Two new degree courses provide golden opportunity for design and crafts students

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) has announced an exciting new partnership with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) that will see the creation of two new degree courses for students. The redesign and further development of the DCCI courses in Ceramics Skills & Design and Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design will mark a significant milestone for the sector. It will ensure a high level of craftspeople will graduate with enhanced qualifications in Ireland, while keeping the ancient skills of goldsmithing and ceramics ‘throwing’ alive.

Louise France_making_Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design Course

GMIT was chosen as DCCI’s higher education partner following consultation meetings with seven third-level institutions across the country. DCCI has operated its Ceramics Skills & Design Course at the Island Mill in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, since 1990. The Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design Course, now in its 24th year, will move from the Castle Yard in Kilkenny to the old courthouse in Thomastown as soon as development works are complete.

Two new degree courses provide golden opportunity for design and crafts students
Porcelain Lidded Jars_Natasha Swan_graduate_DCCI Ceramics Skills & Design Course

Both Kilkenny-based courses, with their strong emphasis on hand skills, are currently two-year Level 7 National Diploma accredited programmes. However, both courses will be redesigned and further developed as three-year honours degree status courses as part of the new DCCI-GMIT partnership.The GMIT School of Design & Creative Arts is based on both Galway city (Cluain Mhuire) and Letterfrack campuses. The school currently has three departments; Centre for Creative Arts & Media; National Centre of Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology; and Department of Creative Education. GMIT has been delivering higher education programmes related to Design, Creative and Cultural Industries for almost 50 years. The School of Design and Creative Arts currently has circa 700 students across both campuses and enrolments are growing in line with the continuing economic growth of career opportunities in the various creative sectors and related areas. The school has deep engagement with its industry partners and regional communities through its highly qualified graduates, work placements, applied skill-based programmes, and research projects. DCCI Chief Executive Rosemary Steen said synergies between the model and ethos of the Kilkenny-based courses and GMIT Letterfrack’s renowned National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology and the GMIT Centre for Creative Arts & Media programmes, was a key factor in the national agency’s decision. Rosemary Steen said:“I’m delighted to announce this innovative new partnership between Design & Crafts Council Ireland and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. This is a very exciting time for our long-established jewellery, goldsmithing and ceramics courses. Last year funding was secured to the transform the historic Sessions House in Thomastown into a new jewellery ‘centre of excellence’ and we look forward to redesigning and developing both of our existing courses to Level 8 Degree standard. There is an ageing population in the crafts sector so training and upskilling young people is vital to keep these ancient skills alive.We look forward to working with GMIT over the coming years. The GMIT School of Design and Creative Arts’ model and ethos, with its intensive focus on applied skills, chimes very closely with our approach and values. DCCI would like to thank all of the other third-level institutions who took part in the consultation process and we look forward to exploring educational opportunities with other institutions across a range of disciplines over the coming months and years.” GMIT President, Dr Orla Flynn, said: “The partnership between GMIT and DCCI is an important strategic development for the design and making industry. These programmes are unique in the sector and the collaboration and developing relationship between GMIT and DCCI will lead to exciting new opportunities. We are delighted with this hugely positive initiative, and look forward to working with DCCI.”GMIT Head of School of Design & Creative Arts, Dr Paddy Tobin, added: “We are delighted to partner with DCCI in the development and delivery of these wonderful courses as Level 8 degree programmes. The DCCI courses in Ceramics Skills & Design Courseand in Jewellery & Goldsmithing Skills have an outstanding reputation amongst the creative community in Ireland and internationally.The DCCI approach and education model resonates so well with GMIT’s experience in blending theory and practice, thinking and doing, design and making in our furniture, ceramics and textiles degree programmes. Achieving the right balance of applied education and skills, in a higher education context, in order to help students reach their full creative potential, is so important. This exciting new partnership between GMIT and DCCI is a real meeting of minds and a story of shared passion for design, making, and the creative development of all of our students.”For more information about DCCI’s Skills & Design courses, visit Design & Crafts Council Ireland Design & Crafts Council Ireland is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. The Design & Craft Council’s activities are funded by the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. The Design & Crafts Council currently has 59-member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients. For more information, visit: www.dcci.ieAbout Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) GMIT delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses at five campuses in the west of Ireland (Dublin Road and Monivea Road in Galway city, Castlebar in Co Mayo, Letterfrack and Mountbellew in Co Galway) supported by its research centres and Innovation Hubs. The institute offers over 100 CAO courses in Agriculture, Business, Computing & Science, Design & Creative Arts, Engineering, Furniture Design & Technology, Hotel & Tourism, Nursing & Social Care, and Outdoor Education, in addition to Springboard upskilling courses and postgraduate courses. After more than 50 years as a higher education institution, GMIT continues to provide a transformative higher educational experience with a community of 700 staff to over 7,000 students. GMIT together with its partners IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT, are currently working towards becoming a Technological University (TU) for the West and North-West of Ireland.

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