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Frances McDonald provides consultancy and support services in contemporary craft and design. Working with state agencies and academic institutions, galleries and practitioners, she has worked on numerous exhibitions and events. These have included the 2017 Mise Éire conference for the Design & Crafts Council Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland;  Liminal – Irish Design at the Threshold, New York, Eindhoven & Dublin for Irish Design 2015; The International Academy of Ceramics Dublin 2014 for the Design & Crafts Council Ireland.

She writes on contemporary craft and has contributed to the Irish Arts Review; Ceramic Review; Neues Glas: Art & Architecture; Ceramics Art & Perception and Frances McDonald has a Degree in Design Communications from Limerick School of Art & Design and an MA in Design History & Material Culture from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

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Paula McCoy is homeware buyer for Arnott's. 

Paula is a fine art graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Paula has been a buyer for Arnott's the past 20 years. In 2011 she was part of the creation of the Irish Crafts Collection at Arnott's.  The collection brings together 23 Irish designers under one umbrella brand. Developed in conjunction with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI), the idea was to give small Irish craftmakers the opportunity to become listed in a department store, a process that Paula says is often prohibitive for small makers working on their own.

She has been a member of the DCCI mentoring panels for Design Ireland and FUSE clinics.  


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Rachel Dickson is the Dean of Academic Programmes at Central Saint Martins.

Rachel is a graduate of the Royal College of Art with an MA in Ceramics and Glass. Prior to taking up her role in Central Saint Martins, Rachel was the Associate Head of School at the Belfast School of Art. Rachel has a strong history in designing and leading courses in higher education. She is also involved in the co-funded Creative Europe project ‘Ceramics and Its Dimensions’, a project with 25 partners across 11 countries bringing museums, universities and research institutes together to provide an integral view of ceramics past, present and future.


As a maker, Rachel has exhibited widely in the UK, Ireland and North America. Rachel is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Irish Ceramics in Education, and the Design and Crafts Council Ireland.


Nigel Cheney is a textile artist and designer who lives and works in Leicestershire, UK. His practice is divided between textile art and producing one-off designed pieces. His work deals with memory and narrative, whilst his brand ‘KINGDOM’ produces decorative textiles for interiors and fashion accessories that combine digital print with hand and machine stitch.

He held the position of Lecturer in Embroidered Textiles at National College of Art and Design, from 1993 til his retirement from full-time lecturing in 2017.  His academic roles have embraced all aspects of Design as external examiner for several institutions.

In 2013 he co authored ‘Textile Surface Manipulations’ with Dr. Helen McAllister for Bloomsbury Textile Handbook series. His work has been featured in several publications. He has exhibited widely in both Ireland and Internationally, and his work is in many private collections.