Digital Transformation Case Study

Cork Craft & Design, Ireland’s largest social enterprise for craftspeople, has launched its exciting 2020 programme for Cork Craft Month this August. Celebrating contemporary Irish craft, over 50 masterclasses, craft trails, demonstrations, conversations and product launches, as well as virtual behind-the-scenes exhibitions, open studio tours and family-friendly activities are planned to date across the month, with an 80% increase in online events. Up to 90% of events will be free with details available on Cork Craft & Design’s new website

Highlights include a special 31-day programme of virtual free events, with one Cork Craft & Design member committing to run a virtual demonstration/studio tour each day throughout August. These will range from a Raku firing demonstration from ceramist Brendan Ryan to a furniture making showcase from furniture maker Cian O’Driscoll and will be available to view on the Makers’ social pages. 

With a focus on sustainability, the annual Cork Craft & Design Showcase Exhibition is to take place this year for the first time in Ballydehob. Glass artist and poet Michael Ray will open the event — featuring 19 makers’ pieces, all available for sale — at the Working Artist Studios on Main Street on 31 July. The exhibition will create a visual dialogue between craftspeople, makers and designers to celebrate and encourage environmentally sustainable practices in the Irish craft sector.  

Speaking on the launch, Maeve Murphy, Operations Manager of Cork Craft Month said: “Every year, Cork Craft Month shines a light on the exceptional craft tradition in Ireland and applauds the amazing work our makers across Cork do.  We continue to do this in 2020, and have curated a rich and varied programme featuring the makers — from basket makers to ceramists; book binders to illustrators — who inspire, engage and excite with their work. However, there is still time left for makers to register their events, which can be done by simply visiting

“The core programme will be digital, which can be explored at However, there will be a number of physical events that will take place in line with health and safety guidelines. Cork Craft & Design’s shop at 27a St Patrick’s Mills in Douglas will also serve as an exhibition space throughout the festival. This is a year unlike any other, a year where the arts has witnessed profound challenges. We are therefore asking everyone to join us in August as we celebrate the exceptional creativity of the acclaimed Cork craft makers.” 

Continuing its commitment to promoting and nurturing the work of up and coming makers, graduating students of CIT Crawford College, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa and St Johns Central College will debut their work at an exhibition in The Gallery @ No.46. Running from 6 – 28 August, Emerge will celebrate the work of these graduating makers and embrace them as part of the community of Irish craft and design.

In a first for Cork Craft Month, Cork Craft & Design members and English Market food traders are to collaborate on the synchronicities between both craft industries. The initiative led by Diane Keating from The Chocolate Shop will see a Cork Craft & Design maker pair with a stallholder from the acclaimed market — such as Maki Sushi Rolls, the first sushi hand roll shop in Ireland and chef turned designer Martin Horgan with his Wu Tong sticks — for a collaboration activated across their respective social media platforms. 

There will also be a collaboration with Craft Northern Ireland and Cork Craft Month for the first time, with a selected member from each organisation set to visit the other’s region and exhibit their work in August there. 

Poet, editor and essayist, Theo Dorgan will launch the annual West Cork Createsexhibition virtually on 8 August at 1pm. Inspired by Dorgan’s poignant poem Harvest Moon — which he wrote and dedicated to Seamus Heaney on the second anniversary of his death — the work by 37 local artists and craftspeople has been created in response to the theme ‘Harvest’. The exhibition runs until 14 September on with all works available for sale.

Among the workshops will be three sessions on Basket Making programmed to run during Heritage Week at Levis’ Bar, Ballydehob. These will include Star Making (20 August), Willow Platters (21 August) and Flower Frame (22 August). The Blackwater Valley makers will be hosting a series of events throughout Cork Craft Month — including upcycling by Patti O’Leary; woodturning by Charley McCarthy; and glass working by Suzanne O’Sullivan — along with an exhibition of Narcissus 2019 by visual artist Rosalind Spencer, which featured in the 2019 RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition. 

There will be a self-guided walking trail of Makers and Creatives in Clonakilty from Green Dot – Irish Design Makers; while Gavin Buckley of Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen will interview four makers from west Cork — Jim Turner, Michael Ray and Katherine Standen, who all use clay in their work; and fibre textile designer Anne Harrington Rees — on the qualities of material and form in their work. 

The programme for Cork Craft Month is available at and will be updated with new events over the coming weeks. Follow Cork Craft on Facebook at @corkcraftmonth and Instagram at @corkcraftmonth. #corkcraftmonth20

Cork Craft Month is supported by Local Enterprise Office, Design & Crafts Council Ireland, Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Fáilte Ireland, the Creative Ireland programme /Clár Éire Ildánach, Cork Education and Training Board, Crawford College of Art & Design and The Gallery at No. 46 Grand Parade with media partner, RedFM. 

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