Judging Panel

John Boyle

John Boyle

INTO President

John Boyle is the new president of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and principal teacher in St. Colmcille’s JNS Knocklyon in Dublin.

Very early in his teaching career John became an active member of South County Dublin branch of the INTO. He served as staff representative, branch chairperson and chairperson of INTO District 8 (South Dublin/Wicklow) before being elected to the Central Executive Committee of the union in 2004. Since then John has represented eight branches in South Dublin and Wicklow. In his role he has supported hundreds of individual teachers and he has brought issues affecting INTO members to school management and to the Department of Education & Skills.

John Boyle has been very involved in community groups and initiatives from an early age. He's very interested in Irish culture and heritage, music, drama and the visual arts - being a lifelong member of the Mullaghduff Senior Fife & Drum Band.
Ronan Smith

Ronan Smith

Chair of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland's Irish Dementia Working Group

Ronan Smith was diagnosed in 2014 with Younger Onset Alzheimer's. Ronan was born into a theatrical family, and acted as a child in RTE's Tolka Row, and in various feature films. He is the son of distinguished Dublin theatre impresario, the late Brendan Smith and is married to actress Miriam Brady, who starred in Glenroe.

Ronan cared for his father when he developed Alzheimer's 30 years ago before going on to develop the condition himself. Having studied law after school, he qualified as a solicitor and then immediately gave into the genes, developing a steady career as an actor and director, before, over the years, turning to management and production.

Among many other projects, he was fortunate to play a significant role in the international touring of Riverdance, and in mounting productions for the West End and Broadway. He continues to work in Dublin’s larger theatres, the Gaiety Theatre and the Olympia Theatre. Ronan is a strong advocate and has recently been appointed Chair of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland's Irish Dementia Working Group.
Aideen Howard

Aideen Howard

Director; The Ark Dublin

Aideen Howard is Director of The Ark in Temple Bar, Dublin. The Ark makes and shares great art for, by and about children in the belief that children have a right to art and culture as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. At The Ark, she has introduced a Children’s Council to participate in all The Ark’s programmes and to advise and inform decision making in all aspects of our business.

Prior to The Ark, Aideen was Literary Director of the Abbey Theatre from 2006-2015. There she commissioned more than 30 new plays for the Peacock and Abbey stages and introduced a new generation of debut playwrights. She is editor of Irish Shorts: New Plays from The Abbey Theatre published by Nick Hern Books. Aideen was the founding Artistic Director of Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray, from 2001-2006. She has also worked as literary consultant to Arts Council projects and as dramaturg at the Abbey Theatre. In 2014 she curated the poetry programme of the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Aideen holds an MA in Drama from UCD and a BA in English and German from Trinity College. She sits on the advisory board of the Irish Theatre Institute.
Catherine Bowe

Catherine Bowe

Visual Art Manager, Wexford Arts Centre

Catherine Bowe is Visual Arts Manager in Wexford Arts Centre since 2007. Wexford Arts Centre is a multidisciplinary centre serving the county. Through its visual arts programme it aims to support the development of emerging to mid-career artists through exhibitions, awards and its educational activities. In an independent capacity, Catherine has worked as a consultant for a number of national agencies including Wexford County Council, Kilkenny County Council and the Arts Council.
Richard Carr

Richard Carr | Head Judge

Artist & School Liaison for Image Masters Photography

Richard Carr currently lives and works in Wexford. He has firmly established himself as one of Ireland’s prominent young artists exhibiting alongside leading practitioners such as; Bill Viola, Dorothy Cross, Alice Maher, Gerard Byrne, Eva Rothschild among others. His work was recently selected for the finalists’ exhibition for the Hotron Prize at VISUAL, Carlow and the F15 Festival in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. He recently featured as part of Ireland’s National 1916 Centenary Programme and was shortlisted for Ireland’s Emerging Visual Artist Award.

As School Liaison for Image Masters Photography he is liaison to educational establishments who are home to over 25,000 students from preschool, through primary and secondary all the way to third level. In this role he has passionately worked towards increasing investment in education and in 2016 he founded Ireland's annual Parent Association Funds. He is an advocate for STEAM practices within education and is a founding member of INSPA.