Studio Ulster Appoints Visionary Leader Professor Declan Keeney as CEO

Learn more about our newly appointed Chief Executive Officer

Studio Ulster has announced the appointment of Professor Declan Keeney as its new Chief Executive Officer. With a distinguished career over 25 years in broadcast and media production, including 13 years at the BBC, Professor Keeney is set to lead Studio Ulster at an exciting moment for the film, television and creative content production industries in Northern Ireland.

Professor Keeney’s pioneering contributions to the screen industries in Northern Ireland have been instrumental in shaping the region’s creative landscape. As Chair of Screen Technologies & Innovation at Ulster University and Director of the Ulster Screen Academy, his cutting-edge research and development efforts are helping to transform and advance the industry here.

A co-founder of Studio Ulster, Professor Keeney has been a driving force behind the development of the £72 million, 75,000 sq. ft. Virtual Production studio complex in Belfast, a flagship project and part of the Belfast Region City Deal. This state-of-the-art facility is set to revolutionise the film, television, and gaming industries, with its first productions scheduled for autumn 2024.

Professor Keeney commented:

I am honoured to lead Studio Ulster at this pivotal moment for the creative industries in Northern Ireland. Our goal is to transform the creative landscape in Belfast and beyond, providing virtually limitless possibilities for filmmakers, producers, and the entire creative community. We’re excited to welcome talent from across the globe to Studio Ulster and continue building on the strengths of our screen industries.

In addition to his role at Studio Ulster, Professor Keeney will lead the CoSTAR Screen Lab in Northern Ireland, a £17 million investment in Research & Development focussed on creative technologies, virtual production, and real-time production, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

His extensive contributions to the industry are further underscored by his positions on the board of the British Film Institute (BFI) as Northern Ireland Governor, his fellowship at The Royal Society of Arts, and his membership of the British Council’s Arts & Creative Economy Advisory Group.

Studio Ulster is poised to become a Tier 1 Centre of Excellence in commercial production, research and innovation in virtual production, reinforcing Belfast’s status as a global hub for the creative industries.