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Design West Programme with Design Skillnet

June 15th-28th 2 weeks
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ATU Connemara campus in the beautiful village of Letterfrack in Co. Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland.

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Design West Summer School

Experience design on the Wild Atlantic Way.


Design Skillnet is delighted to offer  co-funding of 25% of the Design West programme fee for eligible candidates*.

This co-funding is available on both the full two-week programme fee and on the one-week packages. See below for details.


Full two-week programme

Design West is an international summer design school located at the ATU Connemara campus in the beautiful village of Letterfrack in Co. Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland. 


For two weeks this summer, from June 15th to June 28th, 2024, participants will get the opportunity to work with leading International and Irish designers from renowned studios. 


Unplugging from our hectic everyday working lives—commuting, cell phones, deadlines, media saturation—participants will immerse themselves in the wild and rugged Connemara landscape and use it both as a mode of research and as a source of inspiration.


Week 1 from June 15th

Focus: exploration and discovery, walking as research, field trips and developing your concept.

Includes opening dinner on Saturday 15th June (optional) and a free day on Sunday 16th.

Workshops from Monday 17th June

Check-out: Saturday 22nd before 11am (if booked for just one week) 


Week 2 from June 23rd

Focus: making week: students will spend all week on campus in workshops, working towards the pop-up exhibition on Friday 28th.

Includes Sunday 23rd (Free day), pop-up exhibition on Friday and closing dinner on Friday 28th June.

Workshops from Monday 24th 

Check out: Saturday 29th before 11am



Two-week full programme:

  • Member Rate, 25% (€495) co-funded: €1,485  
  • Non Members: €1980


One week package

  • Member Rate, 25% (€275) co-funded: €825
  • Non Members: €1100


Apply for Design West




Summer is a time for exploration and discovery, for meeting new people and taking on new challenges. It is also a time to get away from the grind of ‘the everyday’ and to reflect upon one’s role and purpose as a designer. Design West offers the perfect environment for studying design in a non-urban environment—away from the noise of the city and the pressures of deadlines. Students will participate in a two-week programme of discovery, learning, reflection, adventure and making.


Design West will take place from June 15-28, 2024.

The programme facilitates both individual and collaborative approaches to the making of 2D and 3D design expressions, including visual communication, installations, abstract and environmental design.


International facilitators





Thonik is the Amsterdam-based collective of designers, led by designers Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven

Speciality: visual communication, graphic identity, interaction and motion design.


Find out more

Gail Anderson





Gail Anderson is Chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts and creative director at Visual Arts Press. Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the US Postal Service and the advisory boards of Poster House and The One Club for Creativity. AIGA Medalist, the 2018 recipient of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a 2022 Art Directors Club Manship Medallion honoree. 


Specialty: design, illustration and visual art


Find out more


BRANKICA Harvey and Kenneth Deegan Pentagram




Brankica is a seasoned design visionary with over two decades of experience, notably as an Associate Partner at New York’s prestigious Pentagram. 


Specialty: brand systems, print, packaging, digital, and environmental signage.

Find out more


Ken is a multifaceted designer with expertise who spent over 12 years as an Associate Partner at Pentagram New York and has collaborated with prestigious clients, including Nike, Samsung, Cooper Hewitt, Rizzoli, Calendly, Grace Farms, OPPO, and lululemon. Ken’s creative journey spans across distinguished studios in Dublin, London, and New York, leading to co-founding Associate in 2023.

Specialty:  identity, print design, environment, strategy, and technology.

Find out more


Conor Clarke Factory





Course Leader, Conor Clarke is a Director of Design Factory, an award-winning design studio based in Dublin. He has served as a board member of the Institute of Creative Advertising and Design, and the Institute of Designers in Ireland. His work has featured in international publications such as Who’s Who in Graphic Design, Graphis, Novum Gebrauchsgrafik and the New York Art Directors Club Annual. He was the recipient of the Catherine Donnelly Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to design in Ireland, at the 2019 ICAD Awards.


Find out more

Colin Farmer and Noelle Coope Unthink




Unthink is a design studio, who are inquisitive, open minded, and approach every new project with a deep curiosity, free from any preconceived ideas. This process allows them to create unique and effective design outputs.

Specialty: visual communications with many projects at the intersection of architecture and design.


Find out more

Or Studio Kate Brangan and Jo Little





Studio Or is an award-winning design and risograph print studio based in Dublin.

Specialty: exploring design in the context of risograph printing.

Find out more


ATU team Susan Rogers and Paul Leamy



Paul Leamy

Paul is Head of Centre at the Atlantic Technological University Connemara.

Specialty: design and technology education related to furniture and wood products


Susan Rogers

Susan is a lecturer in design and education at the Atlantic Technological University Connemara. 

Specialty: Visual Communication

Find out more



Connemara road

The course will take place at the ATU Connemara campus in Letterfrack, Co. Galway, Ireland. The facilities include CAD, CNC technology, laser equipment, robotics and digital, all ideal for the realisation of 2D and 3D design expressions. The campus has excellent Wi-Fi connectivity. In the rural setting beyond the campus, connectivity is weaker, an opportunity for students at Design West to ‘unplug’ from the busy world of design and gain new perspectives.


Who is for?

We are looking for participants to engage with the local environment through observational studies (walking as research), the study of found objects, interactions between communities, landscape, and nature. We are giving participants the opportunity to explore new ideas through research and making in a unique environment. The programme will be led by a cross-disciplinary group of international tutors and professional technicians.

Design West at ATU Connemara is a catalyst to recharge your creativity by providing a unique facility, location, and experience outside your normal working environment.

Designwest from Design Factory on Vimeo.



Deadline for applications is Friday, May 24th 2024.

Apply for Design West here


DesignSkillnet co-funding

We are delighted to share that co-funding of 25% of the programme fee is available via DesignSkillnet for eligible candidates*.

 This equates to 

  • €495 of the full-two week fee of €1980, bringing the cost to you down to €1485 
  • €275 on the one-week fee of €1100, bringing the fee to you down to €825

*To be eligible for this co-funding you must be:

  • A current paid-up member of IDI, ICAD, IAPI or 100 Archive
  • Working in the private or commercial semi-state sectors**
  • In the Republic of Ireland
  • And be successful in your application to DesignWest for a place on the programme.
  • **Please note for employees of commercial semi-state organisations, additional conditions may apply, where the organisation is paying the programme fee
  • For queries re Design Skillnet co-funding email

Not a member? Email info@idi-design to find out how to join.

If you have graduated within the past 3 years you may be eligible for IDI graduate membership at the special graduate price of €30. Standard/Full (non-graduate) membership of IDI costs €197 per annum plus a one-off €50 application fee.

How do I know if I am eligible for co-funding?

  • If you are a design or creative professional
  • Working freelance, in a studio or agency, in an in-house team or as the sole designer in-house
  • Working in the Republic of Ireland
  • In the private sector
  • Or in the commercial semi-state sector 


  • Based outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Public Sector employees***
  • 3rd Level Undergrad students***
  • Those receiving another source of government funding support to attend DesignWest
  • ***Unless you also run your own private design business and will be paying the programme fee via your private business

Unsure if you are eligible for co-funding?

  • Contact, include your phone number in the email and Design Skillnet will call you to discuss

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