Ulster Festival of Art and Design

University of Ulster welcomes top design talent to Belfast

The University of Ulster has teamed up with leading Belfast law firm Carson McDowell to bring some of the world’s top commercial designers and leading artists to Northern Ireland for the first ever Ulster Festival of Art and Design.

The festival - which will run from June 8-20 at the university’s Belfast campus - is the only festival of its kind in Ireland and will see a host of international talent coming to the city as well as act as a shop window for emerging Northern Irish arts and design practitioners.

Festival highlights include a talk by the internationally acclaimed guru of typography, Bruno Maag, whose foundry creates fonts for companies such as Tesco, Toyota, Burberry and Puma.

There will be an illustrated talk by Wayne Hemingway, one of Britain's foremost designers, who co-founded the Red or Dead fashion label and whose design portfolio includes Shakup Sheds, Rubber flooring, Water Butts and the Roadrunner folding bike.

Also adding to the eclectic mix of events will be renowned product designer Jay Osgerby, Magnum photographer David Hurn and acclaimed jeweller Fritz Maierhofer.

In addition to a packed programme of talks, workshops, screenings and exhibitions, the 2009 festival will incorporate the annual Student Shows, which showcases the work of graduating artists and designers incorporating everything from fine art to fashion and architecture to product design.

The opening of this year’s festival will also be marked with an extravagant fashion show featuring work from textile and fashion design students and graduates (the models above are wearing work by student Jennifer Cash), which will take place in the foyer of the newly refurbished Belfast campus.

University of Ulster vice chancellor, professor Richard Barnett, said: 'This year marks the 160th anniversary of the School of Art and Design and the festival is an important occasion in our calendar of celebratory events.

'The diverse programme of events in the festival reflects the growing breadth of study at Ulster. This is a major contributor to our economy as the creative industries continue to expand, it adds to our society’s richness and asserts our position as a centre of national significance in creativity and innovation.'

Alan Reilly, senior partner at Carson McDowell, added: 'Throughout history the arts have gone hand-in-hand with economic recovery in times of turbulence. Today, more than ever, it is vital that the creative arts receive the support they require to maintain the engine of creativity which inspires the business community.'