'No more Leprechauns. 'Contemporary Souvenir' a multi disciplinary collaborative project

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‘ No more leprechauns’ provoked a debate around the fine line between kitsch and design, The Contemporary Souvenir project’s vision is for a souvenir that’s ‘sexy and sophisticated, rather than tacky and clichéd’ This paper detailed the practical research and background to the Contemporary Souvenir project initially developed by Belford in 2006, questioning can tourism and craft/design work together taking advantage of an emerging landscape within the context of Northern Ireland, academia, industry and craft. The project develops ‘real’ methodologies borne out of The University of Ulster, acting as a model for collaboration in craft, design and tourism, developing a concept for an aesthetic alternative to the existing offering of souvenirs.Initially inspired by an article in Wallpaper magazine ‘No more straw donkeys’ a series of multi disciplinary workshops practically researched notions of the souvenir. A seminar held at The University of Ulster, attracted UTV to screen a live discussion with Withers, and Belford. The work was exhibited at The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, USA ,Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast and Millenium Court, Portadown .Citation in ‘Digital Textile Design’ , by illustration of Contemporary Souvenir workshops profiled Belford as being instrumental in the development of hybrid digital technologies.To try and realize the aesthetic souvenir vision Belford received funding from a CIIF grant (£10.000). This is a call for 5 concepts, the selection procedure in discussion with Craft NI and the Northern Ireland Tourist board. The funding will facilitate further prototype workshops, mentoring and marketing from industry to expand research into reality within the context of Northern Ireland rising as a good value place to visit. The methods of the call are strategically different to a normal call for artists, seeking out makers from a craft discipline to conceive an idea; it is not the intention to produce a smaller and cheaper mimicking their own practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Place of PublicationBrussells
PublisherKoninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten
Number of pages553
ISBN (Print)978 90 6569 071 5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 20 Sept 2010
EventDesign and Craft: a history of convergences and divergences - KONINKLIJKE VLAAMSE ACADEMIE van BELGIE
Duration: 20 Sept 2010 → …


ConferenceDesign and Craft: a history of convergences and divergences
Period20/09/10 → …

Bibliographical note

Reference text: J.Withers, Wallpaper, December/January 2006, issue 84,pp63.64
A,Peach, Journal of Design History, Craft, Souvenirs and the Commodification of national Identity in 1970’s Scotland, Sept 2007


  • Design
  • Craft
  • Souvenir
  • Heritage
  • Textile
  • Hybrid processes


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