This month has changed me. I'm not the same person as the one who stepped off that plane 4 weeks ago.”
Sculpting Major, Sociology/Psychology Minor
The MAC opened in 2012, built with an £18M capital budget. The 6,200sqm building in the heart of Belfast’s city centre is a space for art, but just as importantly, is a space for people to come together. We attract 300,000 visitors annually, work with hundreds of artists, employ 48 full time staff and are supported by 65 volunteers. And we want you to be a part of it.
Learn in the unique setting of an award - winning arts centre within post - conflict Northern Ireland.
Develop new methods of using the arts as a tool for peacebuilding in conflict zones or for social change.
Delve into the past, present and future of Northern Ireland by gaining knowledge of current issues, politics and community relations.
Watch for yourself and dive into a unique experience.
Learn from a country that has experienced armed conflict, peace-building and is now looking towards its post-conflict legacy, 25 years on.
Develop methods of using the arts as a tool for peacebuilding and social change by collaborating with local artists, creative practitioners and communities.
Develop and define your personal and professional values with visits to important cultural sites, dedicated lecture series, creative assignments and workshops.
Delve into past and present Northern Ireland, to gain an understanding of current societal issues, community relations and the politics of the region, so you can understand your own personal and social responsibility.
Explore post-conflict Northern Ireland through the lens of ethics, trauma, equality, gender, discrimination, recovery, reconciliation, sectarianism and justice.
Immerse yourself in life here from your base in the heart of Belfast. Northern Ireland is small with breath-taking landscapes just a short journey away from Belfast.
Your mentors in a study abroad experience like no other.
Creative Director of Visual Arts at the MAC, Belfast, a position he has held since 2012.
Elaine has led impactful arts and cultural projects, tackling social & political inequalities within communities.
Kira leverages her experience in creative projects fostering social cohesion for arts and peacebuilding charities.
Hugh Mulholland is Creative Director, Visual Arts at the MAC, Belfast, a position he has held since 2012. He was previously Director of the third space gallery, Belfast (2006-2012) and Director of Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (1997-2006), and was founding Director of Context Gallery Derry (now CCA) (1992-1997).
Mulholland has also worked as an independent curator and was Commissioner of Northern Ireland’s first presentation at the Venice Biennale in 2005 with a group exhibition titled ‘The Nature of Things’. He curated Northern Ireland’s exhibition at the following Biennale with a solo show of work by Willie Doherty. He was curator for Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2006 and 2007, as well as curating exhibitions internationally in Berlin, Istanbul and Italy.
Creative Learning & Engagement Manager
Elaine, with over two decades of experience, has spearheaded community-focused arts projects addressing social and political inequalities. As the Creative Learning & Engagement Manager at the MAC, she collaborates closely with artists and marginalised communities, addressing pressing societal issues.
Elaine has a history of impactful roles, including Head of Engagement at The Playhouse, where she led EU Peace-funded projects, and Managing Director at Artlink, where she elevated the organisation's reputation. Her transformative work in conflict resolution and Peacebuilding extends globally, shaping her role in piloting study abroad programs. Based in London for nine years, Elaine obtained a Master's in Fine Art and gained diverse experience in the creative learning field.
Creative Learning Officer
Kira Topalian joined the MAC as Creative Learning Officer in April 2023. She previously was a Project Manager for Beyond Skin, an arts and peacebuilding charity, designing creative projects to promote social cohesion. Kira achieved her MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queens University Belfast in 2020, and graduated with a BA in International Affairs with Theatre and History minors from Northeastern University in Boston in 2018.
At Northeastern, Kira worked as teaching and programme assistants for study abroad programmes, bringing university student groups to Ireland to study the conflict, peace process, and art and culture. She also availed of Northeastern’s global experience offerings herself as a student, first moving to Belfast in 2017 for a work placement at the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Art, where she still volunteers. A musician and actor herself, Kira is very connected to the arts scene in Belfast, and can’t wait to welcome you here.
This month has changed me. I'm not the same person as the one who stepped off that plane 4 weeks ago.”
This program gave me an incredible amount of hope in my life.”
I learned how peace building has a tremendous impact on not only the affected area but also the world. Art brings a troubled community a sense of peace and stability, it lets people express emotions they never even knew they had.”
It broadened my ideas of what art could be and what it could do.”
I learned a great deal about history, and explored new areas/topics/interests that I never would have noticed in the States...forcing me to look inwards as much as I looked outwards.”
Academically the program is amazing. We had access to incredible resources and people who gave us an in-depth insight to the history and impact of the Troubles. On top of that, we were given immense support in our creative endeavors. I found it extremely fulfilling to be given the space to respond artistically to everything we were learning.”
I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and push myself to do something I hadn’t done before. The programme seemed interesting and new.”
It gave me an opportunity to combine both my Majors. Up until now, they have lived separately in my life. I love that this gives me an opportunity to explore dance as protest.”
The MAC itself was a major highlight of the trip, as well as all the people there. It was a great home for us to be based out of. It provided once in a lifetime opportunities for me.”
Derry, Northern Ireland's second largest city, is renowned for its fully intact historic walls and the 'Derry Girls' mural, a tribute to the popular Channel 4 series.
Follow in the legendary footsteps of giants at Northern Ireland's iconic World Heritage Site.
The Ulster Museum is open daily except Mondays, offering a journey through art, natural science, and history.
Carrickfergus Castle, a well-preserved Norman castle in Northern Ireland, is located in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, on the shores of Belfast Lough.
Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast's Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists.
Explore Belfast's nightlife in the cobbled Cathedral Quarter, known for live music, local gin, and Irish whiskey. Begin at the Ulster Sports Club and visit popular spots like the Duke of York, The Dirty Onion, and The National.
Banana Block is a new living museum and events space set within a historic linen mill and inspired by the curious connections between Belfast and bananas.
Experience live traditional and contemporary music sessions, poetry readings, céilís, concerts, and workshops all under the one roof.
The MAC study abroad trips are co-designed with each university to meet the learning outcomes of each course. Fees start at £30,000 based on a group of 12 students but can be created bespoke, based on your students' needs and duration of visit, so please contact us today for your custom quote.
All elements of your tuition during your study abroad stay are included.
Students will reside in shared student housing accommodation managed by LIV Student Belfast. Featuring single rooms with shared bathrooms, a mix of indoor and outdoor social spaces and various amenities, these are well-equipped, comfortable spaces.
You'll enjoy various trips and visits included in your stay. For instance, our walking tour of Belfast and its peace walls, led by expert guides, is a great way to begin your week with us.
Group meals and packed lunches during the day
Your fee includes lunch and dinner on most days. Occasionally the group might decide to try out a nice restaurant in Belfast, or go for drinks, which won't be included.
Your group leader or course director will advise you on the type of group or individual travel insurance required.
You'll need some money to enjoy the occasional meal out (if not included in your package); shopping and of course, to sample some Guinness if the mood takes you!
Added extras at museums and galleries
Your standard entry fee will be included to any of the places we visit, but if upgrades are an option, you'll need to pay extra for those.
Transfers to and from the airport
Your course director/leader will organise transportation to and from the MAC on the first and last day to the airport of your choice.
Here are some useful tips, ahead of your visit to Belfast.
The MAC is an arts venue and cultural hub in Belfast. Since opening in 2012 it has quickly become a beacon for the ongoing regeneration of Belfast, offering an eclectic programme of visual art, theatre, dance, family workshops and lots more. There are 3 art galleries and two theatres, a free playroom and a CaféBar.
It stands for Metropolitan Arts Centre but we're happy for you to call us the MAC, whichever you prefer.
The MAC is for everyone. Our programme of events and activities caters for the very young to the old and our creative learning programme ensures that people from all walks of life feel welcome and comfortable here.
This programme will challenge you to put your academics into practice. To view arts and social justice in a new context and take on different perspectives that will expand your approach to your studies.
Short answer: of course! Our programme relates to a wide variety of majors, including but not limited to History, Anthropology, International Relations, Peace Studies and arts-related majors.
Yes, weekends are yours to enjoy Belfast and beyond. Check out our Cultural Highlights section for some suggestions. You could even visit Dublin as it’s only 1.5hrs away by train or 2hrs by bus.
Northern Ireland uses the GBP Pound Sterling.
You’ll need a 3-pronged UK adapter.
Yes, multiple providers offer pay-as-you-go SIM cards.
Yes we have a metro bus service and train service to get about in the city. You can pay cash, contactless, or use a bus pass or the m-link app for tickets. We also have the Glider. You pay before you board using the ticket machine at every Glider stop.
Many restaurants include a service fee in your bill. If you not and you want to, you can tip 10-15%, but it’s not required.
Obviously, your passport. You won't need it for crossing between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, just when you initially arrive at the airport. As well as some comfy shoes (the cobble stones around the MAC are well suited to Dr. Marten's or trainers) be prepared for a little rain. Even in summer we get showers throughout the day!