Conference Details – Friday 17th November, Kilkenny Castle Parade Tower

Richard Curran

Richard Curran MC

Richard Curran is a journalist, broadcaster and author. He is the presenter of The Business radio show on RTE Radio One and a columnist with the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent. He has worked in business journalism through TV, radio, print and online for 29 years. He is a former business editor of the Irish Independent and former deputy editor of The Sunday Business Post. He has co-written two books, one on Irish entrepreneurs and the other on the multi-billion euro collapse of Irish Nationwide Building Society. He has also made several television documentaries for RTE including, Future Shock: Property Crash in 2007 and The Battle For Rural Ireland in 2015.

Part 1 beginning at 9.15 am

Part 1: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart present the Irish Folklore Trilogy, an exhibition opening 17th November 2023 in the National Design and Crafts Gallery. This exhibition is a celebration of Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon’s Academy Award®-nominated modern animated classics which comprise the Irish Folklore Trilogy – The Secret of Kells (2009), Song of the Sea (2014) and WolfWalkers (2020). All three films weave folklore and mythology into the narrative, creating a deep connection between the characters, their adventures, and the rich cultural heritage of Ireland.

Part 2 beginning at 11.00 am

Part 2: Key Note Addresses from Holger Strøm and Nora Twomey followed by Panel Discussion and Q&A. Celebrated Danish designer Holger Strøm spent three years as a staff designer in KDW between 1970 & 1973. 50 years later we celebrate the iconic “IQlight” as Holger takes his exhibition from Bornholm’s Center for Crafts to Kilkenny.

Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon Nora Twomey joins us to speak and illustrate the story and evolution of Cartoon Saloon.

Panellists include:

Design Historian, Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Design and Visual Culture at IADT, Dublin Dr. Linda King;

Senior Lecturer in Design at the TUDublin, School of Art & Design Robert Tully; Artist and creator at Nicholas Mosse and Guardian of Kilfane Waterfall & Garden Susan Mosse;

Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon IFTA winner and Academy Award®, Emmy and Bafta nominee Paul Young;

Senior Vice President at Fidelity Investments and Kilkenny native Aidan Kenny

Closing remarks by Mary V Mullin, Chairman of the Sir Misha Black Awards for Distinguished Services to Design Education, Former Secretary General of the International Council of Graphic Design, Founding Director of the National Centre of Culture and Arts in Dublin (now the Museum of Modern Art).

Followed by complimentary lunch in the library, Kilkenny Design Centre



Tom Moore

Tomm Moore

Tomm Moore is a Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon. Over Cartoon Saloon’s history, Tomm has worked as Director, Art Director, Storyboarder, Animator and Illustrator across a range of the studio’s projects. Tomm has directed three universally successful feature films, all of which were nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature – The Secret of Kells (2010), Song of the Sea (2015) and his latest feature film, Wolfwalkers (2020), which he co-directed with Ross Stewart. WolfWalkers also received several international critic’s awards including the LAFCA Award and NYFCC Award as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and a Bafta, and wins in several categories including Best Director and Best Independent Feature at the 2021 Annie Awards of the International Animated Film Association. Having now completed this Trilogy of Irish folklore- and history-inspired films he is researching a new direction for his next cycle of features, focusing on the Irish diaspora and its connections with other cultures. He is currently working as creative producer across several of Cartoon Saloon’s new film and series projects as well as refocusing on his personal artistic practice, particularly figure drawing and oil painting.

Ross Stewart

Ross Stewart

Ross Stewart has been painting, illustrating, designing and working in animation for over 20 years. In his primary role of visual development and art direction, he has worked on 4 Oscar-nominated movies: as art director on The Secret of Kells, concept artist on Song of the Sea, in visual development on Paranorman with Laika Studios, and more recently moving from art direction into directing, with fellow artist and longtime collaborator Tomm Moore, on The Prophet and the latest Cartoon Saloon Oscar-nominated feature, WolfWalkers. As a freelance conceptual artist he has worked for many animation and film studios world-wide on award winning projects and has illustrated books and literature for a variety of publishers. His paintings are exhibited throughout Ireland and the UK and held in collections world-wide. He is a nature lover and would gladly sit under an oak tree all day long.

Photo Holger

Holger Strøm

Holger Strøm was born on the 21st of March 1938 in Copenhagen, Denmark; Holger joined the Danish military in 1957, which included a 3-month service in Germany. He went on to be a shipping/export assistant and salesman in Holmegaard for glass in 1959. In 1963, he became a packing advisor at Bates, which produced paper sacks in Copenhagen. Following that, he became a package developer and designer for Novo, a medical company. In 1968, he became the chief designer for Neopac.

Holger became s staff designer for Kilkenny Design Workshop in 1970 and spent three years in this role. The IQ light was created during Holger’s time in Kilkenny. He returned to Denmark in 1976, becoming the product development manager and head of the design department for Neopac. From 1982 to 2019, he produced the IQlight lampshade kits. He also became a development manager for Neopac in 1986 and then an independent packaging consultant from 1993 until 1996.

In 1993, he oversaw paperboard packaging projects in Jordan and Zimbabwe for Gerald Tyler, Kilkenny Development Partners. Also, he worked with Arden Software in coding macros for CAD in box construction in 1994. In 1996, he worked as an independent packaging designer with prototype CAD/CAM in Birkerød, Denmark. Finally, he retired to Rønne, the island of Bornholm, Denmark. Halo Designs is still producing the IQlight in Farum, Denmark. In 2023, the IQlight in 50 Years exhibition was held in Bornholm’s Centre for Crafts in Hasle, Bornholm. 

Nora Twomey

Nora Twomey

Nora Twomey is a Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon. Her passion for visual storytelling began at an early age and has led her to explore the medium of animation with her collaborators in Cartoon Saloon. From the studio’s early years, where she directed award-winning short films and commercials, she went on to co-direct The Secret of Kells with Tomm Moore while also guiding the development processes on a number of series including the Emmy-nominated preschool show, Puffin Rock. Nora was Head of Story and Voice Director on Song of the Sea. She directed The Breadwinner, which was nominated for an Academy Award® and Golden Globe and won several international awards including the Best Indie Feature Annie Award and the Audience and Jury Awards at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Nora most recently directed My Father’s Dragon feature film, a Netflix original animated feature, inspired by the Newbery Award-winning children’s book by Ruth Stiles Gannett. She continues to work as a Director, Producer, Editor, Writer, Production Artist, Voice Director, depending on the needs of each production.

Dr Linda King

Dr. Linda King

Dr. Linda King is a design historian, consultant and Senior Lecturer in Design and Visual Culture at IADT, Dublin. She is a regular contributor to radio and television on design as cultural history, including as the design curator for the television series National Treasures (RTE1, 2018) and contributor to the Dave Fanning Show (2FM, 2020-22). She has written extensively on Irish design with a particular focus on Irish graphic design and the Kilkenny Design Workshops. She sits on the Board of the National Museum of Ireland and on the Historical Studies Committee of the Royal Irish Academy. 


Robert Tully

Robert Tully

Robert Tully, Adv. Dip. Env. Design, MA Higher Education.

Robert Tully is currently a senior lecturer in design at the TU Dublin School of Art & Design and currently works on both the BA(Design) and the BSc. in Product Design. His main teaching focus is on creativity and innovation.

Robert initially studied Environmental Design at the College of Marketing & Design, graduating in 1985. He received a Butler House Scholarship to Kilkenny Design Workshops and later worked as a junior staff designer for the company and subsequently as a consultant to KDW.

Robert’s early research work focussed on the European furniture and timber industries but has also been involved in a number of European research projects in the area of creative digital LEs. Other research interests are in the areas of creative pedagogies, design research, and design sustainability.

Robert’s professional experience has been across interior design, furniture design, and graphic design with projects for national and international clients in Ireland, the UK, Italy, Canada, and Finland. Robert has also undertaken consultancy projects for the European Commission, Enterprise Ireland, and the Industrial Development Board (NI).

Paul Young

Paul Young

Paul Young is a Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon, and an IFTA winner and Academy Award®, Emmy and Bafta nominee. He produced the animated features, My Father’s Dragon, WolfWalkers, The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner, as well as a number of award-winning TV series including Puffin Rock, Dorg Van Dango & Viking Skool. Paul made his directorial debut in 2023 with the critically-acclaimed animated short Screecher’s Reach, making Cartoon Saloon one of nine studios worldwide to be involved in the second series of the Disney+ and Lucasfilm Star Wars Visions. An Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year finalist, Paul is also an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist and is co-founder of Kilkenny Animated, an annual festival celebrating the creativity and craft of visual storytelling, now in its 5th year.

Aidan Kenny

Aidan Kenny, Senior Vice-President, Fidelity Investments

A native of Kilkenny, Aidan has over 25 years global leadership experience in corporate, consulting and start-up environments. After establishing a service innovation consultancy and founding a technology start-up, Aidan joined Fidelity Investments in 2014 leading Fidelity Labs and the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT) for Europe. Since 2018, Aidan has split his time between Ireland and Boston running an internal start-up inside Fidelity and leading several other product and emerging technology teams.

Having graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College Dublin, where he studied engineering, Aidan began his career in the semiconductor industry, working for Analog Devices and Nikon Corporation.

As Founder of Servitize, Aidan established a service strategy and design consultancy working with the public and private sectors in Ireland and abroad. Aidan delivered workshops and keynotes on Strategy, Design and Innovation in national and international forums and is a contributor to the book “This is Service Design Thinking”.

As Founder and CEO of Instant Opinion Limited, a customer experience technology company, Aidan gained first-hand experience of taking a business from concept to revenue in a short period of time.

In 2014 Aidan joined Fidelity Investments to set-up and lead the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and Fidelity Labs for Europe. Aidan led teams of product managers, engineers, designers and innovators focused on igniting organic growth for Fidelity. In addition to leading Ecosystem Research for Europe, Design Thinking, Innovation Strategy and Product Incubation he also established the FCAT Innovation Lab and incubation space, a first outside the US. Aidan was also a member of the Ireland Executive Committee for Fidelity.

In 2018, Aidan moved to Boston to lead an internal start-up in Fidelity Labs. This early-stage concept has now successfully grown to become a core offering of Fidelity’s Workplace business, enabling emergency savings programs with major clients and their employees.

Aidan remains connected to the start-up ecosystem and is currently a start-up judge and mentor for the MassChallenge Fintech program in Boston. Aidan was also awarded a US Patent in 2022 for an AI Context Switcher.

Mary Mullen

Mary Mullin

Mary Mullin worked at Kilkenny Design Workshops between 1967 and 1978. She is currently Chairman of the Sir Misha Black Awards for Distinguished Services to Design Education, based at the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, London; Trustee of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, the INSPIRE Trust and Regional Adviser to the World Design Organisation – WDO. She served as Secretary General of the International Council of Graphic Design (ICOGRADA now ICO-D) for just fourteen years and as a founding Trustee for the ICOGRADA Foundation.

She was the fi rst woman to be elected to the Board of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design and served as Vice President. She developed the Interdesign Programme for ICSID and advised on events in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, Serfaus and Vienna (Austria), Belgium, Canada, Mexico. She was, and remains as, a Founder Member of the Crafts Council of Ireland. She is a Trustee of the Wexford Festival Opera Foundation UK. She was Founding Director of the National Centre of Culture and Arts in Dublin (now the Museum of Modern Art). She has been a consultant for UNIDO in Latin America. She served as National Chairman of the Design and Industries Association in the UK and as a Director of the British Professional Conference Organisers Association.

She ran her own consultancy practice in design and special event management in London from 1981 to 1998. Clients included the ‘Boilerhouse’ at the V&A, the precursor of the Design Museum; Science Museum; Design Research Unit and other leading design practices and commercial clients. She is an Hon. Fellow of the Royal College of Art, The University of the Arts in Bournemouth the International Society of Typographic Design and Honorary Life Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), London. She was awarded the Bi-Centenary Medal of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) “for encouraging and Promoting Design Across Education and Industry’, the first Irish person to receive this medal.


Part 1 Further Detail – Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart

Irish Folklore Trilogy – National Design and Crafts Gallery, opening Nov 17th 2023

This exhibition is a celebration of Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon’s Academy Award®-nominated modern animated classics which comprise the Irish Folklore Trilogy – The Secret of Kells (2009) is set in the rich cultural and historical context of 9th-century Ireland and the clash between Christianity and pagan Celtic beliefs. It tells the story of a young boy named Brendan who becomes involved in the creation of an illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, bringing history and mythology together into a visually stunning story that celebrates the importance of cultural heritage, art and faith; “Song of the Sea” (2014) is based around brother and sister, Ben and Saoirse, who discover that Saoirse is a Selkie, a creature in Irish/ Scottish folklore that can transform from a seal into a human. Folklore plays a central role in the story, enriching the characters’ motivations and relationships, and celebrating the rich storytelling traditions of Ireland; and WolfWalkers (2020), set in 17th-century Ireland during the English colonisation, where young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe, journeys to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last wolf pack. She befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh, a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to have the ability to transform into wolves by night, based on Irish legends of the werewolves of Ossory.

All three films weave folklore and mythology into the narrative, creating a deep connection between the characters, their adventures, and the rich cultural heritage of Ireland. These films not only entertain but also serve as a celebration of Irish folklore, showcasing its enduring relevance in contemporary storytelling. The exhibition will feature artwork from all three films, shown together for the first time and demonstrating the unique visual style and exquisitely handcrafted animation which has garnered the studio international acclaim and multiple awards.

Free entry but pre booking only due to limited capacity.

Get your ticket for this event before 10th November.

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