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Global leaders from the creative industries will explore the relationship between creative research and business innovation at the BEYOND conference held in Belfast on 20th and 21st October.

Hosted by Future Screens, an Ulster University led project investing in the local creative industries, the BEYOND conference will showcase the very best of the creative industries and innovation in new and emerging technologies such as how businesses can use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to solve real world problems. The hyrbid BEYOND conference will be held in Titanic Belfast offering hundreds of in person delegates the opportunity to engage in a bespoke programme of activities, including location-based immersive experiences such as AR tours of Belfast with peace wall installations, networking and receptions while an online version of the programme is also available.

Ulster University PhD Researcher Lewis Smith will be exhibiting his work on virtual reality immersive performance and composition systems designed with musicians from Derry/Londonderry who identify as being either physically or intellectually disabled at the BEYOND poster exhibition.   Also on display is an immersive VR research project in collaboration with the Ulster Museum in Belfast (NMNI). Led by PhD Researcher Philip O’Neill, the project will design an immersive VR experience for NMNI’s most popular key exhibit, the twenty-fifth dynasty Egyptian mummy Takabuti. It will provide the possibility to virtually make Takabuti and the world she knew digitally live again in a VR experience.

Professor Paul Moore, from Ulster University and Director of Future Screens NI invited the Communities Minister to attend the conference which is a partnership between Future Screens and UK Research and Innovation commenting:

“It is with a great sense of pride that we welcome the BEYOND Conference to Belfast for the first time where we are joined by global industry leaders to foster the development of the creative industries locally and globally. Hosting the conference in Belfast further cements our position as a hotbed of transformational innovation which is recreating space and driving forward urban, rural and community transformation on a scale which has not been experienced elsewhere.

“There is the potential to develop at least 100 new industry collaborations as a result of hosting BEYOND and presents with a platform to tell our story. The creative industries in Northern Ireland are an incredible success story, already contributing over £1 billion GVA to the economy and employing around 26,000 people, and even during the pandemic has been innovative in finding ways to continue to grow.”  

Communities Minister Deidre Hargey met with conference delegates showcasing projects which have been jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Future Screens NI, commenting:

“I am delighted to be here at the BEYOND Conference today to witness the impact of the continued partnership approach to the creativity industries, and am pleased to see projects funded by my Department here to showcase the best of what the local sector has to offer.

“Our creative sector is flourishing and growing and my Department is working to ensure that our communities are given the opportunity to benefit from that and the opportunities it brings; through creativity and digital skills programmes, and creative careers programmes. We aim to ensure that we harness the best of local talent by improving equality of access, growing and sustaining our creative industries for the future.

“I commend the partnership approach to the creative industries evidenced here today, which will enable us to maximise the resulting benefits and opportunities for everyone across our communities, as we continue to work together to empower the creative sector to grow.” 

The conference is led by the Creative Economy and Audience of the Future Programmes within UKRI, and Future Screens NI who are leading creative innovation across the region.