ATU Donegal
x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Seeing the Light

This event occurred on
February 21, 2024
Letterkenny, Donegal

Join us at TEDxATU Donegal, a gathering of innovative minds and forward-thinkers, as we celebrate big ideas on the Donegal stage. Embracing the theme "Seeing the Light," our speakers will share inspiring talks and captivating performances that illuminate new perspectives and spark transformative thoughts. This is your chance to be part of a community passionate about exploring groundbreaking concepts and shaping the future. Secure your seat now, as we have limited availability to ensure an intimate and engaging experience. Don't miss the opportunity to celebrate and be inspired by the power of big ideas!

ATU Donegal
Port Road
Letterkenny, Donegal, Co Donega
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Dave Kinghan

Dave Kinghan is a Northern Irish writer who has written for stage and screen. His broadcast work includes COSTUME DRAMA, for the BBC Writersroom ‘Fright Shorts’ comedy series (iPlayer, 2017). His sketches have appeared in SOFT BORDER PATROL (BBC NI, 2019-20) and NEWSJACK (BBC Radio 4 Extra, 2018). He also wrote for pre-school animation JOE & JACK (RTE/international, 2012). His work for stage includes immersive theatre piece GORDON OSRAM’S FUNERAL, performed in Belfast, Derry, Armagh and Dublin in 2016; and DEATH (ON A SHOESTRING), a musical comedy performed at the Grand Opera House Belfast as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in 2012. He was part of the writing team for Tinderbox theatre company’s sketch shows SWING STATE CABARET and HUMAN RIGHTS CABARET in 2012 and 2013. He also wrote HAPPY AS LARRY, a short comedy film and an episode of THE BEAT HOTEL, an online comedy puppet show. He was part of the BBC Writersroom NI ‘Belfast Voices’ comedy group in 2018-19.

Emmett Kerr

Lecturer in Robotics
Dr Emmett Kerr has a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from QUB, an MSc in Computing and Intelligent Systems, and a PhD in Robotics from UU. After industry roles as Project Engineer and Engineering Supervisor, he joined Ulster University as a researcher, lecturer and Course Director. Dr Kerr is now Head of Department for Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at Atlantic Technological University, Donegal, Ireland. He was awarded the local and national JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award in 2018 for Scientific and/or Technological Development. Dr Kerr has co-chaired national conferences, serves on technical committees and sits on the Irish Manufacturing Council (IMC). He has published 30+ research papers and collaborated in Robotics, Tactile Sensing, AI, and Smart Manufacturing projects. Partnerships span universities in the USA, China, and Japan. Emmett is a 5th Dan Black Belt in Japanese Ju-Jitsu, married and a proud father of two.

Eoghan Furey

Lecturer in Computing
Dr Eoghan Furey is a lecturer and researcher at ATU Donegal, specialising in data science, machine learning and privacy. He believes that learning should be fun and engaging whilst empowering application of critical thinking to all areas of life. Eoghan’s expertise in data science has highlighted the utility of healthy skepticism and cynicism when confronted with the plethora of information generated daily, both true and untrue. In his talk he discusses his approach to deciding what to believe in today’s algorithmically controlled and narrative driven world. The Sun Always Shines on TV is a reference to the A-Ha hit pop song from the 80s. It shines because TV often isn’t real and this applies to all we see, hear and read on our screens. Eoghan believes that students should be taught to question, regardless of the source of the information. Outside of work he loves running, hiking and martial arts, believing that physical activity leads to a healthy body and mind.

Gary Rutherford

Organisational Founder & Mental Health Nurse
Gary Rutherford is a registered Mental Health Nurse professional and addiction therapist. In 2019 he launched ARC Fitness, a Derry / L’Derry based non-profit organisation supporting individuals impacted by addiction and substance use through physical activity, professional support, and community. Gary is also a person in long term recovery from substance abuse, something that drives him to advocate and provide hope for others. Gary’s unique approach towards supporting individuals get and stay on the road to recovery has been highly commended. Gary’s work has been recognised by the Royal College of Nursing, awarding him ‘RCN Nurse of the Year’ 2022.

Humphrey Murphy

Business Consultant and Lecturer
Humphrey Murphy is a business consultant and lecturer in sports and tourism. He works with a variety of organisations in Ireland and Europe to develop strategies and programmes that enhance participation in sport and, specifically, in outdoor recreation. His research interests are on the impact of challenging experiences and wild places on personal development. His past includes forays from the Northwest corner of Ireland to various parts of the world to complete first kayak descents of chaotic rivers in the Himalayas and Siberia and solo ascents of big hills including a lone ascent of Everest. More recently he has discovered the delights of stealth paramotor flying, alone in big empty spaces.

Joanna Sweeney

Lecturer and Musician
Joanna Sweeney is an Irish traditional musician from Co. Sligo. She has been playing music since the age of six, instruments whistle, bodhrán, fiddle & voice. Throughout her 20’s she travelled and work extensively through Europe & South America and began to explore, listen, and play other genres of music such as world & traditional indigenous styles & this really informed her tastes. A Lecturer of tourism, event management & marketing at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Sligo and a Master of Arts in Irish traditional music performance awarded from the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland, she is currently focusing on regional styles of Irish traditional music in particular the North Connaught region on the West coast of Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kyle Harvey

Bioanalytical Science Student and President of the Film and Drama Society
Kyle Harvey is a 2nd -year Bioanalytical Science student at Atlantic Technological University Donegal who has a passion for all aspects of film and drama within an extracurricular life. His topic for TEDxATU Donegal is about balancing the pursuit of many passions and how they can benefit us in unconventional ways. Drawing from his own experiences as a science student and his extracurricular work as President of the Film and Drama Society at ATU Donegal, Kyle will discuss how passions can be maintained despite life’s continuous obstacles and remind individuals that joy should still be pursued. Kyle Harvey will discuss how and why passions should be pursued while maintaining a career and that passions can lead us into unexpected but welcomed futures. His talk shall inspire others to see the light with their passions, to encourage others to seek other paths unlike their conventional chosen path and to find a future that is unique and beneficial to each individual.

Michelle Campion

Lecturer in Neuroscience
My name is Michelle, I’m a Post-Doctoral Researcher and Part-Time Lecturer at ATU Galway. I have a masters and doctorate in Neuroscience. I will be speaking about how optical illusions trick our brains into seeing or predicting things that aren’t there. Making predictions or assumptions about puzzling images, is a natural feature of the brain. I will highlight how the brain’s prediction system doesn’t just affect how we interpret images, but also affects how we interpret the world around us. Creating assumptions helps us make sense of our surroundings and strengthens our capacity to navigate our environment. But however convincing our assumptions might be, they are not always accurate. In this talk, I will show how our natural ability to make assumptions influences our perception of reality, in general.

Muslim Syed

Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Muslim Syed, a Lecturer at ATU, Galway, is a passionate advocate for Responsible Artificial Intelligence. Specializing in ethical AI, adaptive machine learning, IIoT, and digital twins, he has made significant contributions across education, renewable energy, smart infrastructure, and healthcare. His research focuses on the ethical and legal aspects of AI and technology, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and societal values. Dr. Syed has offered expert witness consultancy to the United States Trademark and IP Patent Office on digital twins and building monitoring systems. He's recognized globally, with keynote speaking roles, editorial contributions to journals, and mentorship of PhD and Master's students. Holding degrees in Software Engineering and a PhD in Information Technology specializing in AI, Dr. Syed's career highlights his commitment to ethical AI practices.

Ray Bubbles

Former accountant and tax advisor. Former aerobics instructor and badminton coach. Former teacher and small business owner. Entrepreneur with more ideas than time. I’m a dreamer. Constant thinker and over thinker. Currently, hopefully forever, a professional soap bubble artist. Turned a relaxing, fun pastime into a job for life. Passionate about working in Special Needs Schools and the theatre. Turned a relaxing, fun pastime into a job for life. Love driving, sport, music, my family and friends. Suffer from nerves, yips, anxiety, ADHD and making mistakes. But they’ve made me the man I am today so I wouldn’t change anything. Purveyor of dad jokes.

Richard Moore

Motivional Speaker
Blinded as a 10 year old boy during the Northern Ireland conflict in 1972, Richard Moore has never allowed bitterness to stunt his development. In 2005, 33 years after he was shot, Richard met Charles, the British soldier who blinded him and the two are now good friends. In 1996 Richard established Children in Crossfire which works in Tanzania, Ethiopia & Ireland helping some of the most vulnerable children who suffer from the injustice of poverty. The Dalai Lama has described Richard as his “hero and a wonderful son of humanity”. Throughout his life, Richard’s been recognised for his achievements, such as: the Beacon Special Prize (the Nobel Prize of the charity world); an honorary degree of Doctors of Laws from University of Ulster for his services to reconciliation and children’s rights; becoming a ‘Fellow’ of The Centre for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics at Life University, Atlanta GA and an Honorary Fellow of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, Oxford, UK.

Sinéad O’Donnell-Carey

Theatre Maker and Production Designer
Sinéad O’Donnell-Carey is a theatre maker and production designer from Dublin living in Donegal. Trained in theatre design, Sinéad explores digital media technology for theatre and performance art, combining visual art practices with the body in the space. Current work includes ‘Belfast Girls,’ produced by Quintessence Theatre Company, ‘Slip,’ co-produced by the Hawk’s Well Theatre. Most recent theatre designs include ‘Hear Me Speak’ & ‘Gazelle’ at Hawk’s Well Theatre, ‘An Chos Eile’ Aerach Aiteach Gaelach, Axis Ballymun, ‘The Asylum Workshop,’ commissioned by the Grangegorman Society with TU Dublin. Sinéad is currently doing a PhD in visual media technology in live performance at Atlantic Technological University, Sligo, she has an MA in Film & Theatre from National University of Ireland, Galway and BA in Performing Arts and Theatre Design from Institute of Technology Sligo.

Trudy Meehan

Senior Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer
Trudy Meehan is a Senior Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in the Centre for Positive Health Sciences. She researches the value of art for health and well-being. She believes in the value of connection, creativity, narrative practice and listening with our ‘heart-ears’.

Organizing team




  • Orla Callaghan
  • Roisin Mc Cormack