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Creative technologies and the digital revolution are set to expand along ground-breaking, unpredictable lines at the University of Ulster.

The University has announced the launch of a Research Centre for Creative Technologies based at Magee which will create new opportunities for cross-faculty collaboration, often by linking up personnel whose paths would otherwise rarely cross

Uniquely within Ulster, it will be a ‘pop-up’ Centre, enabling it to provide expertise on any of the four campuses, complementing the worth of other research centres and helping to generate cross-fertilisation of innovative work and ideas between academics and researchers in a wide variety of academic disciplines.

Professor Paul Moore, Head of the School of Creative Arts and Director of the new Centre, said: “ It aims to bring researchers from the university’s Schools, Faculties and campuses to share skills and experiences in order that the potential of creative projects can be maximised.

“While the Centre is associated with the School of Creative Arts at Magee in a physical sense, it is hoped that wherever a number of creative researchers want to get together across the University, the Centre can support this and act as a catalyst for truly new and innovative projects”.

Professor Frank Lyons, Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, added: "This is a really exciting development offering the opportunity for staff and students who might never physically meet to come together to pursue overlapping research interests. Clearly, out of this interaction will develop significant research partnerships which have potential to attract substantial external research funding.”

The arts, technology and computing are experiencing a period of profound change which is producing fertile ground for collaboration among previously largely unconnected areas of study.

Keen to harness that potential, the prime movers in the Centre say their new research dimension underscores Ulster’s commitment to creative technologies, and the artistic and employment potential inherent in them.

The Centre already has a number of intricate and pioneering projects under way. They range from “The  River Sings”, a haunting audio artwork that records the Foyle’s waves as musical vibrations, to one about the “Design of an Inclusive and Accessible Digital Musical Instrument for Musicians with Cerebral Palsy”.

Professor Moore says: “The new Centre, which is established within the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, aims to create a research space where anyone involved in developing new forms of theoretical or creative practice, grounded in emerging technologies, can come together to collaborate and share research ideas and experiences.

“Multi and inter-disciplinarity are key components of the Centre’s ethos and though not limited to specific areas of research, the Centre is particularly interested in projects which are grounded in the following four areas: art and code, network culture, experience design, and technology-based performance.

Contemporary media elements to be integrated into projects are likely to include computer programming, aspects of social networking and digital design, audio enhancement and video streaming.

These will provide a launchpad for researchers to explore how creative technologies might add fresh insight and value to their projects, for example, by making them more widely accessible through graphics and sound, and in extending the research into previously unplanned areas

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