The knowledge connection for business

Client: Northern Ireland Media Academy
Knowledge Provider: North West Regional College
Sector: Creative and Digital Media

Northern Ireland Media Academy

The Northern Ireland Media Academy (NIMA) is a collaborative partnership between Further Education, Higher Education and business in the area of the creative and digital media. The Media Academy activities at North West Regional College are funded through Connected NI.

Score for electro-orchestral piece at Rise of the Machines, London Score for electro-orchestral piece at Rise of the Machines, London

The Northern Ireland Media Academy (NIMA) is a collaborative partnership between Further Education, Higher Education and business in the area of the creative and digital media. The Media Academy activities at North West Regional College are funded through Connected NI.

The aim of the partnership is to provide those in the creative and digital media sector with the knowledge, skills and experience they will require for the future. The partnership covers 4 main areas:


·      NIMA skills training programme

·      Guest lecturer programme

·      Best practice visits programme


Skills Training Programme


Within the skills training programme, since 2009 NIMA has organised over 50 seminars and workshops aimed at FE, HE and SMEs involving over a range of guest professionals. The programme is designed to meet the identified training needs within the sector and has covered a range of topics, from advanced work in post-production, animation and digital design software and hardware to workshops in developing creativity skills. 

Recent guests include:


Bill Shepherd – Production Editor at The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, he has run mobile journalism workshops for Guardian and Observer production journalists, writers and designers, The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and National Union of Journalists (NUJ).


Brendan J Byrne – Creative Director at Fine Point Films. His most recent film Bobby Sands: 66 Days, became the highest grossing NI produced film in Northern Ireland on its release in 2016.


Jemma Woolmore – An internationally celebrated specialist in projection mapping and live visuals. Currently based in Berlin, her work has been shown in Geneva, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Mexico City and Los Angeles. 


Dean Arnett – International award winning, documentary producer and award winning media trainer, designing and delivering courses for video-journalists and self-shoot producers.


Mark McCauley – BAFTA award winning cameraman and director whose work on TV & Film productions has taken him to over sixty countries in the world. 


Tony Perrey – President of Pulse College and Director at Windmill Lane Recording Studios, Ireland’s premier audio production facility whose clients have included David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheerin, U2 and the Rolling Stones.

Louise Gallagher

With an impressive list of production credits and after over 20 years’ experience at the BBC, Louise joined KGB Screen Ltd and was a Producer on their first feature film ‘Made In Belfast’, which was selected for screening at film festivals in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Palm Springs Florida, Seattle and Rome. She is currently finishing post-production on a new feature film ‘A Bump Along the Way’, featuring her sister, Bronagh Gallagher.

Shelly Love

Shelly is an award winning independent artist and director, having directed nearly 40 short film, commercials, TV productions (C4 and BBC) and music videos. Her films have screened at numerous film, dance, arts and music festivals worldwide, including in London, Stockholm, Paris, Hong Kong, Athens, Montreal and Amsterdam. Shelly directed the new feature film ‘A Bump Along the Way’, which will launch later this month. 

Previous guests include:

Paul Greengrass – one of the most influential film directors working today, whose works include The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatumand United 93),  Jeff Burke (Director of Technology Research Initiatives at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Los Angeles;

James Foster – multi-award winning Production Designer and Art Director who has worked on some of the most significant and successful films of the last 15 years, including Beauty and the Beast(2017), SkyfallQuantum of Solace, both of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, Children of MenGosford ParkChocolat andWorld War Z.  

François Kevorkian – producer, DJ, remixer, studio and label owner who has produced and remixed U2, Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Dido, LCD Soundsystem, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, The Cure and Eurythmics, to mention just a few.

Digital Innovation Day

In November 2018, in collaboration with the BBC Academy, NWRC hosted a Digital Innovation Day focusing on emerging augmented and virtual reality technology. The day included demonstrations and training from a range of successful UK and Irish companies and professionals on how they use immersive technology in filmmaking, VFX, gaming, animation, education, health care, business and advertising. Participating companies included:   

New Red(Creating factual and current affairs content for VR, AR, MR, film and TV, their clients include BBC, C4 and RTE.)   

Pink Kong(Award-winning studios creating content for VR & AR storytelling, including Ireland’s 1st Original animated virtual reality film, AURORA.)             

BBC(Showcasing 1943 Berlin Blitz, a powerful new virtual reality film.)

Sentireal(Creating VR and AR software applications for immersive learning on mobile and wearable devices with clients in healthcare, education, manufacturing, construction, safety training, hospitality and tourism.)                                        

VRAI(Specialising in VR and AR production, their recent projects include an AR app for Samsung, a series of 360 films for ChildFund and a VR experience for the United Nations Mine Action Service.)        

ClassVR(A versatile platform using the power of virtual and augmented reality for education and training across a range of sectors.)               

Nuprint(Leading the way in Irish design and print, Nuprint is pioneering the use of AR in commercial and industrial labels.)

Prototyping for WebVR–workshops by Alan Hook, Associate Head of the School of Communication and Media at the University of Ulster.  

Guest Lecturer Programme

Over the last 8 years, the NIMA guest lecturer programme has facilitated visits from over 60 guest professionals to NWRC and UU to offer guidance and training in a range of areas.

Best Practice Visits Programme

MIRA 2019

In November 2018, with the direct support of Connected Erasmus, representatives from NIMA visited MIRA, one of Europe’s most significant digital arts festival, held annually in Barcelona. The festival focuses on new trends in digital culture and technology and is based on three interconnected areas: exhibition, dissemination and education. The festival’s aim is to function as a platform for new creators to showcase unique, immersive, audio-visual experiences.

The highly innovative festival programme comprises 360º immersive screenings, digital art installations, 3D sound shows, conferences, presentations and workshops. The 360º projection dome and the 360º sound stage are both very much at the forefront of audio-visual technology and MIRA is keen to encourage new productions in these areas. 

NIMA representatives met formally with the festival director and festival personnel in charge of music and visual productions, press, and social media/web content with the aim of securing exhibition and performance opportunities for companies and rofessionals from Northern Ireland. The outcome was the offer from MIRA to create original content to be considered for performance at MIRA 2019 in 3 locations: the 360º MIRA Dome, the 360º sound stage and the main stage.  

Being invited to produce work for these locations provides a unique opportunity for local digital practitioners to develop new and pioneering skills and showcase original productions to international audiences. This will raise the artists’ profiles, the region’s profile and provide further revenue streams for those involved.  

Through Connected at NWRC, NIMA personnel are now working with a range of digital media companies to provide advanced training in the creation of 360º audio-visual content to showcase at MIRA 2019.

Impakt 2018

In order to gain an insight into current international developments in media technology, creative processes and digital culture, in October 2018, with the direct support of Connected and Erasmus, a representative from NIMA visited Impakt, another of Europe’s most significant digital arts festival, held annually in Utrecht, Netherlands. 

The NIMA representative was invited to join the Impakt Festival Professionals Programme which provided unique access to a network of creative and digital media companies, practising professional and academics. Meetings with the festival Director also provided the platform for ongoing development of screening and exhibition opportunities for work by NWRC and UU digital media students and creative arts companies from Northern Ireland.

The Rise of the Machines

In March 2018, Connected facilitated a visit to London by representatives of the Ulster Orchestra, NWRC, UU and Celtronic (Ireland’s leading electronic music festival and production studios, based in Derry), to view a collaborative music performance, Rise of the Machines, which brought together a 30-piece orchestra and experimental electronic composers.

The objectives of this visit was to allow participants to explore the possibilities of a collaboration between electronic music producers and the world of classical music. It also provided the opportunity to meet the musicians, composers, producers and organisers of Rise of the Machines.

The invaluable knowledge gained in this visit directly impacted on the creation of an original work by the Ulster Orchestra, Phil Kieran (Northern Ireland’s leading electronic music producer) and local musicians, which premiered as part of the Celtronic Festival in June 2018.

Contact Details of Knowledge Provider:
Knowledge Provider Name: North West Regional College 
Contact Name: Tony Talbot


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