Organisations, Partnerships

Ivor-Novello and Bafta award-winning composers teach the next generation at Dumbworld’s inaugural NI Film Scoring Summer School

5th July, 2024

Dumbworld, in collaboration with Ulster University, recently hosted the inaugural NI Film Scoring Summer School, a week-long summer school for emerging composers and early career musicians interested in learning about creating music for screen including film, games and television. This is the first time a summer school of this type has been available to musicians here and aims to cultivate creative talent in the region.

Pictured (L-R) are Brian Irvine, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Dumbworld/Professor of Music at Ulster University, summer school participant, David Behrens, David Holmes, DJ, composer and producer, and summer school participant, Gemma Doherty. 

The summer school took place in early July in the Ulster University, Foyle Arts Building in Derry-Londonderry. This immersive week-long programme offered a unique opportunity for participants to develop their composition and technology skills under the guidance of some of the most esteemed professionals in the industry.

Led by Ivor Novello Award-winning composer Brian Irvine (The Woman in the Wall [BBC, 2023]), the NI Film Scoring Summer School featured a lineup of highly experienced speakers and mentors including, Brian Irvine, co-founder and co-artistic director of Dumbworld, and Professor of Music at Ulster University. Brian's prolific career spans opera, orchestral compositions, and film scores. His recent operatic work, "Least Like the Other," received the Ivor Novello Award for Best Stage Work.

Speaking about the school Brian Irvine said,

“The NI Film Scoring Summer School is a co-production between Dumbworld and Ulster University and is aimed at nurturing the next generation of talent in the creative industries. This week was all about bringing musicians together that are interested in gaining new skills in composition and writing music for film and then having that new work performed at the end of the week. We were thrilled that so many extraordinary mentors got involved with the summer school and we are delighted to introduce this exciting new initiative to early career musicians and composers in Northern Ireland.”

Another mentor during the week was David Holmes, a Bafta Award-winning Belfast-born DJ, composer, and producer known for his innovative work on acclaimed productions such as Killing Eve and Ocean's Eleven series. David Holmes added,

“My friend and collaborator, Brian Irvine, invited me to the summer school to talk to the students about different methods of working that I do and ways of creating new sounds to come up with things that are more personal and unique. Things like this summer school are always important and I think we are really lucky to have somewhere like this.”

Other mentors included, Adam Melvin, a Manchester-born composer and researcher with expertise in contemporary composition and scoring and sound design for screen; Alessandra Celesia, an accomplished director and filmmaker; John McIlduff, co-founder of Dumbworld and a versatile artist with expertise in opera, television, film, and theatre, Michael Keeney, a renowned producer, composer, and musician; Myrid Carten, filmmaker for cinema and galleries; Stephen Coulter, Creative Producer with Sixteen South Originals; and Declan Keeney, CEO of Studio Ulster and Director of CoSTAR Screen Lab.

Dumbworld is supported by funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera at the Arts Council said,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Dumbworld, one of the most exciting and innovative arts organisations working in Northern Ireland. We are delighted to see them partner with Ulster University to launch the first-ever summer school for composers interested in music for film, gaming and TV, a huge growth area in the creative industries here in NI. Throughout the week, not only did participants can get to network and learn from leading industry professionals, but they also took home their own new musical composition for film, a work that will help build their musical portfolio. Congratulations to all involved.”

In addition to workshops, seminars, and tutorials focusing on professional tools and approaches for creating original scores, participants had the opportunity to connect with directors, producers, and sound designers. Each participant also composed an original score for a specific film segment, mentored by the internationally acclaimed Ulster University faculty and visiting industry professionals. The course culminated in a fully mixed and mastered recording of the new compositions, performed by the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, providing valuable material for the musicians’ portfolios.

To find out more about Dumbworld visit