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NCAD, UCD and IADT collaboration launches Creative Futures Academy

Posted 17 November 2022

A new (opens in a new window)Creative Futures Academy (CFA) that sees academics across three institutions work together to identify the future skills and knowledge needed for the Irish creative and cultural sectors has launched.

A collaborative partnership between the (opens in a new window)National College of Art and Design (NCAD)University College Dublin (UCD), and the (opens in a new window)Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire, the initiative is the first of its kind in cultural and creative higher education in Ireland.

The CFA is a new approach to education that sees academics across the institutions collaboration with industry experts to create learner centred programmes to prepare graduates from a range of disciplines with sustainable and adaptable skills.

Among the sectors it will support include digital media, gaming, animation and film, creative writing and performance, visual arts practice, and design.

“This initiative will develop and change teaching and learning in those sectors, allowing learners to be more agile and diverse,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD.

“CFA will enable the partner colleges to develop courses that will equip learners with skills of critical importance to the economy and to the workplace of the future. My Department has funded the project through a €10 million grant [from the Higher Education Authority’s Human Capital Initiative]... and I look forward to seeing how it will grow over the coming years.”

CFA Director Louise Allen said: “The CFA partnership is a new approach to learning and is the first initiative of its type in cultural and creative higher education. It offers a unique combination of educational and industry expertise.

“The aim of the CFA partnership is to create a sustainable and vibrant creative and cultural sector, underpinned by a skilled workforce. While courses are tailored for the creative sector, across digital technologies, screen and media; creative writing, music and performing arts; visual and applied arts and design with the growth in demand for creativity in all areas of work, they will benefit a wide range of sectors.”

Under the CFA partnership, courses available include screenwriting; film, media and broadcasting; creative and cultural management, new platforms for artists; new technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, strategic and user-centred design and sustainable design and practice.

They span short continuous professional development (CPD) options, postgraduate certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

As part of the initiative, well-known creative practitioners such as musician Dónal Lunny; singer-song-writer Paul Brady; actor and screenwriter, Mark O’Halloran, theatre director Jenny Jennings (ThisisPopBaby); director of the Dublin International Film Festival, Gráinne Humphreys; music producer and composer Lance Hogan; architect Tracy Staunton and fashion designer Lucy Bowen take to the classroom to impart their knowledge.

“At the heart of the CFA partnership is institutional and industry collaboration, knowledge-sharing and the provision of top-class educational experiences that offer learners mobility to take courses across the three colleges,” said Ms Allen.

“While learners will still need to follow certain programme pathways, the CFA partnership dramatically increases the choice available to them and introduces flexible routes to learning. CFA learners will have access to a powerful network that includes creatives, industry experts, thinkers, and leaders in a unique, collaborative setting.

“This is of benefit both to learners early in their career and those considering a change in direction. We are delighted to launch today a new partnership that we will evolve and augment over the coming years.”
As a part of CFA, capital projects at each of the three institutions involved are also being developed. At UCD, there will be two new facilities to support student creativity and digital content skills.

A Blackbox studio and media lab will be housed in the former Dramsoc Theatre in the Newman Building, transforming the space into a multi-purpose facility to support teaching in drama, music, film, creative writing, and digital content creation. It is due to open in 2023.

“The CFA partnership directly addresses the need for innovation, flexibility and scale in relation to creative education in Ireland, with valuable input from the creative industries,” said (opens in a new window)Associate Professor PJ Mathews, Director of the UCD Creative Futures Academy.

“Building on the existing specialisms and traditions of the three institutions, the CFA partnership opens up new learning pathways and opportunities across the three institutions for the next generation of artists and creatives.

“The appointment of distinguished academics and Artists-in-Residence brings world-class talent, experience, and fresh approaches to learning into our classrooms.”

Adding: “The CFA partnership builds on Ireland’s international reputation for developing creative talent and, through our collaboration, is developing new modes of learning for students of the creative and performing arts. New courses and programmes will equip the next generation of talented graduates with the skills to forge impactful, sustainable, and rewarding careers in the creative industries.”

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations