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ACADEmy Institute

ACADEMY (the LSAD Institute for research into Art, Creative Education, Applied/Digital Design Enterprise, Media and Innovation) was founded in 2013. The foundation of this centre reflects the growing importance of art and design research cited in the LIT Research Strategy as a “Niche Strategic Research Area”. ACADEMY. ACADEMY acts as a centre to attract funding to encourage research mobility and also to support and grow LSAD research collaborations.

ACADEMY currently has 41 affiliated researchers and active research supervisors across the range of research specialities.

There are two designate research groups established under ACADEMY: Digital Arts Lab (based in Clonmel) and Interactive Systems Research Group (based in Moylish):

Digital Arts Lab – Principal Investigator, John Hannafin

The Digital Arts Lab is a research group established in 2016 on the Clonmel campus of Limerick Institute of Technology and is part of the ACADEMY Research Centre. The group exists to pursue research, scholarship, professional activity and consultancy within the Digital Arts discipline. The group seeks to explore the intersection of art and technology and its relationship with broader society, particularly within the areas of Digital Animation, Game Art & Design, Creative Media & Design and Visual Effects.

Interactive Systems Research Group – Principal Investigator, Dr. Flaithri Neff

(Proposed Centre for Creative Informatics) The Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) was formed in 2014 while hosted in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and moved with its associated programme (Music Technology) to LSAD in 2018. The Group hosts 6 research-active academic staff and 8 full-time postgraduate researchers. ISRG’s primary research activities are in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Informatics, and Machine Learning, and focus on modelling and codifying human perceptual systems for applied design frameworks. Under the proposed Centre for Creative Informatics, the Group aims to apply these frameworks to creative-arts applications and technologies, impacting the inherent synergies between the creative arts and computing/informatics. The Group already collaborates extensively with industry partners and are participating members of the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) where they lead the national committee NSAI/T002/SC19 tracking international standardisation ISO/IEC JTC1 SC29, as well as leading the Ireland Section of the Audio Engineering Society.

In 2020/2021, ACADEMY commenced the process of becoming one of the six new Research Institutes of LIT, and as such will become part of the new Technological University. Its official name will be ACADEMY - LSAD Research Institute. Under this Institute, the current Interactive Systems Research group will apply for recognition to become the Centre for Creative Informatics, specialising in informatics-led research and innovation in developing next-generation technologies for the creative industries and for the composing and performing arts. This proposed Centre will promote the inherent interchange between the creative arts and computer science, and will assimilate the Interactive Systems Research group’s existing research objectives of generating IP and standards specifications within the domains of creative-art practice, creative-art spaces, and applied creative technologies.

ACADEMY Steering Group :

The internal steering group members for ACADEMY include Mike Fitzpatrick, Dr. Tracy Fahey, Dr. Adam deEyto, James Greenslade,Dr. Flaithri Neff, John Hannafin, Eleanor Moloney, Michael McLoughlinn and Fiona Quill. Current external steering group members include Prof. Donna Lee Brien, Central Queensland University, Dr. Iain Biggs, University of the West of England and Dr. PJ White, Designcore, IT Carlow.


In 2014-2016 it ran its first Creative Europe project (SYMBOLS).

ACADEMYACADEMY has run a number of conferences in partnership with MIC, UL  and the University of Portsmouth.

In 2018 LSAD ACADEMY and UL School of Design co-hosted the DRS2018- CATALYST conference in Limerick with over 450 international delegates. (This prestigious conference is one of the largest global biannual events dedicated to Design Research). In 2014 it ran the international conference and festival, Locating the Gothic, and in 2017 it hosted the Supernatural Cities II conference in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth.

ACADEMY is involved with leading the coordination, editing and publication of ITERATIONS Design Research and Practice Review, Ireland’s only double blind peer reviewed ‘green open access’ publication in the field. ITERATIONS is published collaboratively with editorial and financial support from the other HEIs involved with Design and Creativity research on the Island of Ireland and was first seed funded under the Year of Irish Design in 2015. (Dr.Adam de Eyto (lead editor), Pamela Heaney and Dr. Tracy Fahey, co-editors)

European projects currently in train include Creative Europe projects Fusion, Wom@rts and Crafting Europe, and the INTERREG project 4-H CREAT. A descriptor of these projects is below. Currently, ACADEMY is working on two Erasmus Plus project applications, Surface and In Touch.


Fusion. - Supported by Creative Europe (Led by Michael McLaughlin).

The ‘FUSION’ project was created to upskill fashion and textile designers and makers with Digital Fabrication skills with the view to producing projects that enhance the lives of Active Ageing European Citizens. ACADEMY at LSAD is the lead partner in this project.

Core Activities

Masterclass Series • Residencies • Research into fabrication access for the Fashion & Textile Industry (launching in January 2021). Collaborative Design

  • Active Ageing
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Product Development
  • Creative Enterprise

Open Call was launched in early 2020. Participants have been chosen. Masterclasses are scheduled (online) for Spring 2021.

Wom@rts. Creative Europe Project 2018-2021. (Dr. Tracy Fahey, project director, Fiona Quill artistic director.)

From an interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial perspective, Wom@rts pursues women’s equal share presence in the Arts, in terms of visibility, promotion and access to the market and offers specialised training to emerging artists. Wom@rts aims to highlight and support the creativity of women from a cross-sectoral perspective, focussing on – and inter-linking when possible – with the following sectors of the Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCs):

  • Literature/publishing/comics
  • Fine & Visual arts and (incl. printmaking, lens based media, new digital tendencies)
  • Performing arts (music & performances)
  • Cinema

LSAD facilitated residencies in 2019 with Limerick printmakers for 10 participating artists, have had 3 Meet the Masters VLS, hosted residency open calls and a sent 6 artists to residencies in Spain and Ireland, hosted a steering committee and has just concluded a pioneering training programme for emerging artists including a number of LSAD graduates (again, applied for through an open call) with a particular focus on growing their marketing and entrepreneurial capacity.

 4-H CREAT. INTERREG project (John Hannafin , project director,  LSAD Clonmel)

4H-CREAT aims to generate transnational knowledge transfer models to enhance the sharing of results from research institutions to the Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) SME’s by developing innovative products through a transnational Quadruple Helix cooperation approach (end-user involvement and co-design). The quadruple helix framework advocates the coming together of industry, university, government and civic society (the four helices) at a regional level to stimulate and advance innovation and regional growth. The 4HCREAT INTERREG project is particularly interested in the application of this framework while focusing exclusively on the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) and involving Generation Z as the “civic society representative”. In addition, the project seeks to exploit and explore opportunities arising from digital technology and economy.

Crafting Europe. Supported by Creative Europe, (Led by Michael McLaughlin)

 ‘Crafting Europe’ project was inspired by the need to build capacity within the crafts sector across Europe. A key focus of this project is to enhance new skills and improve employability of emerging and current professionals in the craft sector.

Core Activities:

Crafting Business (This programme aims to share expertise and knowledge to support the business development of newcomers to the industry. Crafting Business focuses on building business skills, generating revenue, and supporting marketing and promotion in micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • iAtelier (a programme of activities designed to encourage innovation by integrating new digital fabrication technologies into craft practice.)
  • Craft Industry Research

SuirV. (Led by John Hannafin.)

This a Sports Ireland Innovation for Sports Inclusion funded project run by Digital Arts Lab based in the BuzzQuarter within the LIT Questum Acceleration Centre in Clonmel. The project is seeking to increase participation in canoeing through the development and application of a bespoke Virtual Reality experience.

AISHT (Éist – Listen). Led by Dr Flaithrí Neff.

Acoustically-aware IoT for Smart Homes and Transport). This project is at an early phase, but already has partnership with 1x multinational, 1xSME, 1x Public Body. The aims of this project is to embed machine-listening capabilities in IoT devices that relay data via Edge Gateway Networks. In environments where it may be useful to acquire acoustic information, the project aims to explore how embedded IoT devices are able to codify auditory scenes, segregate auditory streams, and formulate text-based scene descriptors through anonymisation/security layers.