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Belfast School of Art
University of Ulster, York Street, Belfast, BT15 1ED
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About the Event

Our region has a wealth of talent and this event celebrates emerging and established designers from a variety of design disciplines, some of whom have moved back to set up successful businesses, some who have chosen our region to set up their business and others who have represented Ulster in design internationally. We have invited them to the Art College to provide a series of inspirational talks.

Introduction by Joris Minne


Stephen Kinkaid - Big Wet Fish / Kevin Callaghan - Artist / Jude Cassidy - Textile Designer / Billy May - Speed Motion Pictures / Michael Rice - Ceramicist / Ciaran Murray - Creative Metric/ Karla McNally - Bill & Coo Paper Co. / Fintan Mulholland - Fintan Mulholland Knitwear / Helen Kane - Ilse Jewellery / Alan Ritchie - C60 / 

Speakers Bios:

Stephen Kinkaid

Stephen graduated with a Computer Science Degree from QUB in 1992 and went on to become a teacher having worked in Glengormley High School, Carrickfergus Grammar School and Carrickfergus College. He started Big Wet Fish as a hobby in his spare time and it quickly grew into something that could not longer be maintained part time. Stephen left teaching in 2012 to work at Big Wet Fish full time and the rest is history! BWF now services over 6000 clients in over 50 countries with 8 local technical and sales staff working from Kilroot Business Park in Carrickfergus'.

Kevin Callaghan

Kevin Callaghan's work investigates ideas and conjectures about Utopian philosophy and science fiction. He wants to question and address the limitations of the human condition, revealing the simplicity of how we all travel consciously or unconsciously through the third and fourth dimensions of time and space. These conceptual goals directly reference his concerns with how and where science and the visual experience of art and design meet.

Kevin completed am MA at the Royal College of Art in 2013. He currently lives in London were he runs intense explorative sculpture workshops with The London Sculpture Workshop, he also produces his work there and acts as a technician: Kevin also has a small ceramic studio in east London. 2015 has been a busy year for the artist, showing at the London Art Fair and the Saatchi Gallery with Cynthia Corbett Gallery and the Young Maters Art Prize. His most recent show “What is Luxury” with Unknown Fields Division and Toby Smith at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which continues to receive extensive press worldwide with article in the Guardian and the New York Times. He is also in a touring show “Fresh Talent” with Irish Design 2015 in Dublin and Sligo. Current shows include “GLOBALE: Infosphere” ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe, Germany and Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven, Holland with Unknown Fields Division and Toby Smith

Recent Collection:

The Victoria and Albert Museum “Rare Earthenware” with Unknown Fields Division
The Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea, Conran and Partners Architects

Jude Cassidy

Having started her business in 2009, her first collaboration was with The Merchant, since Jude has worked with other worldwide hotels as well as Christian Dior retail shops and well-known interior designers, including Peter Marino, David Collins and Helen Green.A First Class Honours Graduate in textile design from the Glasgow School of Art, Jude developed her design skills working in Paris, London and Thailand. Reflecting back on the rich heritage of Irish hand weaving, linen is at the heart of her latest collection. The material is designed and produced in her studio in Saintfield and uses a variety of yarns, including linen, cashmere and silk, with a neutral yet rich palette of greys and silvers.

Billy May

Billy was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in the USA where he studied Outdoor Education and Environmental Sciences in the Blue Ridge Mountains. After moving to Northern Ireland in 2005, he worked for several years in various small jobs before investing in a digital camera and following his passion for photography into the wedding industry. It wasn’t long before he realized that rather than photography, his true love was actually videography, and along with his wife, set up an extremely successful videography company called Marryokes. Four years on, Marryokes has filmed for huge companies such as ITV, Virgin and Diageo, as well as filming high-end weddings in Sri Lanka, New York, Italy, Paris and Las Vegas to name a few. Billy has also partnered with a fellow cinematographer Damien Gallagher in the founding of Speed Motion Films, a small production house here in Belfast specializing in corporate videos, action music videos, aerial cinematography and TV shows.

Michael Rice

Michael Rice is an Irish Artist who specializes in Ceramics. He is interested in firing procedures such as Raku, Smoke and Saggar firing; his work is concerned with gestalt principals and archetypal forms. Michael has a Degree in Fine Craft Design, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Masters Degree in Multi Disciplinary Design. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and his work has recently been selected for the Taiwan Ceramic Biennale 2016. Michael lives and works in Dubai where he is an Associate Professor of Sculpture in the American University of Dubai.

Ciaran Murray

I've worked in pretty much every role within the digital industry in the past two decades, including web designer, programmer, project manager, copywriter and business development. However my true strengths lie in creative thinking and strategy. I love adding value above the line.

I am the co-founder of Belfast based agency, Fresh Made Media where I worked for several years helping clients with bespoke web-apps, websites and all things digital. I have designed and developed my own unique Content Management platform which is still in use.

In 2015 I setup Creative Metrics, a digital consultancy which looks beyond website development and focuses on inspiring engagement with their audiences through content, creative marketing and social channels.

I am also a passionate comedy writer, satirist and published author, best known as the writer of Pure Derry and co-writer of The Ulster Fry. In 2015 I was delighted to receive the award of Northern Ireland Digital Business Person of the Year from Digital Advertising NI. I had a beard before hipsters came along and spoiled it for everyone.

Karla McNally

Karla McNally is a multi-award winning Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Northern Ireland. After graduating from Ulster University with a degree in Design for Visual Communication she packed up her bags and moved to Louisville, Kentucky taking up residence at the impeccable Brand House Mindsalt, she then moved on to Vancouver, Canada before finally returning to Northern Ireland. In 2015 Karla founded Bill & Coo Paper Co, a stationery brand and design studio situated in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

Fintan Mulholland

Fintan Mulholland exhibits his unique vision through Knitwear design in an organic way. Signature designs are recognized by their sculptural knits, striking silhouettes, subtle patterns and exquisitely handcrafted finishes. 

All materials used as the starting point for the designs to take shape in the most natural way. The designs are made using natural yarns such as lambswool, alpaca, merino, cashmere and mainly produced in Ireland. 

With this unique approach Fintan Mulholland creates high quality knitwear pieces as well as timeless design. Fintan Mulholland mixes his unique aesthetic, authenticity with the true art of craftsmanship represented in collections which sit within the slow-fashion movement.

Alan Ritchie

Alan studied at the Queens University, Belfast and worked in London with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) for four years before joining C60 Architects and Town Planners, as a Director, in 2014. He has worked on a range of residential and mixed-use projects, leading multi-disciplinary teams on technically challenging and complex projects throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

While working with LDS, Alan played a vital role in development at Stratford, including the design and construction phases for two of the residential blocks within the London 2012 Olympic Games, Athletes Village. He also had the unique position of leading a team as Head Overlay Architect for the Olympic Village in Stratford for LOCOG as part of Team Populous, which designed temporary infrastructure and overlay for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Alan is a Certified Passive House Designer, and develops C60 Architects and Town Planners environmental and sustainable design policy.

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