05 Oct 2022

GALLERY: LYIT holds 'unique' initiative

PHOTOS/ Clive Wasson

An already bustling LYIT campus was further animated with the Department of Design and Creative Media from the School of Business hosting a fantastic initiative - “DICE” – Design Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship. 

DICE is the umbrella term for a series of programmes delivered at LYIT - DICE Labs, the annual DICE Conference and DICE Academy. 

Events kicked off on Tuesday, March 3 with the return of 100 DICE Transition Year (TY) participants to LYIT for their second block of activities working through “UNIQUE”, a creative process developed by Dr. Tena Patten and Cróna O’Donoghue at the Department of Design and Creative Media.

TY students from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town; Deele College, Raphoe; Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Ballinamore; Loreto Convent, Letterkenny; St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar; St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny were challenged to come up with a product, service or experience that would improve their own or some other target audiences’ happiness.

Between the sessions in January and March the students experienced several different workshops, heard from experts in user experience, prototyping and personal stories from inspiring speakers such as Nikki Bradley of The Motivation Factory and Bill Vaughan from Donegal Mind Wellness.

Great fun was mixed with learning at Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre and through music workshops at the Regional Cultural Centre. From all of this, exceptional ideas evolved. The 21 projects presented on Thursday last are a testament to the wonderful talent in the county. 

Happiness was identified in a wide variety of ways - from a facility to allow people, who otherwise would not be able to, to interact with pets; an adaptation to sports socks to allow asthma sufferers to carry their inhalers with them at all times; to a telephone box that would give people a calm and reflective space to re-centre themselves in public spaces; an app to help identify what makes you happy to a first aid kit for your mental health.

Top prize went to the Abbey Vocational School’s team – Sentoia, a sign language app designed to enable classmates and friends of deaf students better communicate with one another. 

All events culminated with the annual DICE Conference.

At the evening event on Wednesday, March 4, Michael Margey, Head of the School of Business at LYIT officially launched the DICE Labs, a hybrid centre across the areas of Business, Design and Humanities that looks to learning as an integral part of innovation and action.

It represents a network of researchers and pioneers who connect dots and create opportunities for innovation and change. Other speakers on the night from the Digitech sphere included Eileen Dunne, Rebecca Walsh, Big Motive, Andrew McCrea, Fathom and Padraig Mannion of Vectra AI. 

Nollaig Crombie (HoD) Design & Creative Media, remarked with enthusiasm on the continued success of the DICE initiative: “We are delighted and honoured to have had so many highly acclaimed designers contribute to and endorse our Design Conference.

"Now in it's 6th year, the event has built a momentum that is recognised nationally. One of our objectives is to demonstrate that "creatives" can work from remote locations without compromise. Our speakers subsequently, are very often, such creatives.

"They provide the assurances that you can "have it all"! By building up a quality portfolio and making contacts in industry, you can work almost entirely, from a location of your choice.

"Paul McMahon AKA The Rusted Pixel, is a great example - living in Donegal, producing 3D animation for Google, Oculus Rift and Disney Jr. to name but a few! Paul presented at DICE 2020 to more than 300 excited attendees.

The conference continued Thursday with a fantastic line up of speakers from the creative industry, presenting to the DICE_TY participants, staff and students at LYIT as well as visiting industry practitioners."

Presenters included recent LYIT graduates Kim Sharkey and Niamh Porter, fashion and enterprise expert Eddie Shanahan, who complemented the quality of the graduates and programmes delivered at LYIT, international award- winning animator and art director Johnny Kelly and Donegal’s own Paul McMahon of Rusted Pixel and Mary Doherty founder of the highly successful Dublin company Red Dog Design.

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