Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

PQ No. 24 – 26th February – Supporting Irish Design 2015 via our overseas networks

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the role his Department and the embassy network are playing regarding the Year of Irish Design 2015 which is aiming to promote and support Irish craft and design at home and abroad.
– Seán Kyne.

Reply: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan:

Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) emerged as an idea from the Global Irish Economic Forum convened by my Department in 2013. My Department is committed to the success of this excellent initiative with a global reach. ID2015 aims to create 1800 jobs and 200 new businesses by promoting Ireland as a hub for design excellence and by encouraging investment in design as a key component of competitiveness and innovation.

My Department is represented on the steering group of Irish Design 2015. ID2015 is convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland.  President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is Patron of ID2015.

Since work on this initiative began in early 2014, my Department has facilitated contact between the ID2015 team and the Embassy network. At the request of the ID2015 team, my Department also facilitated and funded the display of ‘Weathering’, an exhibition of contemporary Irish craft and design in the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing, during President Higgins’ State visit to China in December 2014, as a means of raising awareness of Irish design in that country.

The programme for ID2015 will see significant flagship events in eight design capitals during 2015, viz. Chicago, Eindhoven, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Shenzhen/Hong Kong and Tokyo.  Events include Milan and Dutch Design Weeks, the London Festival of Architecture (where Ireland is the inaugural country of focus), London Fashion Week, the London Design Festival, the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Hong Kong/Shenzhen.  The Embassy network is working closely with the ID2015 team on these events.

Aside from the flagship events overseas, the ID2015 team is also working with our Embassy network to plan smaller events to celebrate Irish Design in a further 26 destinations around the globe.

The ID2015 team is currently finalising the production of a ‘capsule exhibition’ for use by the Embassy network.  This portable exhibition will showcase the best of Irish design across the breadth of design disciplines and will link Irish Design to events in international cities globally. My Department has advised on logistics and agreed to facilitate the transportation of this exhibition to the Embassy network. The Embassy network will use this exhibition to raise awareness of Irish design among key players in the design and associated sectors overseas.

The Embassy network will also make full use of the unique opportunity afforded by St Patrick’s Day events worldwide to deliver key messaging on Ireland as a design hub.

The Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., has been very supportive of ID2015, promoting it strongly to Irish communities overseas.

“We Built this City” is an initiative with a strong diaspora focus which will aim to tell the story of how cities are created, connecting the Irish diaspora and celebrating the contribution Irish people have made to the construction, design, and development of the built environment from historic to contemporary times.  This initiative will feature in London, New York and Chicago.

My Department has also agreed to promote the ‘Global Irish Design Challenge’, to be launched next month, targeted at the Irish Diaspora worldwide.  Designers who have Irish lineage or a strong affiliation to Ireland will be invited to design a 2D or 3D object that reflects their interpretation of contemporary Ireland. The call for entries will run from March–September 2015 and a high-profile international panel of experts will assess submitted entries, with the ambition that the top entries will form part of a touring exhibition in 2016 to coincide with the 1916 centenary celebrations.

I can assure the Deputy of my Department’s strong commitment to the success of Irish Design 2015.