UU graduates exhibit as part of creative team in Makers House

Ulster University graduates from Belfast School of Art are set to showcase their work in Makers House at The Designerie.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 6:00 am

The new partnership feels like a natural evolution for the Bushmills centre. A social enterprise, which is operated by Enterprise Causeway, The Designerie is committed to supporting small businesses in the arts and creative sector.

Delighted to welcome the creative talent that Belfast School of Art have nurtured in their business journey, the team at The Designerie and Makers House will now support them as they showcase their work.

The first graduates will be Bethan McDonnell and Gillian Brownlow. Their textile and fashion designs will be a welcome addition to the already diverse offer in Makers House and they join the established team of Linen Lane, Laura McIlveen Photography, Susan Francesca Hunter, Fee McToal Design and of course Taylor Yates.

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Leeanne Irwin, Business Manager at The Designerie, Jackie Smyth, Career Development Consultant at Ulster University, Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive at Enterprise Causeway and Louise O'Boyle Acting Head of School at Belfast School of Art at Ulster University

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Enterprise Causeway, said: “The collaboration with Ulster University is hugely exciting and brings yet another cohort of creatives – this time with a focus on up and coming talent. This fits so perfectly with our purpose.”

The collaboration reflects Ulster University’s commitment to student and graduate employability and the growth of support initiatives for further developing enterprise and self-employment as viable career options.

Jackie Smyth, Ulster University Careers Consultant, continued: “The development of the residency programme for graduates is reflective of the changing economic landscape that many of our graduates will enter and this is a great example of the support programmes now in place for those seeking self-employment opportunities.”

Louise O’Boyle, Head of School, Belfast School of Art, has championed this collaboration due to the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the creative sector. She continued: “Our graduates will really benefit from this additional support and will thrive in this creative environment.

Bethan McDonnell's work which is being displayed in Makers House within The Designerie

“The Designerie is a beautiful space and has such really lovely, interesting products in it. For the graduates to be able to speak to the buying public in a very different type of workplace will be invaluable for them.”

Louise is looking forward to the mentorship Enterprise Causeway will provide the team in terms of business acumen/support and with the retail environment Makers House provides and the skills of the creatives and team on site ‘you couldn’t have asked for a better launch pad’ for our graduates.

Leeanne Irwin, Business Manager at The Designerie, added: “The graduates will gain valuable experience from the established team in Makers House from product development to making your pieces commercially viable. This will include merchandising and engaging with customers. It will help them showcase their products to a wide range of customers and ensure they are able to grow their business. All in the supportive environment of The Designerie where the team are always on hand for advice.”

This will be great news for The Designerie’s customers, the new addition of creatives to Makers House will give more options in terms of products and of course they’ll be able to meet the people behind the products and talk to them about their creative journey.

Gillian Brownlow's work which is being displayed in Makers House within The Designerie

The Chief Executive of Enterprise Causeway, Ms Taggart said this was the next step in the evolution of The Designerie, with the £4m investment in regenerating The Old Court House to a new state of the art creative space, on the horizon it’s very exciting times for all concerned.

The Designerie has established itself as a destination for the customer looking for something special and unique and the Ulster University graduates will get to be part of this incredible journey.

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