Innovation Boost

Innovation Boost

Supported by the Creative Industries Innovation Fund, Craft NI’s ‘Innovation Boost’ programme is coming to a close. The programme is designed to support mid-career designer-makers in NI whose craft businesses could do with a boost whether in their creative process, design innovation or product sales.

Nine makers were selected to receive direct innovation support, with all craft/designer-makers invited to attend a series of innovation seminars in Jan/Feb 2015.

The Innovation Boost programme has three strands:

1. Design Development Mentoring

2. Contextual Talks with well established makers designed to inspire makers

3. Business Focussed Mentoring

Craft NI is hosting an end-of-project Exhibition from 7th-13th March 2015 at North Down Museum of the new ideas / new work in progress developed by the makers on Innovation Boost programme. More information HERE.

The legacy for the programme will be a peer networking support group to continue meeting after the initial programme has finished.



Innovation Boost Participants

Following a call for participants during Summer 2014, Craft NI has selected 9 mid-career designer-makers onto the programme, as follows:

  • Jude Cassidy,Textile Designer. Innovation Boost: Jude worked on her digital marketing strategy and branding / packaging for her retail textiles ranges. Read More.
  • Michelle Butler, Ceramicist. Innovation Boost: Michelle worked with a specialist mentor to develop her product range, and redesign her branding. Read More.
  • Scott Benefield, Glassblower. Innovation Boost: Scott worked with a business mentor as well as accessing specialist engineering advice and support, and time management. Read More.
  • Elin Johnston, Jewellery Designer. Innovation Boost: Elin worked on her branding and digital marketing strategy for her new range of retail jewellery. Read More.
  • Katie Brown, Textile Designer. Innovation Boost: Katie worked on her digital marketing strategy and will receive specialist mentoring for launching her new interiors collection. Read More.
  • Sheena Devitt, Stone Letter Carver. Innovation Boost: Sheena undertook product development and research with a specialist mentor, and will work on her branding / marketing for a new product range. Read More.
  • Keith Sheppard, Kiln-formed Glass Maker. Innovation Boost: Keith worked with a business mentor to develop his plan to build a craft gallery, retail outlet and studio space. Read More.
  • Avril Manderson, Jewellery Designer. Innovation Boost: Avril worked on her branding, digital marketing strategy and developing her product range. Read More.
  • Ellen Cunningham, Ceramicist. Innovation Boost: Ellen worked on her branding / packaging and developing her digital marketing strategy. Read More.

Participants were appointed a mentor / mentors to work with them on a one-to-one basis for 15 hours spread across 4 months.

View a video Montage of images of work by the makers profiled in the end-of-project exhibition HERE (video by Vizz Creative)


Innovation Boost opportunities for the wider Craft/Designer-Maker Community

Craft NI also ran an Innovation Boost Seminar Programme (Jan/Mar 2015) aiming to inspire designer-makers by including motivating seminars that are relevant to the topics being explored by the selected makers on the Innovation Boost programme. Craft NI are sharing presentations from the seminars as we receive them. Find all Innovation Boost seminar presentations HERE.