Design Kilkenny

Design Kilkenny


How Kilkenny is positioned to drive future design excellence

Building on the legacy of design in Kilkenny, this conference will celebrate the strong history of design in Kilkenny, and its associations and cast an eye on how this rich legacy could contribute to the future of design in Kilkenny.

Focused on reinforcing Kilkennys’ historical design history and interrogating how this legacy establishes Kilkenny as the unambiguous location of the future Design Centre in Ireland.


Date 18.11.22 Time 9:30

Venue Kilkenny Castle Parade Tower, Kilkenny

To Reserve your place visit:


Please note we are recording this event. The purpose of the recording is for use in future Design Kilkenny promotional material.




9:00am Pre event photography & refreshments
9:30am Event commences with welcome speeches & book launch 10:15am Past Panel Discussion with Q&A
11:00am Tea, Coffee & Refreshments served
11:30am Future Panel Discussion with Q&A
12:30pm Event wrap up
1:00pm Lunch is served & video interviews


Speakers at this conference will include:

Mary V. Mullin

Founder Member of the Crafts Council of Ireland.

Mary Mullin worked at Kilkenny Design Workshops between 1967 and 1978.

She is currently Chairman of the Sir Misha Black Awards for Distinguished Services to Design Education, based at the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, London;  Trustee of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, the INSPIRE Trust  and Regional Adviser to the World Design Organisation – WDO.      She served as  Secretary General of the International Council of Graphic Design (ICOGRADA now ICO-D) for just fourteen years and as a founding Trustee for  the ICOGRADA Foundation.  She was the first woman to be elected to the Board of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design and served as Vice President. She developed the Interdesign Programme for ICSID and advised on events in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, Serfaus and Vienna (Austria), Belgium, Canada, Mexico.



She was, and remains as, a Founder Member of the Crafts Council of Ireland.  She is a Trustee of the Wexford Festival Opera Foundation UK.  She was Founding Director of the National Centre of Culture and Arts in Dublin (now the Museum of Modern Art).  She has been a consultant for UNIDO in Latin America.  She served as National Chairman of the Design and Industries Association in the UK and as a Director of the British Professional Conference Organisers Association.  She ran her own consultancy practice in design and special event management in London from 1981 to 1998.  Clients included the ‘Boilerhouse’ at the V&A, the precursor of the Design Museum; Science Museum; Design Research Unit and other leading design practices and commercial clients..


She is an Hon. Fellow of the Royal College of Art, The University of the Arts in Bournemouth the International Society of Typographic Design and Honorary Life Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), London.    She was awarded the Bi-Centenary Medal of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) “for encouraging and Promoting Design Across Education and Industry’, the first Irish person to receive this medal.


Mary Ann Bolger

Lecturer in design history and Head of Media Arts in the School of Media,

Mary Ann Bolger is a lecturer in design history and Head of Media Arts in the School of Media, TU Dublin. She received her doctorate, on mid-twentieth century Irish graphic design and typography, from the Royal College of Art, London. She wrote the monograph Design Factory: On the Edge of Europe (Dublin: Lilliput & Amsterdam: BIS, 2009). Mary Ann is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Design History, has served on the Professional Panel of the 100Archive and is a judge on both Professional and Graduate Awards at the Institute of Designers in Ireland.  Mary Ann represented Ireland as country delegate to the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) from 2005 to 2022. With Clare Bell, Mary Ann programmes the TU Dublin/GradCAM research group Typography Ireland.



Mark Duncan

Historian and research consultant. A co-founder of the InQuest Research Group

Mark Duncan is a historian and research consultant. A co-founder of the InQuest Research Group he has spent over two decades designing and managing large-scale research projects for clients in the media, Government and the voluntary and private sectors. He has authored and co-authored numerous reports, reviews, exhibitions and books, including The Irish Farmers Journal: A History (forthcoming, 2022); Creating Ireland: Research & the Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences (2014); The GAA: A People’s History (2009). A former Director of the GAA Oral History Project at Boston College-Ireland, he has also acted as Head of Research for RTÉ Current Affairs on abroad array of programming, including election results coverage and major state events. He is currently a Director of the multi-award winning Century Ireland project, based at Boston College-Ireland.


Tom Watts

Head of Design at Design & Crafts Council


Tom heads up the design department at DCCI, the government agency with responsibility for advocating on behalf of designers and makers in Ireland.

Carol Gibbons

Divisional Manager and Head of Regions and Local Enterprise, for Enterprise Ireland

Carol Gibbons is Divisional Manager and Head of Regions and Local Enterprise, for Enterprise Ireland, a Government Agency responsible for the growth of Irish-owned businesses in global markets.

Prior to this, Carol held a number of senior sector positions, spanning a 20-year career across Government Agencies.  Before her time in Ireland Carol spent a number of years working in Research and Development in London and the U.S. with a view to commercialising research.

Carol has considerable experience in a variety of industry sectors, most notably the ICT sector, where she has worked directly with some of Ireland’s best-known ICT brands, from very early stage startup companies, right through to globally trading multi-national ICT businesses.

Carol was a Senior Investment Advisor and has managed a portfolio of clients in Enterprise Ireland’s commercial evaluation division and Enterprise Ireland’s equity department, one of the largest equity portfolios in Europe, in terms of deal flow.

Aoife Murphy

Director Ingredients at Tirlán (formally Glanbia Ireland)

Aoife has 20 years of experience in the Food Industry working with major multinational companies in both Technical & Commercial roles. Prior to joining Glanbia in 2009, Aoife worked with Kerry Group in a number of business units across Food & Ingredients in Ireland, the UK and The Netherlands within Commercial & Technical functions. Aoife has held a number of senior roles within Glanbia’s commercial function; Aoife is currently the Director of Ingredients with Tirlán (formally Glanbia Ireland), a role she has held since 2018.

Aoife holds a BSc in Microbiology from UCD and DBS from Smurfit Business School

Fiona Chambers

Senior Lecturer at University College Cork and President of AIESEP the International Association for Research in Physical Education in Higher Education.

Fiona is an educational visionary and an academic leader who uses a human-centred, problem-solving mindset (design thinking) to innovate and radically reimagine teaching, research and civic engagement.


She is the Head of the School of Education,  a Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at University College Cork; a Design Thinking Coach (licensed by the Hasso Plattner Institute); a Design Sprint Coach; a Programme Co-Director of the PGDip in Innovation through Design Thinking; and the current elected President of AIESEP the International Association for Research in Physical Education in Higher Education.

In 2020, she founded the Global Design Challenge for Sport and Physical Activity – an innovation engine that uses design thinking to crowdsource ideas for incubation and impact.  This worldwide competition enjoys UNESCO patronage.

Elisa Luoto

Cofounder and CEO of Young Finnish Design.

Cofounders Heidi Maria Huovinen and Elisa Luoto are furniture designers and interior architects, MA from Aalto University, Finland. During their master studies, Huovinen and Luoto realized that it is difficult for young designers to find work and collaboration partners especially in the beginning of their career and they decided to solve the problem. At the moment Young Finnish Design is a design office consisting of emerging designers combining bright innovative ideas with reliable project management. YFD offers design services for companies in the industry sector.

Richard Curran

Journalist, broadcaster and author at RTE

Our event MC will be Richard Curran.

A journalist, broadcaster and author, he is the presenter of The Business radio show on RTE Radio One and a columnist with the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent. He has worked in business journalism through TV, radio, print and online for 29 years. He is a former business editor of the Irish Independent and former deputy editor of The Sunday Business Post. He has co-written two books, one on Irish entrepreneurs and the other on the multi-billion euro collapse of Irish Nationwide Building Society. He has also made several television documentaries for RTE including, Future Shock: Property Crash in 2007 and The Battle For Rural Ireland in 2015.