Digital content creator sitting at a desk with a lightbulb symbol over his head to symbolise an idea.
Image: © golubovy/

New Irish education initiative to boost tech skills in creative sectors

16 Nov 2022

The Creative Futures Academy aims to help industries ‘respond to and use emerging technologies’, with courses in areas such as AR and VR.

Three Irish higher education institutions are coming together to shake up creative arts education and prepare students for a more digital future.

University College Dublin (UCD), National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and the Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT) are collaborating on the €10m Creative Futures Academy.

It will provide courses for learners across film, media, new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, strategic and user-centred design, and more.

“The aim is to support digital media, gaming, animation and film, creative writing and performance, visual arts practice, and design,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

“This initiative will develop and change teaching and learning in those sectors, allowing learners to be more agile and diverse.”

The courses will be designed by academics and industry experts who will consider the skills needed for the future of the creative and cultural sectors.

Courses will range from short continuous professional development options to postgraduate certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Creative Futures Academy is being funded by a grant from the Higher Education Authority’s Human Capital Initiative.

Each institution is developing their own flagship projects as part of the initiative. NCAD is installing a research, development and prototyping facility to provide students with 3D fabrication tech skills. The facility is due to open in 2023.

UCD is developing two new facilities to support student creativity and digital content skills. They will support teaching in drama, music, film, creative writing and digital content creation.

IADT has already installed an Atmos Dolby Studio, which is the only studio of this type in an Irish educational institution. It will facilitate the design of sound for cinema and give students access to cutting-edge tech.

David Smith, president of IADT, said these initiatives would provide “much-needed skills” to help creative industries and the wider corporate sector “to respond to and use emerging technologies”.

These developments come following a recent report by TechIreland and Skillnet Ireland, which found that investment was needed to boost the workforce for Ireland’s creative tech scene.

In the report, industry experts said that up to 90pc of hires come from outside Ireland as the country’s third-level institutions do not address the digital skills needed by the creative industries.

Director of Creative Futures Academy, Louise Allen, described the partnership as a “new approach to learning” and “the first initiative of its type in cultural and creative higher education”.

“The aim of the Creative Futures Academy partnership is to create a sustainable and vibrant creative and cultural sector, underpinned by a skilled workforce,” she added.

“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.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading