Winners of the Future Makers Awards & Supports Programme 2015 announced
Awards and Supports

With a total prize fund of over €25,000, Future Makers Awards & Supports is one of the biggest award programmes in Europe for students and emerging makers. The annual programme rewards the next generation of Irish creatives, helping them develop an exciting future in the craft and design industry.

27 emerging designer-makers were announced as the 2015 winners by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI).


The 2015 winners, who represent a broad range of disciplines from practitioners and students throughout the country, were chosen for their experimentation, quality of making and imaginative use of skill.   The 2015 selection panel featured Gregory Epps, international designer and founder of RoboFold, fashion designer and former Future Makers award winner Natalie B. Coleman and internationally renowned basket maker Joe Hogan.
The announcement comes during a pivotal year for Irish creativity as the year long government backed initiative Irish Design 2015 promotes and celebrates Irish design talent both in Ireland and internationally.

Key Awards in the Student Category:

  • Alanna Plekkenpol who is studying fashion in NCAD received the overall Future Makers Student Award of €2,500 as well as Materials Support of €500. Her collection bears testimony to her heritage, with Dutch innovation and Irish historical craft combined in the use of technology, CAD and craft. Alanna’s goal is to establish an independent fashion brand in collaboration with other creative disciplines.
  • The Innovation Award (€2,000) and Materials Support (€500) was presented to Gabriel Hielscher, who is studying furniture design and manufacture in GMIT Letterfrack and combines very precise, clean joinery with vibrant sculptural elements in his work.
  • Paula O’ Callaghan, a final year student of DCCoI’s Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design Course was announced as the winner of both the Student Design Award (€1,000) and Materials Support (€500) for her piece based on the desire to explore the hydraulic press and experiment with materials, texture and form.
  • The Fixperts Creative Award (€500) was awarded to four students in the National College of Art and Design – Aaron Nooney (product design), Aidan Judd (product design), Ally Morehead (visual communications) and Marie Kelly (visual communications) – for their collaborative project in creating a button fastening device for a local person in their community with rheumatic problems, to ease his difficulty in fastening a button.

Key Awards in the Practitioner Category:

  • The Future Makers Emerging Practitioner Award (€5,000) was presented to Cillian Ó Súilleabháin who attended Trinity College Dublin before setting up his own business in Carlow. This award will assist Cillian in participating at the craft and design fair MADE in London 2015.
  • The Innovation Award (€2,500) was presented to fashion designer Honor Fitzsimons to further promote her work and support her in spending more time on sampling and developing her craft. All garments in her collection are ethically made in Ireland.
  • Pierce Healy was the recipient of the Design Award (€1,000) which will assist him in travelling to Reykjavík where he has been selected by the board of SIM residency Reykjavík, Iceland to participate in a one-month residency.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Acting Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Brian McGee, spoke of the importance of supporting designers and makers at all stages of their career.  “The future of our industry is dependent on a healthy talent pool. Future Makers enables up and coming designers and makers access funding for their development in a structured way. It is an amazingly inspiring project and every year we are just bowled over by the innovation, motivation and raw energy that the candidates bring,” he said.

Commenting on the 2015 Future Makers Awards & Supports Programme, Muireann Charleton, Education and Innovation Manager at the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, who chaired the selection panel said: “All the 2015 shortlisted candidates must be acknowledged as it is a high benchmark to have been selected by the judges for the shortlist. Future Makers supports those starting out in their careers to be innovative in their practice, encouraging experimentation in craft skills and demonstrating distinctive creative expression among emerging makers in Ireland today.”

Other Future Makers Awards & Support winners for 2015 were:


  • Materials Support (€500): Conor Sweeney, a second year student in GMIT Letterfrack studying furniture design and manufacture
  • Materials Support (€500): Deirdre Murphy, a fourth year student in NCAD studying jewellery and metals
  • Materials Support (€500): Mairead Fox, a final year student in NCAD studying textile surface design
  • Training Support (€1,000): Darragh Sinnott, a second year student in GMIT Letterfrack studying furniture design and manufacture
  • Training Support (€1,000): Wendy Ward, second year student in Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster studying multidisciplinary design
  • Spotlight Residency Support (€500): Dearbháile McDonald, a fourth year student in NCAD studying jewellery & metals
  • Spotlight Residency Support (€500): Siofra Caherty, a first year student in Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster studying multidisciplinary design
  • Exhibition/Trade Fair Support (€1,000): Jaki Coffey, a final year student in NCAD studying jewellery and metals


  • Studio Support (€1,000): Conor Kelly of Wicklow design studio Snug
  • Studio Support (€1,000): Joanna Doyle, owner of Joanna Doyle Ceramics
  • Residencies/Training Support (€1,000): jewellery designer Lorna Boyle who was the recipient of the Future Makers Student Innovation Award in 2014
  • Exhibitions/Trade Fair Support (€1,000): Hannah Mullan & Grainne Wall of fashion design studioTISSUE
About Futuremakers

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland's "Future Makers Awards and Supports" provide support for the next generation of makers to learn, experience, investigate, develop, create and shape the future of Irish craft. Future Makers fund: research, training, residencies, materials, exhibitions and much more.

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