Alumni Stories

News and updates from the NCAD graduate network. Find out about our graduates' careers and inspirations.

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Síofra Caherty - Sustainable Design.

BA Fashion Design, 2009.

'We are more connected than ever before and there is less emphasis on where you are based... There is a lot more encouragement and ways now to be self employed and create your own path, this is a really exciting time!'

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Sorcha O'Raw  - Membership Co-Ordinator at the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI), Embroidery Artist.

BA Fine Art (Textiles) and Visual Culture, 2017.

'You’re not going to art college to learn how to be an artist, you’re going to learn how to be creative, and you can apply that to anything.'

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Joe Coll  - Designer/ Lecturer in Design at Letterkenny IT.

BA, MA Visual Communication 2006, 2012.

'You’re only going to be there for a short period of time, so work hard, be ambitious, ask questions and don’t forget to enjoy it..'

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Sinead Brennan  - Artist, Educator and Studio Co-Founder Glint Glass Studio.

BA Fine Art (Glass) 2012.

'Experimenting with a new technique or following an obscure research path could inspire a whole body of work.'

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Mairead Wall  - Textiles/Jewellery Designer.

BA Textile Deasign 2016.

'People are becoming far more aware of wanting to support small, local businesses, so it's a great time to be getting your name out there online and on social media.'

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Roisín O’Donnell  - Painter, Illustrative Graphic Designer.

BA Fine Art (Painting) 2018.
BA Graphic Design 2020.

'Learn to be in a state of constant creation. Whether it be sketching ideas in a notebook on the way to college or talking to peers about a project you’re working on, let your creativity flow into your everyday routine.'

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Mary Burke - Visual Artist.

BA Fine Art (Painting) 1982.

'Keep in touch with your classmates. You and your peers are the artists, curators, gallery directors, designers, critics and educators of tomorrow. You can be a great support for each other.'

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Kay Sim - Human Factors Engineer.

MSc Medical Device Design, 2017.

'The fact that the projects are real world assignments with partnering companies piqued my interest. I think working with Hollister may have been one of the more pivotal moments on the course. The research into the users, user needs, and how to convey that was intense.'

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Leonora Ferguson - Millinery.

BDes (Hons) in Textile Design, 2005.

'And then Cara Delevingne chose my lizard headpiece to wear.'

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Laura Weber - Designer / Owner at LW Pearl Atelier and LW Pearl Brand.

BDes (Hons) in Textile Design, 2012.

'We are lucky enough to work in a visual business and I think that presents huge opportunities.'

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Jaki Coffey - Designer/ Maker.

BDes (Hons) in Craft Design, 2015.

'The best thing I got from NCAD was the extended network of fantastic designers, makers and artists - both students and lecturers - which I can always call on for support, critiques or encouragement.'

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Mary Doherty - Branding and Design.

BA Graphic Design, 1993.

'Work hard and never stop challenging your own thinking. Good is never good enough.'

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Karen Donnellan - Artist / Academic.

BDes (Hons) in Craft Design (Glass) , 2009.

'I really thrived in that smaller, community atmosphere.'

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Donna Rose - Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland.

MA Design History & Material Culture, 2019.

'Your classmates are all experts in something and you can learn so much from each other and make some real friends for life.'

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Alanagh Clegg - Fashion Designer.

BDes (Hons) Textiles, 2016.

'Treat your degree as the beginning of your practice. The time spent in NCAD is a time to dive into your personal creative path.'

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Sadhbh Mowlds - Studying for MFA at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

BA Fine Art (Glass), 2014.

'I was completely enthralled by the colours, the creative atmosphere and the sense of freedom in the air. NCAD's campus is something quite special and I had not witnessed anything similar in other universities I had visited.'

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Mick Minogue - Freelance Creative and Art Director

BA  Art & Design Education, specialising in Textiles, 2017.

'Since NCAD, I’ve stayed highly creative… I wanted to live a happy life, so I thought it best if I sculpt, cut and make it up as I go along.'

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Cathy Burke - Ceramic Artist

BA  Fine Art (Ceramics), 2014.

'I went straight into the ceramics department and it lived up to everything I hoped for. Inspirational setting, fabulous facilities, great technical staff and the incredibly supportive and encouraging tutors- always pushing investigation and enquiry.'

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Sophie Longwill - Artist; Company Director of Longwill Studio

BA Fine Art (Glass), 2016.

'The first time I blew a glass bubble was magic, and I was totally hooked. I had been intending to study sculpture but something about the material narratives of glass really captured my attention and I had to learn more.'

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Ana Buzan - Fashion Design / Tailoring.

BA Fashion Design, 2019.

'NCAD was able to provide me with resources. I found myself getting lost in the National Irish Visual Arts Library - the boundless selection of books never failed to inspire me throughout my studies.'

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Aisling Clancy -
Education Manager, Design & Craft Council Ireland (Design & Craft Education).

MA in Design (Textiles), 2013.

‘Remember that Ireland has a rich history in design and crafts. I would encourage students not to wait until they graduate to interact with the wider design and craft community’

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Laura Quinn -
Glass Technical Tutor at University for the Creative Arts, UK.
Designer, maker and business owner at Laura Quinn Design. 

Joint BA (Hons) in Art and Design History & Craft Design, 2015.

'Work hard, put the hours in, every time. You can’t rush creativity, but you have to work hard to create work that is meaningful.' 

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Image: Courtesy the Tanad Williams & Andreas Kindler von Knobloch

Tanad Williams - Visual Artist.

BA (Hons) in Fine Art, 2012.

'I’ve been working in ‘Installation’ or ‘Sculpture’ since leaving college, and the past few years have seen my practice become almost exclusively collaborative. I’m currently working on a solo body of work and plan to use the (Fire Station) studio to develop that.'

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Orlaith Ross - Community Manager, The Dock at Accenture.

BA Art and Design Education, 2009.

'Students at NCAD are constantly challenged and are often encouraged to find multiple solutions that find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena. This is a key skill when innovating for the future.'

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Keith Fitzsimons - UX/UI Designer.

BA Product Design, 2020.

'I owe my current job to the choice of topic for my major project. I put a lot of time into deciding on my topic, and even switched a few times. But in hindsight, I’m glad I gave it the deliberation it deserved.'

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Jen Donnery - Ceramic Artist.

BA Fine Art, Ceramics, 2020.

'Following my graduation from NCAD, I was given the opportunity of a solo exhibition. I was also delighted to be shortlisted for the DCCI Future Makers Awards, in the Student & Recent Graduate category.'

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Feargal Fitzpatrick - Head of Media, NCAD.

'There were two key things for me in undertaking the PhD while working full-time. The first was to look at the task realistically. I completed the work half-time over six years, plus a year researching the initial proposal in advance.'

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Conor Clarke - Designer, Founding Partner of Design Factory.

1984 (BDes), 2000 (MA)

'Returning to NCAD in 2000 to do my MA with tutor Bill Bolger - my book ‘Oranje & Green’ published by BIS in Amsterdam in 2002, was the outcome of those two wonderful years.'

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Claire Dunleavy - Furniture Design / Business Development.

BA Jewellery & Object, 2009

'I joined NCAD in second year, and I almost failed that year. Two years later, at our degree show, the head of design told my parents that I was one of the most proactive students they had ever had.'

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Alex Hennessy - Information Technology.

BA Product Design, 2020

'I believe that the creative industry, regardless of the current pandemic, has the power to influence, whether it be intentional or not. Now more than ever, creatives are coming together and bringing light to important causes across the world.'

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 Aideen Bodkin - Fashion Design and Mentor with the Design Craft Council of Ireland.

B.Des Fashion in 1988; MAVA 2015

'Although I came to NCAD with talent, it was the role of many tutors to push me a little, allowing me to develop and express myself so that I could achieve my goals.'

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Kasandra O'Connell - Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive, Irish Film Institute

BA Fashion Design, 1991

'My time at NCAD equipped me in a myriad of ways. I learned how to problem solve and research; I learned how to defend and explain my work. I learned how to think creatively and critically…Crucially I learned resilience.'

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Jonathan Theobald - Product Design / Illustration

BA Product Design, 2020

'Bureau+ was definitely one of the most defining moments of my four years at NCAD. Working directly with clients allowed me to implement the skills I had built up to that point.'

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Andrew Bradley - Brand Consultant, Director at Bradley Brand

BA Industrial Design, 1984

'Design is a collaborative sport and the better we play together, the more successful we are. College gives you the opportunity to think freely and open your mind. As you get older this muscle needs to be continuously exercised.'

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Kitsch Doom (Isabella Delaney)  - Student, MFA Fine Art - Media

'My film, ‘The Clothes Wear You’ has won four awards for best experimental film in New York Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, Festigious Los Angeles and FilmCon. and I’m thrilled to be able to say that!'

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Anna Carmody - Entrepreneur

BA Product Design, 2016

'I am founder and CEO of Little Red Edu Ltd. We are building a digital learning platform for early learners to learn and speak English as a foreign language.'

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Ciarán OGaora - Managing Partner at Zero-G / Designer

BA Visual Communication, 1991

'Creativity connects us with our humanity; and through design, it sets out to do that for others. The pandemic has reminded us of the need we have for each other. It has also shown that collectively we are capable of greater change than we think.'

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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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