Public event: Inclusive Creativity: Digital Practices (Hearts of STEM 2017)

Added on by Brian Bridges.

Inclusive Creativity: Digital Practices (Hearts of STEM 2017) is a public engagement symposium which is being organised by Dr Brendan McCloskey, Dr Brian Bridges and Prof. Frank Lyons at Ulster University, Magee campus on May 31st 2017. The event is being held in association with the Walled City Music Festival and is being supported by Garfield Weston.

The event is FREE to anyone interested in inclusion within the arts, education and community sectors.

Our first confirmed keynote is Prof. Tony Brooks (Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark)

Further details on the event Facebook page.

If you have questions about the event, please email brendanmac2017 [at] gmail [dot] com.


All symposium events will be held at the Foyle Arts Building (MQ building), Magee campus.

(Some associated concert events will be held at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin as part of the Walled City Music Festival.)

Year One Induction & Registration 2016/17

Added on by Terry Quigley.

Welcome to Creative Technologies.  

There are 2 key dates to note as part of your Induction and Registration process. See below for details:

Monday 19 September. Induction & Introductions.

Time: 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Location: MD106 Minor Hall (MD Building) Click here for directions. Staff will meet you at the entrance.

Activity: This will involve an induction into the course, a tour of the campus and facilities, a tour of the city and most importantly a chance to get to know each other and staff. We aim to finish by 4:30pm.

Wednesday 21 September. Registration.

Time: 11:30am - 5:15pm

Location: Sports Centre (MG Building) Click here for directions.

Registration begins promptly at 1130am. Terry (Course Director) will be there to assist you. In order to register you must bring the following:

  • Qualifications
  • Passport Photo
  • Photographic ID
  • Fees / Financial Forms

Once registered there will be an opportunity for lunch followed by a meeting with staff. You will then complete your Induction and Registration process with a Library Induction (4:15pm).

ISSTA International Festival and Conference on Sound in the Arts, Science and Technology

Added on by Brian Bridges.

The Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association is an organisation that brings together practitioners integrating fields of music, art, sound, science and technology.

ISSTA_workshop WEB-2.jpg

In 2016 we are hosting our 6th international festival at Magee campus and venues around Derry/Londonderry.

We’ll have public events including

    •    art installations

    •    spatial/electroacoustic music concerts

    •    electronic music gig nights

    •    workshops and talks from leading international figures (many of whom are coming to Northern Ireland for the first time!)



Venues include:

Bennigan’s, Sandinos, Nerve Centre FabLab, Echo Echo, Ulster University, Magee campus

Craft Village and Garden of Reflection Gallery

Visit Derry exhibition space, Echo Echo, St Columb’s Cathedral



Internship Opportunities (x2)

Added on by Greg O'Hanlon.

We currently have two internship opportunities available:

  • Creative Technologist (ID 500)
  • User Experience (UX) Researcher (ID 504)

In both cases the successful candidates will be working at the Tower Museum in conjunction with with the interactive team at the School of Creative Arts and Technologies. The project seeks to increase both engagement with, and the visitor experience of, the museum by employing careful research, prototype development, and visitor feedback. 

Each placement is for one month and includes a bursary of £1000.

For further information please visit Undergraduate Internships, or contact Greg

Video: arts and technology at our HEarts of STEM fesetival

Added on by Brian Bridges.

[HE]Arts of STEM is a new initiative of Ulster University’s Research Graduate School (Arts) and the School of Creative Arts and Technologies, in association with FabLab NI.

Through free public events, [HE]Arts of STEM will present talks, demonstrations and creative exhibits highlighting how the arts and technology are informing each other in the early 21st century…how Arts/Humanities and STEM need each other!

The first [HE]Arts of STEM festival was held Feb 24th and 26th 2016 at Ulster University’s Belfast and Magee (Derry/Londonderry) campusesand FabLab NI (Nerve Centre, Derry) as part of the 2016 NI Science Festival. Here's our recently-completed video giving you a flavour of the event, from singing bots to the maker movement and 3D printing, with leading local and international figures talking about the developing relationships between creative arts, humanities and STEM.

Added on by Terry Quigley.

Prospectus Entry 2016/17

We have been made aware of an issue with the Ulster University website which is preventing the appearance of the Creative Technologies (W900) entry for 2016/17. This is due to an update of the management software.

We would like to assure all applicants that the Creative Technologies programme will definitely be running in 2016/17 and that the apparent absence of the course listing is in no way related to the reported cuts at Ulster University. It is simply a software update issue.

Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us

HEArts of STEM Event

Added on by Terry Quigley.

[HE]Arts of STEM Festival, Feb 24th and 26th 2016

Ulster University and FabLab NI, in association with NI Science Festival

Celebrating ideas and creativity at the intersection between arts and technology

[HE]Arts of STEM is a new initiative of Ulster University’s Research Graduate School (Arts) and the School of Creative Arts and Technologies, in association with FabLab NI.

Through free public events in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, [HE]Arts of STEM will present talks, demonstrations and creative exhibits highlighting how the arts and technology are informing each other in the early 21st century…how Arts/Humanities and STEM need each other!

The first [HE]Arts of STEM festival will be held Feb 24th and 26th 2016 at Ulster University’s Belfast and Magee (Derry/Londonderry) campusesand FabLab NI (Nerve Centre, Derry) as part of the 2016 NI Science Festival.


Further details, including booking, here:  

Beyond Digital

Added on by Greg O'Hanlon.

As part of the AHRC Tenth Anniversary celebrations the School of Creative Arts and TechnologiesUlster University Magee will host a debate examining the idea that we have reached a point in the development of contemporary technologies where the term ‘digital’ has failed to have any real meaning and indeed where continued use of the term may actually be counter-productive. So-called digital practice is now almost entirely and unconsciously embedded in our everyday experience.  Today’s reality is now such that digital technologies are no longer emerging but have in fact emerged, and so we need to accept this post-digital position. So, what does it mean to live, learn, create, research or anything else in the post-digital context? This AHRC tenth anniversary debate will address these questions and is organised by the Research Centre for Creative Technologies (RCCT), Ulster University, Magee campus, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The event will take place on Wednesday 11 November 2015 in two cities, simultaneously streamed live from/to both locations.

The keynote speakers are:

Múirne Laffan, Managing Director, RTÉ Digital (Derry venue)

Bill Thompson, Head of Partnership Development, BBC (London venue)

The events will be chaired by Professor Paul Moore, Director of the Research Centre for Creative Technologies and Head of the School of Creative Arts and Technologies, Ulster University (Derry venue) and Anthony Lilley OBE, Professor of Creative Industries, Ulster University, AHRC Council Member, Associate for Arts and Digital, King’s Cultural Institute (London venue).

More information here

Induction Week 2015

Added on by Terry Quigley.

Induction & Registration.
Id like to extend a big welcome to our new year 1 students. Please note your itinerary below and ensure you bring all that is required for registration.


DAY 1. Wednesday 16 Sept.

1000 - Welcome & Introductions (MQ125 - MQ Building)
1130 - Registration (Sports Centre - MF218) PLEASE BRING
1300 - Lunch
1400 - Student Union talk
1445 - Tour
1615 - Library Induction
1715 - Finish

DAY 2. Thursday 17 Sept. (The Playhouse, Artillery Street)


0945 - Meet at The Playhouse
1000 - Create:2015  

Terry Quigley
Course Director

Do we expect too much from graduates?

Added on by Greg O'Hanlon.

…education is preparation for appointments not yet made

-Howard Swearer

(Brown University President 1977 – 1988)

How much can a young brain really absorb in the three or four (in the case of a placement option) years of an undergraduate degree programme? It is a question I ask myself more and more every year and is no doubt amplified by the current economic backdrop. The Creative Technologies (CT) programme is by definition a multi- and inter-disciplinary course of study and so a range of diverse but (we feel) related topics are discussed. Our goal ultimately is to provide the framework whereby students can explore, think and grow; graduating as well-rounded, culturally informed, creative citizens embodying: effective communications, discipline in their work, critical and analytical thought, high-level technical skills and business awareness. It is a complex recipe aimed at enabling the long-term success of our graduates which must be a leading requisite, right?

Why this breadth of study? Would it not be easier to specialise in particular fields and thereby keep everything, well, simpler? Yes, it would certainly be easier to rationalise the course content down to a smaller number of specific areas but this does not reflect the world outside. Firstly, by looking beyond specialised fields we develop different but complementary skills and as a result the mind grows and new possibilities for creatively combining and applying new knowledge and skills are discovered. The information silos of previous generations are just not something we can return to. Secondly, this approach protects students from possible professional obsolescence due to a change in the economic or business landscape where their specialist field may unfortunately be no longer in demand; evidence of which has been all too abundant in recent years. Lastly, students will sometimes require a little assistance in “finding their groove” – what area/s excite them most, where their talent/s lie, what kind of opportunities exist and some future gazing by way of assessing the long-term prospects of a particular pathway. On numerous occasions we have (very happily) observed students join us with one set of interests and graduate with a greatly expanded set.

Breadth however presents a not so insignificant challenge; in order to enable a greater breadth of study within the context of a fixed period of study, the lesser the depth of enquiry in some of the areas. In short, the broader the range of subjects, the less time you have to go deep on specific subjects. The application of knowledge to projects and real-world situations, as we all know, takes time. Experience takes time.

Education at higher level is not simply a set of required courses and exam results. It is the summation of all three or four years curricular achievements, personal development (much of it outside the institution), experience studying abroad or on placement and the wealth of experience that students gather while working together in labs, studios, project groups and in performance related areas e.g. music, drama, games, sports etc. A well educated individual understands that learning is lifelong.

When we hear from business leaders and their requirements from graduates the agenda will quickly shift towards skills, or more correctly, the (often specialised and experienced) skills they need today. I suspect few will argue that, in the main, education globally has in recent years underestimated the extent of change brought about by our increasingly technology-enabled world; and the same could also be stated for industry. Many were caught off-guard and success (for both the academy and business) comes down to an ability to adapt, and do so quickly. Integrating new and old experience through a constant cycle of review, refresh, refine or reject. Business and the academy do not exist in mutually exclusive worlds and it is imperative (for all our sakes) that we find a way to effectively amalgamate the goals of work readiness and long-term career success.

So, what can they absorb? As it turns out, given the right attitude, and every possible support from the institution, students can absorb quite a lot. What we haven’t yet found however is a means to hack experience. As already mentioned, this requires time. Post-graduate (applied) study and – as proposed by our own Professor Paul Moore – professional apprenticeships would appear to be a logical means to enable the deepening of skills through the experience of more projects; something we can all accept as essential.

Why we banned Facebook

Added on by Greg O'Hanlon.

Let’s first build some context around the title of this post; though the verb ban is used, we haven’t actually formally decreed that the use of Facebook is prohibited amongst our students – this would not be appropriate or possible amongst a group of adults – nor have we deployed network tools to restrict access to Facebook across School provided facilities. We have however made a strong case to all our students (assembled for a recent all-programme meeting) that the use of Facebook, including Facebook Groups, for course related activity is not supported by the course team. Why would we make such a decision and how do our students feel about it?

There are two main reasons for this decision:

Facebook is a company

Of all the social platforms Facebook has one unique qualifier, its size. With over 1 billion users worldwide (33 million in the UK) Facebook has unparalleled scale. Looking at it another way, approximately 1 in 2 of the UK population are on Facebook. I’m sure we can therefore agree that its reach into our society is unique. Consequently, Facebook has ceased to be viewed as a company – which it most definitely is – and more as a benign public utility – which it is not. A public utility would by definition be bound by a degree of governmental or community oversight. The same is not true for a company where the primary objective is to create value for itself and its shareholders – this value can also benefit the user base and I do not wish to imply a specific problem with the model, just that it is quite different from that of public utility.

On highlighting Facebook’s data brokerage activities one keen student asked how is Facebook allowed to do this? The question is most revealing and brings us to a key point, Facebook’s activities are governed by its (ever changing) Terms and Data Use Policy which all users agree to on signing up.

The combined terms of service and privacy policy – currently sitting at 14,000 words – state extremely broad operational norms and grant rights over user content. Of even more concern is the manner in which the policies are updated with seemingly little regard for the existing users of the service. As educators it is our responsibility and charge to fully inform students on the implications of clicking Sign Up.

Freedom to make mistakes

First and foremost amongst our objectives as a course is the provision of a safe environment for all our students. This environment must include the ability to make mistakes; reflecting on mistakes is after all an extremely important part of the learning process. In most cases, privacy settings on Facebook default to public which effectively means that content can be viewed across the entire platform, by anyone. Astute users are typically more diligent in the configuration of privacy settings however these users appear to be relatively small in number. Facebook’s privacy policy has resulted in a normalisation of public status, an emergent characteristic which most of us will find counterintuitive. Taking all of this into consideration combined with questions over the period of time for which Facebook retains deleted user data - removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time* – we (the CT team) have to conclude that Facebook is in direct contravention of our safe environment guiding principle and that it is not appropriate to leverage the service in the context of education, either officially or unofficially.

Communication and effective tools to enable sharing and collaboration are of fundamental importance to both staff and students of the programme. It is for this reason that we have operated our own bespoke communications and collaboration platform since 2006 – we call it CTNet**. CTNet has several social-like features and it is private to all but CT staff and students. Data is handled according to strict guidelines and when something is deleted, it really is deleted.

It was encouraging to find that the majority of our students were to some extent aware of the wider reality and further discussion revolved around online privacy and the implications of using other popular services like Google Search, Gmail and Twitter. While terms of service will apply to all online services, each service needs to be assessed individually.


* Extract from Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

** [update] As of May 2015 CTNet has evolved into Random Twist, a collaboration platform supporting three subjects: Cinematic Arts, CT and Design.