The Contemporary Applied Art course offered me the freedom to build on my past learning experiences. I was really supported by my tutors to progress and develop. My background was in Fine Art Textiles and I saw the Contemporary Applied Art programme as being open and expansive. The course had progress markers built in, in the form of tutorials, giving feedback on progress which I found really valuable.
Doing my degree has increased my confidence and professionalism as an artist. Easy to say but hard to describe how this has impacted all aspects of my practice. I now feel like an artist! I can talk confidently about my work in the context of an emerging artist. I know the pathways forward and have a better view of my opportunities.
At the moment I am preparing to attend the Tresor Contemporary Art fair in Switzerland. Through exposure in college I have been invited to take part in the Discovery section, which hosts emerging artists not yet represented by galleries. This opportunity has allowed me focus on preparing a body of work to showcase in a professional environment in a European market.
CIT CCAD offered a supportive community that gave me experiences and opportunities to make an impact on my future career, professionalising me as an artist.
Practising Artist & Technician
I started off in Fine Art and then swapped over to Ceramics in Second Year, so that I could continue working with clay and learn how to use the wheel more. Because of this change of course I then found myself studying glass as well … an added bonus!
Studying at CCAD helped me to find out a lot about myself, and more importantly what sort of career/lifestyle I want to pursue. It opened a lot of opportunities to travel and to make connections with people from all walks of life, and all parts of the world.
I am currently working as a part-time technician in the CCAD Ceramics Dept. as well as working on my own work, as a practising artist. I am currently based in the Backwater Studios on Wandesford Quay, where I make both glass and ceramic pieces for exhibition, as well as working to commission on a regular basis. The commission based work varies from custom ware for cafes to wedding gifts, which helps to fund the more sculptural work I then make for exhibiting. After going to CCAD I realised that I am happiest when I’m making, and seeing other people enjoy what I make.
Be open to all advice … and criticism. The tutors are there to guide you, they will see things in you that you can’t see. Try as many different things as you can while you have the opportunity, the more skills and techniques you can learn while there, the better.
When the challenge is no longer fun, throw it all in the bin and start something else!
I chose Contemporary Applied Art because the focus on research encourages you to explore and develop new skills. From my first visit to Crawford Art College I felt the creative atmosphere that is created on campus. The extensive facilities available to students and the opportunity to explore new subjects provide an environment to bring out everyone’s true potential.
So far, one of my favourite projects was the Photography self-directed project in Year 2. To cut a long story short my project consisted of exploring the familiar and the unfamiliar with a focus on texture. I achieved this by comparing the differences between animal and human hair. The reason I enjoyed this project was because it pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me to explore this theme through a different medium. This has helped me gain confidence as an artist.
My focus, at the moment is in the next two years to prepare for the year 4 degree show. This showcases each student's journey through their years in Crawford. My current work is exploring nature with the theme of colour and texture. Crawford gives each student the chance to try different things and the guidance and encouragement of lecturers makes you challenge yourself beyond what you thought possible. My aim is to use every opportunity Crawford provides and produce art that makes people stop and think. My ultimate dream would be to have my one of my designs at New York fashion week.
My advice is to work hard and play hard. It is an amazing campus for you to achieve the ultimate student experience and to grow as an artist. Take every opportunity and make it yours.
As Thomas Merton once said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
I initially had an interest in both animation and web design/development so the multidisciplinary nature of Multimedia was very appealing to me.
My time in CIT not only allowed me to nurture my skills in web development, but also gave me experience of everything that goes with it - following briefs, meeting deadlines, taking criticism, and approaching everything with professionalism and care. The projects we were given emulated real world challenges and helped me prepare for the real world of work and my career.
I’m now a marketing developer at Teamwork.com in Cork, where we make business management software to help millions of people worldwide to run all aspects of their business. My role involves front-end development on the company website, as well as any other development needs the marketing team has such as API integrations, data gathering and reporting, and AB testing. Having my work seen by hundreds of thousands of people a month is very rewarding.
If you’re not happy where you are and you can find opportunities elsewhere, go for it! Don’t fall into the trap of worrying about how the business will do without you - it’s your career and you deserve to enjoy it.
If I could go back and choose a different course, I wouldn’t. The friends I made and the skills I developed are invaluable to me.
Prior to CIT, I completed level 5 & 6 in St. John’s Central College where my passion for multimedia/creative digital media was started. Multimedia/Creative Digital Media in CIT was the natural progression for me and the variety of modules allowed me to expand my knowledge.
My final year project was my favourite. It consisted of the design, development and implementation of GRIP, a squeezable controller system to enhance the rehabilitation of the upper extremities of stroke victims. The controller consisted of Arduino, Sensors and Soft-robotics inside a custom 3D printed housing which was used to play a retro styled immersive game. I loved working on this project as it gave me the opportunity to work with multiple technologies and gain knowledge in parts of digital media that I had not used before.
I have an interest in 3D Design, Virtual Reality, UX/UI Design, Interaction Design and App design. In the future I am hoping to get more immersed in 3D design and development and implementing Virtual Reality. I like the idea of mixing multiple types of media, which I think can enhance a person’s life if the interaction is interesting.
I think the best advice I can give to someone coming into the course is simple. If you put in the work, you will get the rewards. Take criticism and ask for advice off your lecturers, they are there to help you succeed, not to see you fail – and enjoy the whole experience.
After a bit of research into what courses were available to me, I felt Creative Digital Media was the closest match to my interests and the subjects I wanted to pursue. These being videography, editing, animation. Also there was the opportunity to learn to use some new software such as After effects and Adobe Premiere Pro just to name a couple.
If I were asked to describe my favourite project I would find it difficult to choose between my first animation project and a group project with involved making a video. The animation project is certainly what I’m most proud of to-date; as it has been quite successful on the international animation festival scene with the highlight being a screening at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood. This was my first attempt ever at making an animation so I was delighted it did so well.
The group video, I was part of was actually for a business module but I like to try to get a video into every module if I can get away with it. Creating this video was certainly the most fun I had while I’ve been in CIT, mainly because I got to work with two of my best friends in college.
I haven’t committed myself fully to exactly what I will do in the future but that is one of the main reasons I like the Creative Digital Media course so much; as it gives you a very broad range of skill sets. I certainly see myself being behind a camera in whatever career I eventually land myself in; whether it be in the field of marketing, TV or possibly film production. I haven’t ruled out starting some business myself either when the time comes, we will just have to wait and see.
My advice to any students thinking of doing a similar course to me is to do some research first into the course. There is a lot of information online go through each of the semesters see what modules are on offer. If they are of interest to you go for it but don’t pick the course if you have no interest or for other reasons such as I would like to work in such a such industry. Bottom line if you don’t have a passion for being creative it is probably not for you.
The course is very enjoyable – and can be hard work at times but ultimately it’s very worthwhile.
Creative Digital Media combines my passion for art and technology into one course. Following my passions has always been important to me.
My favourite project so far has been Melodic Mind – a 3 minute short documentary I made, which explores the effects of creating music on mental health. Cork musicians delved into what creating music does for their mental health, and their mental wellbeing in general. This project was one of my favourites because I am heavily involved in the local music scene, and as someone with mental health issues myself, it has always been a topic of concern. This project allowed me to explore this serious issue within a community close to my heart.
Throw everything you have into the course, it will eventually pay off! Stick to your convictions, but take advice into consideration. Never turn down a creative opportunity, you never know when it might turn into your passion!
CCAD is the right choice for any creative person. It helps to foster creativity while creating a professional, skilled individual ready for the working world!
Illustrator for Marvel Comics
I really wanted to do something creative. Even though I loved art, I knew fine art was not for me, I wanted the variety of media that Multimedia/Creative Digital Media offered.
The lecturers recognised my skill for illustration and let me change the focus of my class so that I could get the most out of it.
I'm currently drawing Spider-Man 2099 for Marvel comics. It basically was my dream job as a kid.
In my experience, the students who make it in illustration or most creative fields, are the ones who have the motivation to do their own projects outside of college hours.
I learned how to work hard and believe in myself during my time studying Multimedia/Creative Digital Media. I left the course with the focus to achieve what I wanted.
I visited CCAD on the annual open day, during my Leaving Certificate year. I chose to pursue Fine art in CCAD, as the size of the year groups and the campus allows students to get to know each other and to enter a community of likeminded students/practitioners and lecturers.
My favourite project was the Professional Practice module, which takes place in the second semester of the third year. This project allowed us, as future practitioners, to get a sense of how to pursue a career in the arts upon leaving CCAD. The module involved talks from representatives from the arts community in Cork as well as members of the corporate sector to give us an insight into establishing as well as financing exhibitions, workshops etc.
It allowed us as a year group to gain the knowledge and experience required to set up our Third year show, which took place at the end of that year.
In the future, I hope to be involved in the arts community in Cork. I am interested in promoting the arts in Cork and would love to be involved with events such as Culture Night etc. Cork is a great platform for the arts and there is always something going on.
My advice is to be open to try every process you can and attend as many exhibitions and artists talks as possible. Events like these allow you to get a sense of what is happening and gain an insight into the work involved in establishing these events.
CIT CCAD is a campus which offers not only an education in the arts but also a community of students who allow the creative process to advance and transform their practices.
The arts have always been an important part of my family life. Whether it is poetry, literature, theatre, music, animation, photography, even film; love of the arts has spanned generations. It is natural therefore, that art has been an integral part of my life. In the beginning of my past career, first in visual and fashion design, I progressed to qualifications in event management, interior and architectural design. After almost two decades in retail management I took the leap by deciding to follow my lifelong dream of returning to full time education in fine art.
To date, my favourite project must be Creation Camp in Shanghai, China this past Summer, called Five Plus One. I am proud to say, I was one of two students chosen to represent Crawford Art College. There were five countries participating over a three-month long immersion process where we exchanged each other’s social and cultural issues, along with learning traditional Chinese crafts, in what was an historic event. We were exposed to the juxtaposition of traditional values of minority groups within Chinese culture versus the new China of modernity; and the binary oppositions of capitalism and tradition.
I hope to continue travelling throughout my education, which I feel is a major part of immersing myself in social and global issues, because I believe that society overall is becoming hybrid. I hope to go onto complete my masters, as I feel I need to continue growing and learning my craft. I also want to continue to volunteer working with disadvantaged, and marginalised members of society the world over through art therapy.
My advice would be to enjoy the process; learn from knowledgeable, talented lecturers; respect, support and learn from your peers. Treat it like a job and go in every day, as it is one of the most important aspects, you get back what you put in. Go to galleries, go to exhibitions, read books, use the library, cut out depending on the internet for research. Make the most of Crawford’s facilities.
As Beckett said, “Fail again, fail better”.
I had always had a passion for making and creativity and decided it was time to pursue this. I applied for the BA Fine Art at the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
I had some really amazing tutors at the Crawford, who have had a very strong influence on my approach to making. They really nurtured and encouraged my instinctual response to materials, and supported me to develop my own language through materiality. As an artist support is vital, and as a recent graduate I continue to be supported in my professional development by the staff at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design.
I am a visual artist because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, (I heart art!)
College maybe tough at times, but the real world is tougher. Enjoy your time in studio because it really is precious, experiment loads and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Visual Artist and Curator
I chose to study Fine Art in CCAD because when I went to visit Crawford I was instantly struck by the friendliness of the staff and students. Also the fact that the course was taught as a multi- disciplinary one throughout the 4 years appealed to me.
It is through Crawford and the people I met during my time there that I have got the opportunities that have brought me to where I am now. The friends that I made in Crawford have gone on to become my collaborators, they have curated my work, I have curated projects alongside some of them, I have been offered shows on suggestions of theirs.
I am a visual artist and curator. I do this because it feels like it is something that I need to do to understand the world around me and my place in it.
Make the most of being in college and learn as much as you can while you are there. Use the facilities! Go to the talks and lectures. Get to know the arts spaces in Cork well. Cork is a great place to quickly become part of the arts community, and to make things happen.
Cork is a brilliant city to be a student in and Crawford is right in the middle of what’s going on. Being in such a supportive and inspiring environment is the best place to dedicate yourself to exploring your interests and making work.
Head of the Art Department in Midleton College
I chose to study Fine Art in the Crawford as it had always been my ideal college in which to continue into third level. The Crawford is synonymous with Cork & as a secondary school Art student I had always visited the degree show exhibitions there, with hopes to one day see my own work on the walls.
The Crawford has shaped me both as an educator and as an artist. The links formed during my time there have helped my career in many ways. As an Art teacher in the local community it is important to retain strong links to the wider art community for the benefit of my students and their exposure to the endless opportunities of art.
As Head of the Art Department in Midleton College, my main focus is to provide my students with as broad an experience as possible within such a vast subject as Art. For me, Art has always been an outlet, somewhere I could express & create. Seeing my students’ growth as young artists and the joy it provides them, is very rewarding.
My advice would be to forget all preconceptions you have about Art school. Go in with an open mind and a willingness to try new things; take risks.
CCAD shaped me as both an artist and as an educator, its strong network of ‘everything art’ both locally and globally is invaluable.
Having worked in the Arts sector for a number of years, I was inspired to return to college to undertake a PME following a period of traveling and teaching English in Asia. I felt that Art Education would afford me the opportunity to share my love of art with young people while supporting them to discover their own creativity.
The PME is a very intense and demanding course. I will freely admit that I found it extremely challenging. However the experience enabled me to recognise my own strengths and I developed a confidence and determination that I have taken with me. My tutors were positive role models offering advice, support and encouragement along the way and I hope that this is something I emulate in my own professional practice.
I feel that the teaching practice experienced throughout my PME equipped me with the skills and knowledge I needed to confidently begin my career in education. After graduating I began working as an art teacher in one of Cork City’s Youthreach centres. As a teacher of art, craft and design my aim is to facilitate and provide my pupils with opportunities to grow as autonomous, creative, motivated and happy individuals who aspire to fulfill their potential. I feel privileged to work in an area which is fulfilling and meaningful to me and which also allows me to draw upon my own creativity.
My advice is to try to find a balance between work and play. If you can give yourself time to recharge, relax and socialise, your health and academic work will thank you for it. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are resources and people available to offer guidance and advice every step of the way.
I feel lucky to have had tutors who were genuinely interested and cared about the arts, education and their students.
I have always had a passion for teaching and helping others and I believe teaching is without doubt my vocation. Having worked as a commercial interior designer I decided that I wanted to take a career break and follow my ultimate goal of studying to become an art teacher where I could have the privilege to combine my love of helping others and my passion for Art, Craft and Design. As a trained Special Needs Assistant I also wanted to further my passion and interest in education through the subject of Art.
My favourite project within the PME course was the Professional Research Paper (PRP), which was carried out within my teaching practice. The study related to the everyday challenges that an art teacher faces within their practice and this work had a beneficial impact on my own practice. I had the opportunity to carry out a variety of research methods and gained an in-depth understanding of the theme of inclusive practice within second level education. I thoroughly enjoyed the study as it has given me a greater insight into the realities behind the topic but also through various findings has provided the opportunity to adapt methodologies to facilitate and support pupils’ individual needs on a daily basis.
I hope to further my art teaching career in the future, when I will aim to work as an art educator within the Irish education system. As learning is a lifelong process I anticipate furthering my education through various Continuous Professional Development courses. Having a qualification in Childhood studies with special needs I have a passion for the area of SEN within second level education. My aim is to complete courses in relation to the area of SEN in order to develop my skills and understanding of the area to the best standard to fully support and facilitate the individual needs of each pupil I work with.
I would advise students to ‘ follow your dreams’ and to take risks within their careers as it was a life-changing experience for me, to undertake the PME programme. The course is an amazing opportunity to develop holistically as a person but also as an educator.
Support, Encouragement and Enthusiasm are the key characteristics displayed by the faculty within the PME programme where they strive to support each and every individual to succeed to their full potential.
I was always interested in art but I didn’t really see a career path in it. What inspired me to do this course was meeting a graphic designer who reignited the passion for art in me, but channelled toward a course that could provide me with stability once I graduated.
One of my favourite projects was creating postcards by mixing photos together for the Creative Tech module. We were supposed to take pictures and make a collage with them in Photoshop to create surreal images. With this project I had the liberty to join two of my favourite things, mythology and photography, to create one of my most successful projects.
Once I finish college I would like to work for one or two design studios for a few years just to see how the industry works and where I fit in it, but eventually I want to open my own design studio. On the side I also want to start up a few business companies unrelated to graphic design.
My advice is to not underestimate your classmates, they will be the people you learn the most from in college. It is so important to talk to other students about their projects and yours, as you will learn new techniques, trends and how to cope with criticism.
For as long as I can remember I loved to create, so finding a course that would let me do just that was very important to me. I wanted to explore all the different areas of design to find something that would really keep me interested and motivated.
Each one of my lecturers played a huge role in who I am now. The level of encouragement and support from everyone made the whole experience so enjoyable – I really couldn’t have done it without them! They encouraged me to go after opportunities like the IDI Graduate Design Awards which I entered and ended up winning. I’m grateful I had them to get me to where I am today.
Currently I’m working as an illustrator for Wavebreak Media who are one of the world’s top producers in stock imagery. The images I create for this company are now some of the top sellers in the Adobe stock site. I love this job because my creativity is always challenged and each day brings something new. Outside of work I like to give time to my personal projects. I’m exhibiting at the moment at different and unusual venues, which allow my work to reach many and varied audiences.
My advice is to have fun! Use this time to explore all the different areas of design and then find the one that makes you excited to create every day. Once you find that there will be no stopping you.
Take advantage of all the opportunities that will come your way!
Creative Director of my own Branding Agency
I chose the course because the area of graphic design and commercial illustration had always interested me as a secondary school student and I wanted to develop my knowledge of design as well as my own style of illustration, in a practical, project-based environment.
Staff at CIT were very supportive of me pursuing projects that came from my own passions, while studying there, as long as I was staying on top of my core project work. I developed a lot of interests and skills as a result of this, all of which I have carried through to my work today. I still operate in this way – pursuing my own projects while making sure the work I carry out for my customers is done on time to a professional standard and within budget.
I am now Creative Director of a branding agency I established called Visible Inc.
I assist businesses to develop their brand through the implementation of professional visual communication strategies across a range of print and web platforms. My graphic artworks have been exhibited and sold throughout Ireland and the UK in both group and solo shows. As well as this, I create large-scale graphic artworks for corporate office spaces at home and abroad. In 2015 I launched a home furnishing collection in collaboration with Scatterbox, and I am currently working on extending this collection further. I also have a number of picturebooks in development.
My advice is use your time at CIT, as well as the experience and advice of the staff, to pursue, explore and develop your individual passions. This is what will help you to stand out from the crowd when you graduate while also clarifying the direction you want to go with your design skills.
I loved every minute of my time at CIT CCAD. I now work in my dream job, all thanks to the advice, support and encouragement I received while studying and developing my graphic design skills at CIT CCAD.