Programmes & Opportunities

benchspace partners with local and national organisations to promote the development of inclusive, locally rooted and sustainable creative enterprises.

Creative Enterprise Programme

We know there’s more to running a creative business than being creative. Supported by Enterprise Ireland the benchspace Creative Enterprise Programme gives makers the tools they need to turn an idea or skill into a successful creative startup. Through a series of enterprise workshops, peer networking, mentorship and industry-engagement opportunities the programme helps makers navigate all aspects of product design, production, costing, branding, presentation and promotion.
Enterprise Ireland

Rising Sparks

The Rising Sparks Programme was established to develop visible pathways into creative careers for all of Cork’s communities. Through a structured programme of hands-on creative practice, skills development and free access to benchspace facilities – Rising Sparks aims to support transitions into long-term creative livelihoods for individuals from underrepresented communities in the creative enterprise sector. The Rising Sparks Programme is made possible by the Cork Arts Fund 2021 – supported by the Anonymous Donor Fund at The Community Foundation for Ireland.

Find out more here.

The Community Foundation of Ireland


​ The EMERGE stipend was established by Cork Craft & Design and Friends of the Crawford Art Gallery to foster the development of successful careers in creativity. In collaboration with benchspace, the award provides an emerging graduate, from art colleges in the Cork area, with six months of studio and workshop support. The 2021 EMERGE stipend was awarded to Crawford College of Art & Design Graduate, Aleksandra Kowalczyk.
Emerge by Cork Crafts and Designs


Supported by the Cork County Council Arts Service and South Cork Local Enterprise Office, the annual Dearcán Bursary was established to provide early career artists, makers and product designers with an opportunity to develop the creative and commercial aspects of their work. The bursary supports a twelve month membership at benchspace, including studio space, workshop use, a contribution towards locally sourced materials and an expenses stipend. The 2022 Dearcán Bursary was awarded to Visual Artist Paul McKenna.

Dearcán Bursary

Designer Residencies

The annual Designer-in-Residence Programme brings established designers & makers to Cork, to showcase their work and contribute fresh perspectives to resident and local makers through workshops, lectures, and collaborative projects. The 2021 Designer-in-Residence – Goldsmith, Eve Doyle – was supported by the Cork City Council Arts Office.​

Designer in Residence

Design - Build Partnerships​

benchspace partners with Cork’s charity, social enterprise and community organisations to help them realise their own manufacturing projects. Working together, we have completed large scale builds to enhance the streetscape of Cork City, annual design-festival installations, and custom commissions. These collaborations have the dual impact of delivering community-focussed build projects, while supporting the development of new careers for Cork’s upcoming makers and craftspeople. Check out our made@benchspace portfolio to see how we can help your organisation.

Open Making​

As part of our objective to increase public engagement in Irish design and creative manufacturing we offer regular, maker-led, open access to our workshops in the form of Open Making sessions. These public drop-in events provide informal opportunities for the making-curious and would-be creatives to interact with professional makers and discover pathways into making. If you would like to sign up for one of our Open Making sessions, or if you’re a professional maker interested in volunteering, please get in contact.