Student-led Social Enterprise opens in UU Belfast

Ulster University has opened a new student-led art and design shop, Unique, based in its Belfast campus on York Street which will showcase bespoke pieces of hand-crafted art by students and alumni.

The space will act as an educational and recreational platform for students, alumni and the general public, and aims to further connect Ulster University with Belfast and Northern Ireland’s creative community.  It will also offer an exclusive outlet for emerging artistic talent from the University, providing them with a platform to gain exposure, make professional connections and sell work.  

Unique will feature pieces from a wide range of art and design disciplines including paintings, photography, ceramics, sculptures, jewellery, fashion, graphic design, illustration, printmaking, textiles and fine art.  Customers can also commission items from the students and alumni.    

The shop will be managed by two full-time placement students and has a volunteering programme in place for other students to get involved. As a social enterprise all money made from the sale of items will be used to facilitate workshops and events for the public to learn from Ulster University students through pottery classes, sculpturing, painting and more.

Commenting on the initiative, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager, Chris Shannon, stated: “The art shop offers a fantastic opportunity for students to develop entrepreneurial skills, conduct market research and gather feedback on their work. 

“Through full-time student placements and a comprehensive volunteering scheme, students will manage this exciting venture and gain experience of working in a social enterprise and selling their work commercially. This will benefit them enormously after University by providing them with the experience needed to sell their work in Northern Ireland and further afield.”

Unique is currently encouraging Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art students and alumni to showcase artwork in the new shop.  To avail of the opportunity and to find out more on volunteering, buying and commissioning, visit    

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