New Appointments at CRAFT NI

We’re pleased to announce some new faces at Craft NI following a recruitment process and recent Board meeting.


At a recent Board meeting, James Toland was elected Chair of Craft NI. A sitting Board member, James has already brought a wealth of business and marketing experience to the Board and will continue to do so as Chair. James has been MD of several businesses throughout his career with a strong focus on sales & marketing.

He has served on various boards in the past including the Institute of Directors NI and is a former Chair of the Institute of Directors Education & Skills Committee in Northern Ireland. He has also served as a school governor.

James commented: “I am really looking forward to working with the immensely talented craft makers of Northern Ireland and to growing the range of programmes and supports that Craft NI can provide. We want to work together with the sector to develop craft in Northern Ireland and to create opportunities to exhibit and sell both here and further afield. I particularly wish to see an increased profile for the craft sector here where we can support designers and makers towards a higher level of sustainability”.

The Board expressed their sincere thanks to outgoing Chair Rory Shearer for the work he had done in recent years, particularly during the recent merger of two organisations into Craft NI in 2017. Rory will remain on the Board of Craft NI and will lead a new Craft Advisory Panel to bring expert knowledge in their disciplines to the organisation.

Katherine McDonald 

Katherine McDonald has been appointed Director of Craft NI. Katherine worked for 12 years in lobbying and public relations in Northern Ireland before taking up executive roles in voluntary organisations, including four years as a social enterprise Director in the mental health charity Inspire. Katherine said: “This is a really exciting time for craft in Northern Ireland and I’m looking forward to working with the small team here to support makers and to promote and exhibit the best of Northern Ireland’s contemporary craft. I’m keen to start meeting as many makers here as possible, and we’ll have our first Craft Forum of the year on June 11th, where we can update the sector and start working together.”

For further information contact Katherine McDonald

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