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About Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet

Our Origin Story

The arts, culture, media and creative sectors are critically important to Ireland both in terms of economic value but also in terms of social and cultural value and in terms of Ireland’s reputation globally.

These sectors are also experiencing significant expansion and related challenges. One of the most important challenges facing these sectors is ongoing support for skills and talent development.

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet was set up to respond to this challenge and become the leading skills and talent development engine for the entire creative and cultural ecosystem in Ireland.

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet was established in January 2023 as a consolidation and expansion of three existing and established Skillnet Business Networks (Animation Skillnet, Screen Skillnet and Immersive Technologies Skillnet) to support the following cultural and creative sectors: Animation, Visual Effects, Games, Film, TV, Documentary, Post-Production, Immersive Technologies, AR/VR, Virtual Production, Digital Media, Entertainment Events, Music, Theatre, Performing Arts and Visual Arts.

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and network companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Our Reputation

Over the last 10 years we have established a credible reputation within the creative sectors as providers of high-quality and industry-focused skills and talent development programmes and related supports that have a lasting impact.

In that time we have delivered over 1,000 skills and talent development programmes that have supported career development for industry practitioners and business advancement for creative companies.

Our USP has always been the design, development and delivery of responsive, bespoke, specialist, flexible programmes by industry professionals with defined career paths in mind, that address substantiated sectoral needs.

Our Strategic Objectives

  1. ESTABLISH the Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet as the leading source of research, innovation, skills and talent development for the Cultural and Creative sectors in Ireland.
  2. ENHANCE sectoral industry development that is expansive as well as responsible and inclusive to nurture a positive working culture that supports greater access, progression and retention for talent.
  3. CHAMPION initiatives that actively promote the advancement of digital skills and climate-action oriented skills that will ensure the sustainable growth of the industry.
  4. REINFORCE Ireland’s position as a global leader in cultural and creative excellence.

Our Focus

Our focus is to design, develop and deliver skills and talent development programmes that respond to the needs of the sector that include graduate access/bridging programmes; work-based learning; media literacy; digital transformation; management and leadership development; diversity and inclusion; sustainability and green production; workforce innovation; workplace culture; business development; IP development; technical skills; role-specific specialist skills; and future skills that are critical to the sector like creative thinking, teamwork and adaptability.

This includes our flagship industry event Culture Crush

Our Governance

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet is managed by Furthr (formerly Dublin Business Innovation Centre). Since 1988, Furthr has established a strong reputation for providing ambitious company founders and entrepreneurs with everything they need to start and scale their businesses, through consultancy, programmes, and events.

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet is overseen by a passionate and dedicated Steering Group that provides ongoing support and guidance to the network, and is made up of representatives from key stakeholders in the industry. The network is also guided by four separate Industry Working Groups made up of key voices from all across the cultural and creative sectors.

Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and network companies. Skillnet Ireland is the business support agency of the Government of Ireland that helps businesses of all sizes identify and develop the talent they need to succeed. Skillnet Ireland currently supports over 16,000 companies nationwide, across a range of 70 Skillnet Business Networks.

FurthrSkillnet Ireland

Our Industry Partners

We have a strong track record of engagement, partnership and collaboration with key industry stakeholders including Enterprise Ireland, the Industrial Development Authority, Screen Ireland, Coimisiún na Meán, Screen Producers Ireland, Animation Ireland, VFX Ireland, Imirt, Eirmersive, the Arts Council, Business to Arts, the Irish Theatre Institute and many others.

Animation IrelandArts CouncilCoimisiun na Mean logoBusiness to ArtsEnterprise IrelandEirmersiveIndustrial Development AuthorityImirtIrish Theatre InstituteScreen IrelandScreen Producers IrelandVFX Association of Ireland

Our Team


Gareth Lee – Network Manager

Gareth has over 25 years’ experience of leading and collaborating with key industry partners and stakeholders to deliver innovative, impactful and strategically important projects and initiatives that have supported the creative sectors to mature and grow sustainably, including several years working in leadership roles at Screen Ireland, Animation Skillnet, the National Tertiary Office, City of Dublin ETB and Ballyfermot College.


Barbara Deignan – Skills & Talent Development Manager (Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music & Writing)

With a background in artist studio management at Mart, TV Post-Production at Screen Scene, theatre production at the Ouroboros Theatre Company and communications at the Directors Guild of Canada, Barbara brings a wealth of project management experience to her role. As a working TV writer, Barbara is well placed to understand the needs of the industry and approaches every project and task with both a critical and a creative eye.


Sean Smith – Skills & Talent Development Manager (Animation, Visual Effects & Post-Production)

With over 10 years’ experience in the animation industry, Sean Smith has worked extensively in production roles on award-winning animated series for Disney, Nickelodeon and the BBC. His additional experience as a TV writer and in the live action realm means that Sean has a comprehensive overview of the industry as a whole. Alongside his attention to detail, organisational skills and ability to problem-solve, it makes him a valuable asset to any team.


Susan Talbot – Skills & Talent Development Manager (Games, Immersive Technologies, AR/VR & Virtual Production)

With a background in media production, education, technology and the start-up ecosystem, Susan brings her expertise and talents to bear at the intersection of creativity, technology and business as the founder of her own Emmy Award winning media production company and founder of a HPSU SaaS platform for the drone industry.


Clodagh Evelyn Kelly – Operations Executive

Clodagh Evelyn (she/her) is a skilled Project Manager and Executive Assistant bringing a positive approach to her work by providing creative solutions and supports to Senior Level Executives with a variety of leadership styles. As her background lies in Art, Design and Teaching she has over 10 years’ experience working across multiple creative industries, in addition to her passion for the environment which is highlighted through hosting educational podcasts and events.

Fran Keaveney – Skills & Talent Development Manager

Fran Keaveney – Skills & Talent Development Manager (Film, TV, Events, Media & Broadcasting)

Fran has a vast array of industry experience that spans 30+years; working in the Irish screen industry in the production and location departments, working for many years with Screen Ireland (formerly the Irish Film Board), tutoring at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUIG and an assessor with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.  Prior to joining CCIS, Fran was the Skills Development Executive for Film & TV Drama with Screen Ireland.

Barbara Henkes – Manager of National Talent Academy for VFX

Barbara started out in the industry over 25 years ago by working in the camera department and in post production. She managed the Equipment Department in Filmbase and then joined Screen Ireland to take on the role of Programme Manager for Screen Leaders, the company development & leadership programme. Since then, Barbara has continued to facilitate numerous training programmes and remains dedicated to her craft as an editor.

Lindsey Adams – Marketing, Communications & Events Executive

Across various development, production, training, and leadership roles, Lindsey leverages her extensive experience from a 20+ year career in the animation industry. As the founder of her own company, she is passionate about championing inclusivity and understands the vital importance of providing accessible, continuous learning opportunities to everyone in the creative sectors.

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