Art and Design Research Consultancy

Learn more about how we can help you.

Research within RIAD regularly develops in response to recognised cultural, industrial or commercial needs and many researchers engage in consultancy and academic enterprise.

Consultancy is facilitated through RIAD's strong linkages with clients, users and the wider community and includes critical and conceptual development of policy for public sector agencies and private sector as well as practice and design solutions that are realised through engagement with industry, commerce and the users of research.

Recent examples of research that has developed into spin-out company include Tactility Factory and commercial products such as Izak9 .

Technology and knowledge transfer strategies such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP’s) and the FUSION programme enable collaborative research driven growth within industry. These include 'Mobile Media Drogheda' and a KTP with CDE Global Ltd, graded as outstanding and received a certificate of excellence from Innovate UK (2017).

In addition to the extensive research base RIAD also has a consultancy operation 'Interacts'. This is an important resource for researchers but also extends assistance to graduates, enabling long term support to small businesses in the region for product development, prototyping and small batch production. Interacts has a regular client base and works regularly on projects for the growing regional film industry.


Digital Technology is advancing to create never before possibilities in design opening up new avenues in colour, fine detail and production time.

These technologies are highly specialised and on the whole not easily accessible. Interacts offers clients a unique opportunity to not only experiment with these new processes but also to combine them with each other and more traditional processes.

We have a diverse range of design and digital equipment suitable for prototyping and semi production runs for commercial and non-commercial uses. We present our clients with a high quality service helping them to identify and execute innovative concepts.

Our facilities

Digital Fabric Print (Mimaki TX3)

This is semi-production Mimaki TX3 digital printer. With a gamut of an 8 colour inkjet employing reactive inks, this printer produces prints on natural fabrics at high speeds. It allows designs of limit-less colour to be printed allowing previously impossible outcomes.

Transfer Printing (Mimaki JV22)

The JV22 is a large colour ink-jet plotter used for transfer printing, capable of high quality printing with 6 ink colours allowing unlimited colour possibilities. It can also print using graphic black ink; useful for printing graphic film which can then be used to expose images for screen printing.

Hard Surface Printing (Mimaki UJF)

This dynamic printer has the facility to print into 3D and 2D hard and soft, flat and textured surfaces. Its distinctive quality of print can be applied to materials such as glass, plastic and stone with photographic quality. The process utilises polymer inks curried and set by U.V light. The polymer inks are applied into the surface by layering. This enables a diversity of height to be achieved in the ink creating the desired depth of relief.

Digital Embroidery (Toyota Expert 9000)

These exceptional digital stitchers are employed for commercial and non-commercial uses. Their high-speed performance accommodates for up to 15 different threads. The versatility of the designs produced by these machines is enhanced by a sundry of available complex stitching styles.


This machine offers wide scale embroidery useful in Quilting, textile design and textile art. Capable of embroidering lengths of fabric with repeat stitch multi colour designs.

Laser Cutting (CadCam FB 1500)

This laser system can accommodate a diverse range of materials. Cutting and engraving techniques can be applied to variety of materials such as wood, Perspex, glass, paper and fabric. This devise is adapted to perform on a range of material sizes and includes a rotary bed allowing lengths of fabrics to be cut and/or engraved.

Screen Printing

Interacts also houses a 5m screen printing table for traditional processes such as reactive printing, pigment printing, flocking, discharge and devore.

These processes are offered by Interacts as a commercial service to independent artists and designers, creative businesses and students.
We also offer one to one days where clients can spend a full day with one of our trained members of staff, helping them to gain a better understanding of how the technology works and how it can best be applied to their individual creative requirements.

Interacts was founded as part of the Fabric Forward strand at INTERFACE (the Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design) at the Ulster University in Belfast. Fabric Forward is committed to engaging in collaboration at regional, national and international levels. It initiates new projects, collaborations and investigates methodologies, processes and textile practice. The centre is run by experienced staff with a wide spectrum of skills including 3D design, weaving, embroidery, dyeing, screen and digital printing.

To find out more about Interacts' commercial services or to arrange a visit to the centre please contact us.