Students Scoop Scholarships

University of Ulster students win annual Richard K Degenhardt Belleek Collector's Scholarships

Ceramic artists Ashling O’Hea and Conor McLean and Celtic scholar Colm Duffin are this year’s winners of the Richard K Degenhardt Belleek Collectors' Scholarships, international scholarships of one year’s duration awarded annually to two or three outstanding students from the University of Ulster engaged in study in the fields of ceramics and Celtic studies. 

The awards were established to enhance students’ opportunities for personal as well as educational development.
 
Dr Linda Beard, founder and chair of the Richard K Degenhardt Endowment, presented the awards of £650 each to the winning students at a special presentation ceremony at the University’s Coleraine campus.
 
Ashling O’Hea, from Belfast, is a second year student studying Fine and Applied Arts, specialising in ceramics. She will use her award to take a ceramics course at Alfred College in rural western New York and to fund visits to see other artists and businesses working in ceramics in America.
 
Conor McLean, from Belfast, is also a second year student studying Fine and Applied Arts, specializing in ceramics. He will use his award to help fund a residency with Nic Collins, a full time potter living in Devon and participation in the assistantship programme at the International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark, where he will be a technical assistant for the artists-in-residence.  
 
Colm Duffin, from Randalstown, is a final year Irish language student. He will use his award to stay on Tory Island for two weeks to study the grammatical structures in Donegal Irish and their uses, and evolution of the Irish language in the 21st century as a foundation for a proposed PhD in Irish language.
 
Established in May 2001 and through ongoing fundraising efforts, the Richard Kennedy Degenhardt Belleek Collectors’ Scholarship Endowment Fund is now worth some £64,000 ($127,000).  

The scholarships are funded through the generosity of many individuals and groups, including Belleek Collectors world-wide, international Belleek Chapters, special friends and family of Richard K Degenhardt, the Belleek Pottery and the Belleek Collectors’ International Society.
 
The awards are named in memory of the late Richard Kennedy Degenhardt, who was instrumental in establishing the Belleek Collectors’ International Society.  The scholarships are a tribute to his definitive knowledge of Belleek Parian China, which remains renowned among collectors world-wide today.