launch-event news

CFA is officially launched!

Shauna Kelly

We are thrilled to announce that Creative Futures Academy is officially launched!

What an incredible week it has been – from inspiring discussions and performances to the very first Circular by Design Innovation Festival and a 24 HR Design Challenge for students of IADT, NCAD and UCD. It has been an amazingly creative, innovative (and very busy) week of activities and events.

We were also excited to premiere our CFA video titled ‘Feed the Spark’. Read by Malik; this video was produced by BigO and shot across the CFA partner’s campuses of UCD, IADT and NCAD.

Here’s a brief overview of what we got up to as part of our CFA launch event programme!

On Wednesday 16th November we hosted our kick-off launch event at O’Reilly Hall in UCD. The evening was hosted by musician turned ad and filmmaker Nick Kelly. As part of the event, creatives Jess Majekodunmi, Director of the Human Science Studio, Accenture; Daniel Staines from creative production studio, Algorithm and actor / screenwriter and CFA Artist-in-Residence at UCD Mark O’Halloran spoke about their ambitions for the future with CFA Director, Louise Allen.

World famous composer and musician and CFA Artist-in-Resident at UCD Dónal Lunny and Dr Peter Moran performed with eleven students from their Traditional Music Practice module. They were joined by surprise guest Paul Brady.

Director of the Dublin International Film Festival, and lecturer on the CFA Cinema Creatives module at UCD, Gráinne Humphreys, chaired a panel of Ireland’s brightest screen talent: actor Clare Dunne and filmmakers Aisha Bolaji, Derek Ugochukwu and Rachel Carey. 

The evening closed with two special spoken word performances by UCD graduates: writer, journalist and performance poet, Keev Boyle-Darby, and theatre-maker, drag performer and graphic designer, Róisín Sheridan-Bryson.

The launch programme continued on the 17th November with the Circular by Design Innovation Festival, an NCAD partnership with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI), which took place at Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar. The morning programme of talks showcased national and international best practice. Speakers included Gwen Cunningham, Circularity Lead at NCAD; Jade Wilting, Environmental Responsibility Manager at Danish fashion giant GANNI; Prof Becky Earley, Founder of the Centre for Circular Design at University of the Arts, London and Thami Schweichler, Founder & CEO of Makers Unite and United Repairs Centre, Amsterdam. You can watch the recording here

During the afternoon industry workshop, over 100 stakeholders from across Ireland’s textiles supply chain came together to chart the barriers and opportunities to change, and to identify practical actions and solutions needed to make the transition to a circular textiles system. The festival closed with a showcase and pitch-presentations from the 11 Irish companies pioneering circular design solutions within the pilot training programme. 

On 18th November, at IADT, Irish horror fiction author Maura McHugh led a workshop on ‘Narratives for an Uncertain Future’ with students from IADT, NCAD and UCD. In just a few hours, participants created original stories, drawings and even a short movie shaped around the topic of climate crisis.

Also on the 18th, at NCAD, Diversifying Design, a talk and panel discussion co-hosted by CFA at NCAD, IDI and DesignOpp discussed how the design sector can collectively foster a culture of inclusion that welcomes difference, promotes agency, and facilitates shared community building. Chaired by Alex Milton, Head of the School of Design NCAD; key speakers included Mic Chikandra and Greg Orsborne, co-founders of DesignOpp and Dr. Jacinda N. Walker, founder of designExplorr.

On 18th and 19th November, IADT also hosted a 24-hour Design Challenge and a Design for Technical Arts Showcase. With a grand prize of €1,000, the 24-hour Design Challenge tasked students from IADT, NCAD and UCD with completing a series of design-thinking games against the clock and presenting their final ideas. Student groups identified problems facing contemporary society and came up with solutions to aid or resolve them through the use of design thinking methodologies. Students were free to innovate and explore without restriction, the only rule being that their prototypes needed to respond to one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Design thinking facilitator Raomal Perera, an expert in the field of invention projects, led the teams through a multi-stage process of identifying, empathising, defining, ideation, and prototyping. Teams approached challenges such as clean-water shortages, leaks in water-supply infrastructure and pipelines, food wastage, clothing over-consumption, community policing and sustainable farming.

Two teams received a joint first-place prize, with both teams receiving €1,000. One winning proposal looked at the issue of community policing and repairing damaged relationships between police and public communities. The joint-first prize was also awarded to the team who proposed a development which helped time-short households reduce their food wastage. These proposals were future-oriented, and each spoke to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through these proposals, students exhibited passion for problem-solving related to the earth’s sustainability, and demonstrated both a willingness to take responsibility for, and to generate solutions for problems affecting wider global communities. 

Meanwhile, the fantastical life-size character busts created as part of the Design for Technical Workshop pilot project that ran in Spiddal in May and June this year were on display as part of the Design for Technical Arts showcase. The ten impressive, life-size character busts were on display for all to see, showcasing the talent of CFA at IADT’s students and staff. 

And last but by no means least, on 22nd November, PepisCo Chief Design Officer, Mauro Porcini spoke at IADT about his new book ‘The Human Side of Innovation: The Power of People in Love with People’ as part of CFA’s grand finale of events. Mauro spoke to a full house at the National Film School, in conversation with Sonya Lennon. He discussed some of the central themes of his new book explaining that the “key to real, world-changing innovation is the ability to identify individuals who have the mindset of “unicorns.” These human-centred individuals combine vision and execution, innovation and productivity, and kindness and optimism to create meaningful solutions for actual human beings…” The event was broadcast live and crewed by IADT Film + TV students.  You can watch the recording of the event here

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in or contributed to our jam-packed events programme – from students, creatives, academics and artists to our photographers, production and camera crew and more – we couldn’t have done it without you all! And of course, thank you to each and every one of you who joined us in-person or online throughout the week. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and that we have inspired you to continue ‘feeding the spark’.

More about us:

Creative Futures Academy is a space where some journeys begin and others evolve, allowing learners at all stages of their career to explore creative, flexible and collaborative learning.

We are a unique partnership between NCAD, IADT and UCD. Through direct engagement with industry experts, CFA identifies future skills and knowledge needed to create a sustainable and vibrant creative and cultural sector.