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Ulster University’s very own Professor Declan Keeney, Director of Ulster Screen Academy and CEO and co-founder of Studio Ulster, took to the prestigious TEDx stage at Parliament Buildings Stormont on Saturday 20 January.

Under the theme of ’Restore’, this year's TEDxStormont event convened a diverse group of speakers inviting them to explore ideas of how we can rejuvenate our world, revive our communities, and rekindle hope for a sustainable future. Amongst the line-up were political columnist, Alex Kane; musician and TikTok sensation, Jamie Duffy; A-Level student and Syrian refugee, Romav Ali; and mental health campaigner, Matthew Taylor.  Each brought their unique perspectives to the table.

Professor Keeney’s talk put a spotlight on the wealth of opportunities in the creative industries for the youth of Northern Ireland. With the anticipation of Studio Ulster’s opening later this year – a £72m virtual production studio at Belfast Harbour – Belfast is poised to become one of Europe’s leading hubs for virtual production. This development is expected to attract major AAA film productions from around the globe, particularly from Los Angeles and the West Coast of the USA, to our shores. Professor Keeney highlighted the crucial skills that our young, local talent need to develop to excel in this evolving industry.

The event also provided a fantastic, hands-on learning experience for some of Ulster Screen Academy’s own students, who were actively involved in filming and live streaming the event, allowing thousands online to tune in. This experience is invaluable for our students, who are at the forefront of becoming the next generation of creative professionals.

Professor Keeney’s talk not only underscores the importance of the creative industries in Northern Ireland’s future but also highlights the pivotal role Ulster Screen Academy and Studio Ulster play in nurturing and developing local talent. Some commenters on X watching the live stream expressed their excitement to see the opportunities for our young people and the positive impact this will have on our communities and the local creative landscape.

Congratulations to Professor Keeney for his inspiring contribution to TEDxStormont and for representing Ulster University on such a significant platform.

We look forward to the continued success and innovative strides our faculties and students are making in the creative industries.

About TEDxStormont:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks - in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Find out more: Visit Ulster Screen Academy