer and Sculptor

BA Industrial Design (Product Design), 1989

'Ask lots of questions. Record and photograph your work properly.' 

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Aoife Soden, Independent Business Owner ‘Aoife Soden Glass’

BA (Hons) in History of Art & Design & Craft Design (Glass), 2012

'Most importantly for me, NCAD had an extensive range of possibilities at an undergraduate level. This was vital for me as my experiences in first year ultimately led me to the glass department.' 

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Gwen Cunningham,
- Circular Textiles 
- Programme Lead for Textiles at Circle Economy
- Sustainability Coordinator and Lecturer at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute

'For those in the field of design, I would ask – what do you want to achieve through the items you create? What is your purpose as a designer? What problem are you trying to solve?' 

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Moses Rowen, Innovation Designer

'Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for feedback, especially from people with more experience whose work you respect.' 

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Jack Connolly, Medical Device Design

'Tumultuous times uncover many new needs, and the design process can be used to identify, prioritise and solve those needs.' 

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David McCaul, McCaul Goldsmiths (London)

'Be a sponge. There is so much knowledge available at NCAD, between the teachers, technicians, library and fellow students. Take advantage of that and try to absorb as much as you can in your time there.' 

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Clare Grennan, Irish Design Shop

'NCAD has always been considered the best art college in the country, so it was my first preference. The location, the variety of courses, it was all so appealing. In addition, I had completed a summer portfolio course there at 17 and felt so comfortable and at home on the campus.'

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Laura Caffrey, Irish Design Shop

'The core year really appealed to me, with the opportunity to try out several different disciplines before deciding on which field to specialise in'.

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Ben Millett, STAYHOLD® Products

'I was always interested in creative fields and loved machines and building things.'

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Alan Harrison, STAYHOLD® Products

'At the root of the industrial design course was design thinking skills that would allow me to critically analyse and solve problems creatively. As co-founder of Stayhold, I use my design skills to solve a range of daily challenges quickly and innovatively.’

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Aoife Dunne

'The year I graduated from NCAD I was invited to exhibit my degree show work at the Royal Academy of Arts, London and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, and went on to win at the RDS visual art awards at the end of 2016. '

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Susanne Wawra

'At the core is finding and exploring your interest, even if it is just an inkling, something that arrests and frees you at the same time - challenges you'

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Lucy van Lonkhuyzen

We caught up with Lucy van Lonkhuyzen, National College of Art & Design graduate and production designer, to chat about her career, and work on internationally acclaimed television drama Normal People.

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Design: Platinum-Winning Work and New Entries from the USA

Design studio 21xdesign has been awarded two Platinum Awards in Graphis 2019 Poster and Design Annuals. 21xdesign is the studio of Patricia Mcelroy and Dermot MacCormack, who graduated from Visual Communications at NCAD in 1981.

Patricia McElroy
Dermot McCormack

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Perspectives on Irish Art Education

Perspectives on Irish Art Education

Public talks and screenings - lunchtimes in Spring 2019.

Martin Gale
John Behan
Leo Higgins
Chára Nagle

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Simone Rocha

With a Louise Bourgeois show running at Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz, NCAD graduate Simone Rocha reflects on the artist.

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Five NCAD graduates receive Next Generation Awards

Five NCAD graduates receive Next Generation Awards

Key Arts Council support for emerging artists

Eimear Murphy (BA Fine Art Painting and Joint Course, 2015)
Sven Sandberg (MFA Painting 2016)
Kerry Guinan (BA Fine Art Media and Joint Course, 2014)
Anja Mahler (BA Fine Art Print, 2010)
Atoosa Pour Hosseini (MA Art in the Digital World, 2014)

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Five NCAD graduates receive Next Generation Awards

Daniel Kearns - the man behind David Beckham's fashion brand

Kent & Curwen Creative Director Daniel Kearns

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