The RDS National Craft Awards rewards and showcases excellence in Irish Craft. Last year a major independent evaluation of these awards was undertaken by consultant Marie Brennan and as a result there will be a number of changes implemented in 2015.
The RDS National Craft Awards has two components; a competition and an exhibition. Open to a wide variety of craft disciplines, the competition provides an open platform for Irish craftspeople to have their work assessed by a professional judging panel of Irish and international craft experts. The prize-winning and a number of high quality entries are chosen for exhibition at the RDS during the Dublin Horse Show. The opening night of the exhibition sees annual prizes awarded to the most outstanding works of that year. The prize-winners are also displayed at the National Craft and Design Fair in December.
The independent evaluation reviewed the entire awards process and its recommendations will be implemented in 2015. The RDS National Craft Awards will now be a two stream competition where the work of emerging and established makers will be judged separately. To be eligible to enter the Emerging Maker Awards entrants must be able to show that they are either:
- Students studying craft in third level institutions
- Have within the last five years set up a craft business.
- Those who are new to a craft discipline within the last five years, either studying via an apprenticeship or life-long learners on an informal course.
All other entrants whether professional or amateur must enter the Established Maker strand of the Awards. An Award of Excellence of €5000 will be awarded in both the Emerging and Established Maker strands.
The evaluation also recommended that categories be reduced from twenty to thirteen, which are as follows:
1. Constructed Textiles (woven, knitted, crocheted, felted textiles and lace)
2. Embellished Textiles (embroidery, patchwork, quilting, batik, printed textiles)
4. Jewellery & Silversmithing
9. Musical Instruments
12. Paper and Calligraphy
Other changes include:
· An extension for online entries into June
· A restriction to one entry per person
· A removal of the first round of judging to create a fully open competition where all entries will be examined by the judging panel.
Changes in RDS structures (we now have a Communications Manager and Director) mean that there is now greater ability to help with promoting RDS Foundation activities; meaning a stronger emphasis on media coverage in the future for both the competition and exhibition.
We believe that these changes will help to create a fairer, clearer, open and more streamlined competition and exhibition with a higher profile and a clear set of objectives in line with the RDS Arts goal which is: to provide a platform that supports the transition from student to emerging artist; encouraging the pursuit of a career in visual art, craft or music.