Project Name

Creative Futures Academy


For more information, please visit our website at

Provide a short description of the project

Creative Futures Academy (CFA) is a ground-breaking partnership between three leading creative institutions: The National College of Art and Design, University College Dublin, and the Institute of Art, Design + Technology. Together we offer new skills, fresh networks and opportunities for learning throughout your life and career.

Thinkers and leaders from academia, the creative arts and industry have come together to create new programmes and fully accredited micro courses, putting you in control of your choices. As part of the Creative Futures family, you can access tailored courses that offer exciting and flexible ways of learning, new networks, extra-curricular resources and more.

In 2023, all CFA partners are delivering new and enhanced degree (BA) and masters programmes (MA) alongside a range of accredited short courses. Undergraduate degree programmes offer a broader range of industry expertise while masters programmes will offer greater flexibility through part-time options.


Each institution offers courses in their area of expertise including animation, digital technologies, screen and media; creative writing, music and performing arts; visual and applied arts and design. See an example of the variety of courses we will have coming on-stream in 2023 here:

Join us as we innovate, experiment and meet future change together.

Pictured: CFA Launch event in UCD.

Project Team


Louise Allen, Creative Futures Academy, Director,

Shauna Kelly, Creative Futures Academy, Communications Coordinator,



David Smith, President, IADT

Dr. Elaine Sisson, Academic Lead, IADT Creative Futures Academy



Professor P.J. Mathews, Director, UCD Creative Futures Academy

Dr. Nicolas Pillai, Academic Lead, UCD Creative Futures Academy



Professor Sarah Glennie, Director, NCAD

Professor Alex Milton, Academic Lead, NCAD Creative Futures Academy

Highlight interesting collaborations / partnerships

CFA works closely with industry experts and academics to identify future skills and knowledge needs across the creative and cultural sector. It brings together programmes that respond to and fill these needs in a way that is meaningful, impactful and centred on the experience of the learner. These span screenwriting, cultural entrepreneurship, new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, user experience design and more.


Creating a dynamic and important network, our Industry Council brings together representative organisations from the creative and cultural sector.


Pictured: Circular by Design Innovation Festival in Smock Alley as part of CFA Launch.

The Industry Council currently includes:


Working with the Industry Council, CFA seeks to identify current and future trends informing the learning needs of each sector. This knowledge is helping the three CFA partner colleges – NCAD, IADT and UCD – to collaboratively develop learning experiences across the three institutions that enhance career opportunities for students and allow academic staff across the three colleges to work together.

CFA Pilot modules

CFA at NCAD, IADT and UCD have engaged at different levels with Industry Council partners throughout 2021 and 2022 to develop and deliver innovative courses that respond to skill needs in the creative sectors. Pilot modules delivered in 2021 were offered to Industry Council members who provided feedback on course structure and content through our evaluation process.


CFA scholarships & EDI

CFA research has highlighted the need for far greater diversity, access and inclusion both within HE’s and across the Creative and Cultural industries. All members of the Industry Council have committed to supporting joint actions that will help to attract and support a more diverse cohort of learners that is inclusive and representative of Ireland’s plural society. As a first step CFA has developed a scholarship programme which offers one free place on all of its short course offerings. The scholarships were launched in late 2022 and applications have been received for courses that are currently recruiting.


Marketing and PR

As part of its marketing and PR strategy, CFA has identified a number of festivals and events to promote CFA, driving learner awareness and recruitment. This includes the Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF) where the CFA launch video ‘Feed the Spark’ will be screened as part of the Festival advertising reel, with an expected audience of up to 20,000 people and at GASP! The Business of Digital Storytelling Conference in Limerick.

Provide a brief summary of the project’s key enterprise engagements to date

CFA has also built relationships with partners by co-hosting collaborative programmes, integrating them into classroom teaching and hosting seminars with guest speakers. See some examples below:


The six-week ReWrite Creative Futures Now Summer School provided arts training and mentorship for ten 18-25 yos with family experience of Direct Provision. Students received skills training and workshops at RTÉ, Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre, MoLI and the National Concert Hall, consolidating existing CFA partnerships and creating new ones. This initiative received additional funding from UCD’s Widening Participation fund. The course ended with a student performance at MoLI followed by presentations from Irish Ambassador to Nigeria Síle Maguire and singer Tolü Makay.

Pictured: Participants from the More Like a Walking Tree immersive module with NCAD and IMMA and guest speaker Sean McCabe.


NCAD ran a collaborative week-long immersive in 2022 with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) called More like a Walking Tree. The project took place on NCAD campus, IMMA and surrounding areas, and harnessed tools of outdoor and onsite collaboration and explored alternative perspectives in this time of uncertainty around ecological imbalances. It attracted a diverse group of learners including recent graduates, early and mid-career practitioners and current students from such backgrounds like visual arts, design, critical writing, education.



IADT engaged with Gréasán na Meán Skillnet and Stiúideo Telegael during 2022 in the development and delivery of future programmes in the area of technical and spectacle arts. Gréasán na Meán Skillnet and Telegael worked with us to deliver a Design for Technical Arts Workshop and a Certificate in Professional Skills for Creative Industries (Professional Portfolio). Design for Technical Arts was an end-to-end (from story to realisation) character design workshop with ten students. This course was delivered in a blended format, with three online sessions followed by two week-long intensive workshops in the Telegael Studios in Spiddal, Connemara. Engagement with Gréasán na Meán Skillnet has continued with an MOU signed in 2023.

Pictured: Students from ‘Design for Technical Arts’ course run by IADT in partnership with Gréasán na Meán Skillnet.

Project Showcase

Pictured: As part of the CFA Launch 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.

CFA Social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

CFA website:


CFA is continuing to develop and roll out innovative and flexible courses for learners in all stages of their journey. HCI funding has supported the rapid transformation of infrastructure, knowledge sharing and engagement across and within partner institutions and has led to deeper engagement and relationship building with industry partners. It has supported the development of modules and curriculum plans informed by new overarching programme architectures to provide new course offerings and award frameworks.

Importantly, the HCI’s support has provided CFA the time and resources to support new ideas, to experiment with technology, to investigate best practice internationally, to collaborate with partners, and to design and trial pilots and projects with our partners.

As part of the launch programme, over 40 courses at Level 8 and Level 9 were announced representing a dramatic uplift in the provision of skills in areas of identified skills needs. The new micro-credit pedagogic architecture implemented (in NCAD and IADT) to support this level of programme rollout allows for a much higher degree of responsiveness to industry.

See all upcoming and past courses CFA courses.

 Pictured: World famous composer, musician and CFA Artist-in-Resident at UCD Dónal Lunny and Dr Peter Moran performed with eleven students from their Traditional Music Practice module at the CFA launch.


CFA Launch

In November 2022, we were thrilled to officially launch Creative Futures Academy. 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 was an amazingly creative, innovative (and very busy) week of activities and events. Close to 1,000 people engaged with the programme of events to mark CFA’s future ambitions for flexible, creative learning with a host of engagement and input from experts in the creative industry.

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. Find out more HERE

Pictured: Design for Technical Arts students with Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD as part of CFA Launch photoshoot.

As part of the launch, Minister Harris participated in a pre-arranged photo shoot at NCAD Gallery on the 7th of November. The photos (by Marc O’Sullivan) featured in the Irish Times (front cover), Independent (page 8) and Irish Examiner (online). In addition, tech outlet Silicon Republic carried a story on the launch.


Other information:


  • Press: The press section of the CFA website hosts CFA press releases and stories of interest to Media.
  • News and Events: See some of our key news and event items

Pictured: IADT students with Mauro Porcini and Sonya Lennon as part of CFA Launch programme. The event was broadcast live and crewed by IADT Film + TV students.




Last updated: Monday 24 April 2023

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