‘An Idea that is developed and put in to action is more important than an idea that exists only in the mind.’


- Edward de Bono (Designer and Innovator)


The Design Challenge is a competition that encourages different communities in the O'Connell Street area to identify challenges that they experience in living, working and using the O'Connell Street area. The Design industry will be asked to look at the challenges and to develop possible solutions. These innovative proposals are to encourage   greater creativity in the area and are for any community or team to benefit from, in the Cultural Quarter.

The design industry and multi-disciplinary teams will work with the community in the development of their proposals  through a series of workshops. 

Examples of Design Challenges might include:

  • I feel uncomfortable on O'Connell street because it doesn't show my culture anywhere in a visual way.

  • My children don't have anywhere safe to play close to where I live in the WCQ neighbourhood.

  • I would like to find good workspace where I can work collaboratively with other artists.

  • My business and other business on the street would like to be identified as being part of the WCQ.

  • There's a lack of secure bicycle parking on the street.



The design industry and multi-discipinary teams will work with the community in the development of their proposals through a series of workshops. Download the Workshop 1 Summery Report here for further infomation.

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In 2017 a new initiative – Creative Identities – was delivered through a series of design-led public fora. It successfully explored the role of creativity and design thinking as social agents for positive change in a transitioning community. The Creativity and Culture Research Group (CCRG) from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) together with Garter Lane Arts Centre (GL), and key sponsor the Local Enterprise Office (LEO), successfully partnered in order to develop and deliver this series.

It welcomed a transdisciplinary audience to engage in three public discussions led by national and local designers and taught leaders to discuss wellbeing, digital innovation, urban regeneration and community integration. The series provided a space for collective reflection on these issues, pertinent to the development of the O’ Connell Street area and adjoining streets as a burgeoning Cultural Quarter for Waterford.

The series was kindly sponsored by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Imagine Arts Festival, and was supported by the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI), the Design and Craft Council of Ireland (DCCOI), Creative Ireland, Waterford City and County Council, Hub Controls and DVF.

As part of related events, WIT Design Year 4 students participated in a highly productive design education/ industry workshop, kindly given by Creative Identities guest speakers and facilitated by WIT Design staff. In response to the discussion of creative and visual identities in Waterford, WIT Year 1 Design students produced illustrative responses to the Creative Identities which were exhibited in Garter Lane Arts Centre in February 2018. A report on the findings of the Creative Identities project will be published as part of an online archive resource.