The Creative Industries Institute at Ulster University

World-leading Research and Impact in the Creative Industries Institute

Ulster University’s Creative Industries Institute is an exciting new initiative that brings together our advanced research and teaching expertise in creative disciplines to collaborate with industry, government and communities, focusing on skills acquisition, job creation, policy development and future-led research.

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Creative Industries

With roots established centuries ago in traditional disciplines, like storytelling, music and ceramics, to linen, textiles and fine arts, Northern Ireland has one of the richest and most exciting creative industries sectors in the world.

It is a sector that has grown and evolved on an international stage, becoming a place where the traditional isn’t lost, but is celebrated, and merged with new thinking, new technology and new talent.

Ulster University is at the heart of that evolution. Our Creative Industries Institute, collaborating with industry, government and community partners, will drive and inspire new, groundbreaking advances, enhance skills and maximise future economic growth.

Championing the teaching and research which takes place across all of our campuses from textiles and smart clothing, animation and product design to music technology, film and broadcasting and virtual reality, the Creative Industries Institute will continue to push the boundaries and reinforce the contribution Ulster University makes to this critically important sector.

Fastest growing sector of the UK economy

The Creative Industries Fastest growing sector of the UK economy

The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, contributing almost £90billion GVA; four times the GVA of the automotive industry, six times as much as life sciences and nearly ten times that of aerospace.

GVA in the creative industries is forecast to grow to £128billion by 2025 (3.9% year-on-year increase) and to generate one million new creative jobs by 2030.

In Northern Ireland, creative industries employ over five percent of the entire workforce contributing nearly £1billion GVA.

Ulster has world-leading expertise in all areas in the sector as defined by DCMS, including advertising, architecture, broadcasting, crafts, design, creative technologies, fashion, film, heritage, museums & galleries, music, performing arts, photography, publishing, video games and visual arts.

As well as economic value, the creative industries make a considerable contribution to societal and cultural development offering an alternative and successful paradigm, creating a new model for cultural expression, personal growth and well-being.

Shaping the future

Shaping the Future of the Creative Industries

Shaping the Future of the Creative Industries Ulster University’s Creative Industries Institute will provide high-end research capacity for the testing of innovation with industrial partners.

Our research will advise and inform government and help to shape policy relating to creative industries, and through the development of evidence databases, we will support and accelerate advances in this sector.


We will invest in skills generation and develop new course provision to address clearly identified skills needs in areas such as:

  • VR/AR
  • game design
  • post-production
  • broadcast
  • media

The key mission for the Institute will be to future proof the development and application of research in a number of areas of the creative industries including:

  • advertising
  • broadcast and media
  • film
  • VR/AR
  • game design
  • music
  • art
  • photography
  • big data
  • product design
  • graphic design
  • music
  • drama
  • fashion & textiles
  • animation

Research and Impact
What our Institute offers

Creative Industries Institute World-Leading Research and Impact

The Creative Industries Institute at Ulster brings together a range of cognate disciplines which consistently achieve the highest standards of excellence in research and impact: in the most recent research assessment, REF2014, Art and Design was in the top three universities in the UK for world-leading research, with 100% of research environment rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Music and Drama were joint second in the UK for impact with 100% of research environment and impact rated as world-leading or internationally excellent and Communication and Media had 100% of research environment and impact rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Creative disciplines

Creative disciplines at Ulster Leading the way in interdisciplinary research collaborations

Importantly, creative disciplines at Ulster lead the way in interdisciplinary research collaborations. For example in performing arts with computer engineering and nursing; virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) and rehabilitation; music technology and disability; big data in arts and humanities; and product design and smart textiles for health.

Ulster is investing significantly in the creative industries as a core part of its flagship £300million Greater Belfast Development, in addition to the £9million Media and Broadcast facilities in the recently opened Arts block in Coleraine, and a £5million investment in new posts to drive new courses and research in VR/AR, Game Design and Post-Production VFX in the new Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

We have recently appointed Anthony Lilley as Ulster’s first Professor of Creative Industries.

Regeneration through collaboration

Regeneration through Creative Collaboration

The Creative Industries Institute will drive a vision where Ulster University will collaborate and consult with industry, government and civic partners and develop advanced research with impact that will innovate, drive policy development and produce industry-ready graduates with the skills and experience required to energise the economic, social and cultural regeneration of the region.

Our expertise covers the following:

  • advertising
  • architecture
  • broadcasting
  • crafts
  • design
  • creative technologies
  • fashion
  • film
  • heritage
  • museums & galleries
  • music
  • performing arts
  • photography
  • publishing
  • video games
  • visual arts
Get in contact

People

We want to hear from you and would be pleased to discuss any aspect of our work in the Creative Industries Institutes.

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Professor Frank Lyons Associate Dean (Research and Impact)

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Professor Paul Moore Head of School of Communication and Media

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Professor Karen Fleming Head of Belfast School of Art

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Fiona McElroy Head of Innovation and Impact

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Creative Industries Institute - Social