Industry Placement at ICAD by Caoimhe Neeson


As part of the Real World Engagement module in Second Year Contemporary Visual Culture, we each get to complete a work placement with one of the many institutions that are linked to the programme. I chose to complete my placement in ICAD, the Institute of Creative Advertising and Design. ICAD is a non-profit organisation who aim to foster, promote and reward creative excellence in Irish advertising and design. They run exhibitions, talks, workshops and learning programmes, all of which are geared towards designers. They are also distributors of the prestigious ICAD awards and assist with the Young Directors Awards. I chose to do my placement here because many of the modules that we have in CVC are design-oriented and I developed an interest in graphic design. I wanted to find out more about the industry and it was very lucky that I had the opportunity to do this in my course.
For my placement, I was based in Ebow, a digital design agency that is a member of ICAD, where I had plenty of opportunities to see the daily work of a designer. My tasks were given to me by Elaine McDevitt, the ICAD CEO. One of these tasks that I continuously worked on was the research of examples of design or advertising that initiated societal change in Ireland over the last 60 years.
To complete this task, I visited NIVAL in NCAD to look through the archives, where I found plenty of resources related to ICAD but not to my specific task at hand. I also researched the archives held in NLI and, while the archives there are massive, there were not many archived files that were relevant to what I was researching. So, as I found that looking in physical archives was insufficient, I turned to online archives, such as the HIV Ireland archives as they had decades’ worth of newspaper articles and leaflets among other sources of visual culture relating to HIV/Aids awareness that would be useful to me.
I also used this as an opportunity to speak to designer and design historian, Ciarán Swan from the Irish Left Archive about his work with archives and with graphic design. Ciarán was a visiting lecture last semester for our class Cultures of Resistance in which we discussed the visual culture of resistance and protest. He directed me towards Language, the agency who designed the Yes Equality posters for the 2015 marriage referendum. Aside from this ongoing task, I was given tasks to complete each day, such as working with the ICAD website and the database of award winners that allowed me to look through years of award winning design.
The most exciting part of my placement was attending the YDAs and interviewing two award-winning directors, Dermot Malone and Kate Dolan. This work allowed me to explore a tentative interest I had in film and, now that the placement is over, I have decided that film is something I’d like to pursue after college.
This is the most beneficial thing about doing a placement; it allows you to figure out what you really want to do, and it could be something different to what you were originally interested in. Because of this part of the course, I would recommend CVC to anyone who knows they love art, design and film but is not completely sure of the exact area they would like to study. CVC helps figure that out.

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