Karen Keaney – BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture and Design

Name: Karen Keaney

School: St. Clares Comprehensive, Manorhamilton

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choose Interior Architecture and Design 

I am a mature student and I also run my own online business (www.rosesandbowscakery.com), an online cake design school I also teach in-person cake design classes all over the world from Hong Kong to Mumbai to Miami!  I was supposed to take a place on the Fine Art course in ATU Sligo after I finished school but took ‘a year out’ which turned into many, many years, a corporate career, owning my own business – a coffee shop – and teaching cake design. University has been an unchecked box of mine and I initially hoped to come to ATU to study the Fine Art degree but happened across Interior Architecture and Design. The degree appealed to both my creative and practical side so I decided to apply and here I am!

What specifically about the degree do you particularly enjoy?

I love getting to use my imagination and creativity in a really practical way. The degree is so varied, from practical construction modules to imaginative design, architectural history, furniture design and drawing skills. I also love the fact that it is continuous assessment based, with no exams!

What is the best thing about your degree that you think new applicants should know?

The degree is so varied, you will never be bored that’s for sure. If you have a creative streak but also love the practical side of things you will love this degree. There are also a huge number of career paths you can choose to take once you graduate.

What are your favourite modules? 

The Studio module is my favourite because you take what you have learnt in other modules and put them into practice in Studio. It’s also the place where you get to be most creative, each semester starting afresh with a brand new project is very exciting. I also love model making which we get to do in Studio.

If you were speaking with a first-year student, what advice would you give them?

It’s a busy degree, there are lots of deadlines for assignments, schedule your time wisely and it will make everything so much easier, don’t leave things until the last minute. Ask questions! Lecturers are there to support you, if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask!

What are your plans after ATU Sligo and any long term goals you are aiming for: 

After my degree, I plan on following on with a master’s and then either work in industry or possibly education. Teaching is a real passion of mine and something I have done in each career I have pursued.

Find out more about AU926 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Interior Architecture and Design

Find out more about AU820 Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design

Karen has been nominated for the following awards:

  1. IDI Graduate Awards in Interior Design Category 2022
  2. WASA – Wold Architecture Student Awards 2022. This is an international competition with over 25,000 entries each year.
  3. Graduate Student Interior Educators Award in Craft and Making 2022
  4. Graduate Student Interior Educators Award in Interior Futures categories 2022