Sinéad Burke and Ann O’Dea receive Honorary Fellow awards from IADT

12 Nov 2018

From left: IADT president Dr Annie Doona with Sinéad Burke and Ann O’Dea. Image: Brian Farrell

Activist and Silicon Republic co-founder both recognised for their work promoting diversity.

Activist Sinéad Burke and the CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic, Ann O’Dea, have received Honorary Fellow awards from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dún Laoghaire.

IADT is Ireland’s only institute of art, design and technology, with a specific focus on the creative, cultural and technological sectors.

An Honorary Fellow of IADT is someone who has an outstanding record of achievement in scholarship or practice, or who has contributed to public service related to the mission and vision of IADT.

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Champions of diversity

As well as her role at Silicon Republic, O’Dea is also founder of international sci-tech festival Inspirefest.

IADT said that O’Dea has been a great champion for equality and diversity, and for women in STEM.

“IADT is conferring this award on Ann O’Dea in recognition of her work on promoting women in technology and for her passion for new technology and all things digital,” the institute said.

A graduate of IADT’s master’s in broadcast production, Burke is an inspirational activist and advocate as to why design and society should be more inclusive and accessible for all citizens –irrespective of gender, education or disability.

In recent months, Burke featured in the British edition of Vogue in the inaugural power list, the Vogue 25, as one of the “women shaping 2018”.

Burke has three times appeared at the annual Inspirefest event – first at the Fringe, then on the main stage and, last year, trying her hand at stand-up comedy for Bright Club. Born with achondroplasia, Burke has eagerly shared her perspective of the world from 3ft 5in tall, first finding her voice on social media and now with a TED talk that has been viewed more than 1.2m times.

“The award of Honorary Fellow on Sinéad is in recognition of her excellent work in inclusive design, disability rights, and promotion of equality and diversity,” IADT said.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Super Early Bird tickets for Inspirefest 2019 are available now.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years