Masterclass Series

The Centre for Creative Technologies masterclass series features local, national and international speakers drawn from communities of research and creative practitioners. The sessions are open to students, researchers, staff, as well as artists and makers in the creative and cultural sector.

The objectives of the series are to:

  • learn from the experiences of our speakers,
  • to provide a forum for a discussion on issues facing those working with creative technologies, and
  • to facilitate networking and contribute to the creation of a community of practice, for those interested in the creative application of emerging technologies.

2023-24, Semester 2

Jane Conway – Neuroscience of Creativity  

16th January, 2024: Creativity is a key skill with increasing relevance for contemporary and future societies. This seminar presents an overview of how the human brain affords us the ability to think creatively. We will: [1] examine the neural basis of the creative process as revealed through neuroimaging methods; [2] explore why people differ in levels of creative ability; and [3] evaluate creativity-enhancing interventions including brain stimulation, pharmacological agents, and behavioural changes. Beyond understanding the production of creative work, we will also consider the recognition of creativity and how it differs to intelligence from a neuroscientific perspective. Finally, we will review experimental evidence from the Cultural Evolution literature that suggests limiting factors to innovation due to how information is transferred intergenerationally and ways we might overcome any such psychological constraints on our creativity capacity.

Bio: Dr Jane Conway is an SFI-IRC Pathway Fellow and Honorary Research Lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Galway. She is an experimental psychologist who focuses on higher order cognition in humans, specializing in the role of culture in shaping the mental processes that allow us to represent abstract features of the world. She directs the Scientific Arts Lab, an interdisciplinary group that studies the development of scientific concept literacy through creative practice.

Máiréad Ní Chróinín – Researching and publishing on practice-based work using creative technologies  

31st January, 2024: This talk will be in two parts: the first part will focus on Dr. Ní Chróinín's current research, which explores the creation of 'ecological perception' through performances that utilise creative technologies.

The second part of the talk is aimed at practice-based PhDs, and will explore writing and publishing on practice-based work, based on Dr. Ní Chróinín's experience as an early-career researcher and artistic practitioner.
Speaker Bio
Dr. Máiréad Ní Chróinín is a theatre artist and researcher.  In her individual practice Máiréad has worked with body-centric technologies (sensors, mobile technologies and VR & AR technologies), to create immersive and interactive works that place the audience member at the centre of the experience.  She has presented work in Dublin Fringe Festival, Galway Theatre Festival and Galway Early Music Festival, among others. In 2018 she took part in the SPACE residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, hosted by Performance Corporation, which focused on intersections between VR and AR design and theatre practice.  Most recently, she created a sound-walk commissioned by The Lighthouse Project and Cúirt International Festival of Literature, and co-created ‘Mona’, a work-in-progress sound-walk, with James Riordan, commissioned by Galway Theatre Festival.
Máiréad received her PhD from NUI Galway, focusing on how mobile digital technologies can be used to tap into and transform audience members' sensory, embodied experiences in ways that engender empathy and critical reflection.  Her current research focuses on ways that creative technologies can intersect with the body of the participant to engender 'ecological perception' and engagement with climate and ecological issues. 
Máiréad is Co-Artistic Director of Galway-based theatre company Moonfish Theatre, which has produced award-winning theatre in partnership with Babroró, GIAF, Dublin Fringe and the Town Hall Theatre, among others.  She is Druid Lecturer at the Drama and Theatre Studies Department of University of Galway, where she lectures on ensemble theatre, producing, arts management ,and body and performance.

Paul O'Neill – Critical Media Art and the ‘Cloud’   

21st February, 2024: This talk will provide an overview of ‘critical’ media artists who engage with issues associated with contemporary algorithmic culture including surveillance, data sovereignty and the environmental impacts of information communication technologies within their practices. These artists are influenced by subfields of media theory including tactical media, critical making and media archaeology.  

Following this, Paul will document a series of his ongoing practice-based work which focuses on the relationship between the physical and corporate infrastructures of the internet in Ireland and beyond, including Dublin Infrastructure Tour (2018 – 2023), Greetings from… (2022) and we are all going to make it (in progress). This work draws on the aforementioned subfields of media theory and spans a wide range of creative practices and techniques including countermapping, open source intelligence, remix and culture jamming.  

Participants are encouraged to bring a connected device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) as the talk will conclude with a short exercise focusing on mapping networked infrastructure - no technical expertise required.

Speaker Bio

Dr Paul O'Neill is a postdoctoral researcher at the ADAPT Centre for AI-Driven Technologies in University College Dublin. His practice and research is concerned with the implications of our collective dependency on networked technologies and infrastructures. He has exhibited and presented his work at numerous cultural institutions and events including Science Gallery (Ireland), Ars Electronica (Austria), Inspace (Scotland) and NeMe (Cyprus), and his research has featured in publications from the Institute of Network Cultures and ANNEX – Ireland’s representative at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

Paul is also the research lead for the Beta Festival of Art & Technology and co-curator of the Dublin Art & Technology Association (DATA). 


Conn Holohan and Marianne Ní Chinnéide – Co-Designing Socially Engaged Research: The Approach of Immersive Empathy

27th February, 2024. Much has been written about the power of virtual reality to put the viewer in someone else’s shoes and increase empathy towards those who experience social marginalization. However the wave of humanitarian VR films that have been produced in recent years has also raised questions about who gets to tell their stories and on whose terms they are invited to speak. Whilst viewers of virtual reality films can find themselves transported to a Syrian refugee camp or a slum in Kenya, critics have argued that such films act less as challenges to inequalities than as a form of misery tourism.

The Immersive Empathy Project is an initiative of researchers within the disciplines of film, drama, psychology, business and digital humanities at the University of Galway that responds to both the potential and the criticisms of immersive reality as a tool for social change. Working with clients of Galway Simon who have experienced homelessness, it situates the principles of co-creation and consent at the heart of its storytelling process. Over the course of several months, it involved a series of workshops that empowered the participants to tell their own stories and to translate those personal narratives into an immersive film, Lost & Found, exploring the experience of homelessness from the perspective of those who have lived it.

This masterclass will introduce participants to the methodologies employed on the Immersive Empathy project along with some of the ethical questions raised by socially engaged research.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Conn Holohan is Director of the Centre for Creative Technologies. His research explores creative engagements with space and place.


Cissie Fu – A Singular Harmony: on the Kinematics of Creativity and the Language of Intelligences

13th March, 2024 – “We are pressed into lines, just as lines are the accumulation of such moments of pressure,” writes Sara Ahmed in Queer Phenomenology (2006), to which this anachronistic rejoinder from Virginia Woolf’s “Craftsmanship” (1937) rings resonant, still: “[Some words] show no trace of the strange, of the diabolical power which words possess when they are not tapped out by a typewriter but come fresh from a human brain.”

By tracing the geometries of movement that liberate various structures of form and metre, this masterclass invites us to risk intervention through variable foot and cadence units, towards crafting invention with more-than-human intelligences, algorithmic or heuristic, artificial or indigenous.  Let us consider the conditions under which, in the poetic prose of William Carlos Williams’s Kora in Hell – Improvisations XXII (1970), “a thing known passes out of the mind into the muscles” and compose lines of flight that converge and diverge into a neuropolyphony.

Speaker Biography

Dr Cissie Fu (AB Harvard; MSt, MSc, DPhil Oxford) is a political theorist and co-founder of the Political Arts Initiative, which invites 21st-century imag-e-nations of the political through digital technology and the creative and performing arts.

Born in Hong Kong, Cissie taught and performed across cultural and educational institutions in Asia, Europe, UK, and the Americas.  She recently joined University of the Arts Singapore as Head of the McNally School of Fine Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts, after having served as Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver and earlier as Director of Studies at Leiden University College in The Hague.

Cissie’s research connects politics, philosophy, and performance.  Her interests in relational aesthetics and decolonial action, combined with her experiments in experiential and transformative organisational design, inform her approach to institution-building as a creative, critical and communal cultural practice.

EL Putnam – Broken Memories: Generative Image Manipulation with p5.js

20th March, 2024 – EL Putnam will introduce processes of generative image manipulation using p5.js, focusing on a the recent project Phase Relation. Using arts-based research, Putnam engages in speculative inquiry regarding how we grieve with technology. This class will include a brief artist talk followed by a demonstration and workshop using p5js to modify imagery and create generative animations. Participants should bring a laptop and some digital images.

Speaker Bio

EL Putnam is an artist-philosopher working predominately in performance art and digital technologies. She is a member of the Mobius Artists Group (Boston), Bbeyond (Belfast), and the International Association of Art Critics. Exhibitions of note include the solo exhibition PseudoRandom at Emerson Contemporary in Boston, MA, USA (2023) and Living Canvas in Dublin (2022). Recent publications include the monograph The Maternal, Digital Subjectivity, and the Aesthetics of Interruption (Bloomsbury 2022) and Livestreaming: An Aesthetics and Ethics of Technical Encounter (University of Minnesota Press 2024). She is Assistant Professor in Digital Media at Maynooth University in Ireland and holds a PhD from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts.

Abigail Rekas – Copyright-AI-bility

9th April, 2024 – This talk will provide a ten-cent tour of copyright doctrine in the US & Europe, particularly as it is impacted by the development of Gen AI. The rights of authors, creators, and artists will be explored, as well as those of intermediary businesses like publishers. It will then move to the various litigation ongoing in the US and UK brought by publishers, artists, authors and newspapers. The outcomes of these cases are highly relevant to the survival of Gen AI models as we know them. Lastly this talk will turn to the question of who copyright serves, what its purpose is, and whether there is room at the table for new types of creativity – perhaps even creativity supported by Gen AI tools.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Abigail Rekas is a lecturer in law & innovation in the School of Law at the University of Galway, and a US attorney. She is a copyright law and policy scholar with strong views about accessibility. She is also deeply interested in the preservation of and access to cultural heritage, including digital assets. Recent research centers around access to justice for persons working in the arts, including understanding and planning for the GenAI impact. She teaches intellectual property law and several microcredential courses around law and technology at the University of Galway.



2023-24, Semester 1

Sean Burns – Augmented Creativity

15th September, 2023: Join Sean Burns of 4e as he showcases the current Augmented Reality (AR) technologies including Hololens glasses and phone based tech.

Mauricio Flores – Immersive sound

18th September, 2023: This masterclass will delve into the fundamentals of audio perception and sound spatialization with Mauricio Flores.

Jo Mangan and Guillaume Auvery – Motion Capture

20th September, 2023: Jo Mangan and Guillaume Auvery will present on discoveries and hard-won learnings on the creation of work in the immersive realm.

Eoghan Kidney – Designing for New Realities

17th October, 2023: 

The immersive technology sector is experiencing remarkable growth: Companies like Meta and Apple are introducing cutting-edge headsets, venues are creating high fidelity digital experiences, virtual production is transforming film and TV, and the metaverse concept is gaining traction. As this field develops, so do our design methods. How do we design reality itself?

Eoghan Kidney is a creative director with over 20 years experience working across video, film, animation and immersive content. He has worked extensively in AR and VR, with his credits including story and interaction design on the Emmy Nominated "Goliath: Playing With Reality" documentary for the Meta Quest.

Joanna Walsh – AI and Creative Writing

31st October, 202

Joanna Walsh will present her Markievicz-award-winning, the first generative text project* to be supported by the Irish Arts Council. is a work of two halves: an AI chatbot trained on Constance Markievicz's prison letters and interviews with 20th century Dublin women collected by Máirín Johnston in her 1988 book Dublin Belles, plus a choose-your-own-critical-theory adventure essay investigating language, autonomy, creativity, and gender identity. Joanna Walsh has both programmed the AI and written the essay, but is she the author of either ‘work’?

Miss-Communication was also published in print by JOAN (copies will be available for sale on the day).

"Miss-Communication is a radical work of art in book form. With effervescent experimentation, Joanna Walsh stretches and challenges parameters of literature, theory, history and the digital world. Brilliantly she aligns a cast of theoreticians with voices of Irish women who speak to us through a dynamic hybrid mechanistic structure, somewhere between screen-play, technical instruction and historical record. Repetition, deconstruction and reconstruction fold into each page making for a unique textual-verbal architecture that deftly subverts limits of thought to create new understanding. Captivating. "

– Anne Tallentire

After a short break, Joanna will lead a workshop using Twine, a simple, free digital narrative tool, to play with the possibilities of digital writing discussed during the first part of the session. This workshop is aimed at everyone who writes--no specialist digital literacy required.

It's essential that participants bring a laptop, and download the free programme, Twine, from, before the session. (It is possible to use Twine direct on any web browser but some of the online functions differ and we'll be working from the downloaded version). They should also bring a short text that they would like to explore, de- and reconstruct. This text can be in any genre, fiction or nonfiction, written by the participant or by someone else. As an optional extra, they can also bring one or more digital images they might like to incorporate.

The session will wrap up with a short discussion of the work we've produced, and questions.

Sarah Jones – Jumping into the Metaverse

13th November, 2023

Virtual reality has come a long way since headsets had to be bolted to the ceiling as they were too heavy for a person to support them. In this discussion, Sarah Jones, Professor of Education Innovation at the University of Gloucestershire, will take us on a journey through the metaverse, taking an interdisciplinary approach to our understanding of immersive technology. This session will explore the opportunities of the creative technologies, challenging you to think differently.

Alan Hook – Immersed in Domes – or Learning to Look Up

14th November, 2023

In this presentation, Senior Lecturer in Ulster University, Alan Hook will survey a new body of practice work that he has been collaborating on with musicians, storytellers, and artists to create immersive experiences for dome projection. The talk will showcase the Psychlorama project, a 4 movement immersive electronic music collaboration, Star Wolf, an immersive story, and Baba Jaga, a real time rendered spatial story for 7-12 year olds. The talk will be full of practical tips, hacks, work arounds and workflow advice to create immersive experiences for domes as well as new insights in immersive story.


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