Thursday, 27 June 2013

IDEATE Festival, Kilkenny

50 years ago saw the opening of the Kilkenny Design Workshops, the first government-sponsored design workshop of its kind in the world. At the height of its activity, KDW brought together Irish and international designers to create work, generating high quality graphics, textiles and products. In fact, Danish designer Holger StrΓΈm designed his iconic IQ lamp while based at KDW in 1973. Though it may not have stimulated a design culture quite as it intended (there are/were a lot of other factors at play in Ireland's slow design development, just one being Ireland's limited industrial-scale manufacturing capabilities), KDW cemented Kilkenny as a creative hub in Ireland, leading to the opening of Ireland's National Craft Gallery on the KDW site and inspiring the Crafts Council of Ireland to base their operations in the city.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Crafts Council and the National Craft Gallery are holding IDEATE: a two-day festival across venues all over Kilkenny city which explores craft, design and creativity in its many guises. I gave it a mention in the most recent Here's the Heads Up, but thought it deserved a post of its own given how many great events the festival's got lined up. I recommend you have a look at the listings on the NCG website and have a look through the digital version of the festival's brochure (I'm guessing you can pick up a printed copy once you're in Kilkenny). In the meantime, here's what's popping out for me:

5 July: Making Worlds
City Hall, 2.30 - 5.30pm; €8
A number of speakers on new ways of thinking about and designing public spaces and cities, including Dublin City Architect Ali Grehan, Kilkenny-based community-based organisation Commonage and others. Topics such as accessibility to digital fabrication, creativity in cities and collaborative/citizen-led planning will feature.

5 July: Live Art Drawoff: Mick Minogue and Steve McCarthy VS Cartoon Saloon
Billy Byrne's Bar, 9pm, €5
“I kind of imagine it to be like the end of Braveheart, only with pens and paint. I will walk in to meet my allies and fellow artists and before I know it I will be laying on my back, covered in ink, screaming “FREEEEDOM!!!” It will be one of the greatest, most inkiest doodle battles in all seven kingdoms” - artist Mick Minogue, who'll be taking one side of the Drawoff with artist Steve McCarthy, battling against Cartoon Saloon, the people behind The Secret of Kells.

5 & 6 July: Creative City on Screen
Billy Byrnes Bar on Friday 5, 5 - 8pm; SET Theatre on Saturday 6, 11.30am - 4pm; free
A programme of shorts including Tony Donoghue's Irish Folk Furniture and animations from Kilkenny-born, LA-based David O'Reilly.

Until 9 July: Making Things Better
National Craft Gallery; free
An exhibition curated by Ann Mulrooney and featuring the work of Designgoat and Derek Wilson. Designgoat and Wilson have each selected an object from A History of Ireland in 100 Objects (an Eileen Gray chair and an emigrants teapot) and have created new objects inspired by those. The exhibition shows not only the new pieces themselves, but also gives an insight into the process that led to their creation.

Images via National Craft Gallery