Sligo Design Week incubated as part of the year-long Irish Design 2015 programme, which set out to promote the work of Ireland’s designers and makers on an international stage. ID2015 sought to build on Ireland’s history of producing fine craft and a growing appreciation of the impact of good design on everyday life, from the influx of beautifully appointed new cafés popping up across the country to the popularity of studio-slash-boutiques like Dublin’s Indigo & Cloth, selling the wares of artisan makers and small independent companies.
An initiative many years in the making, ID2015 championed more than 2,000 Irish designers through over 600 projects, including exhibitions which travelled across Europe and the United States. The result was a palpable increase in excitement about Irish craft, both throughout the general population and the design community, within the country and internationally. Suddenly, publications like The New York Times and Elle Decoration were writing articles about the Irish designers to watch, and the island at Europe’s periphery was peripheral no longer.
Indeed, Ireland’s supposed remoteness has now become both a selling point and a catalyst for creativity. The western fringes of the country – particularly County Sligo – have become a hotbed of innovation, their wildness and beauty attracting artists and makers of all disciplines. And with ID2015 over and the world waiting to see what comes next for Irish design, Sligo Design Week’s ‘Design on the Edge’ programme is seeking to answer that question – or at the very least to get people thinking.
With the aim of ‘linking creativity with commerce, technology and community in the north-west of Ireland’, expect seven days of inspiring events, from workshops teaching creatives how to engage most fruitfully with social media to a ‘Spray Paint + Beats’ night, featuring Belfast-based street artist Friz and Sligo illustrator, graphic designer and photographer Nooneboy. Successful Sligo-based makers like Ashleigh Smith of The Atlantic Equipment Project will share insights on how to make a design-led business flourish, and a networking evening at a secret location will allow up-and-coming talents to meet like-minded people and pick the brains of those in the know.
📅 Sligo Design Week will run from November 7-13, 2016. See their website for individual event details.