A REFURBISHED cinematic arts studio been named after former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Redcar Labour MP the late Mo Mowlam.

Marking 25 years since the signing of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, which Mo Mowlam oversaw as then-Secretary of State, Ulster University’s Derry-Londonderry campus launched the studio in her name and unveiled of a new mural as a celebration of her lasting impact and legacy.

It is the first in a programme of events Ulster University is organising for the peace agreement’s anniversary.

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Those in attendance at the official opening includer Mo’s stepdaughter, director and producer Henrietta Norton, current leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer current Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Kyle and former Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and former Redcar Labour MP, Anna Turley.

The Northern Echo: Anna Turley, left, with Keir Starmer, right, and Mo Mowlam's stepchildren, Henrietta and Freddy NortonAnna Turley, left, with Keir Starmer, right, and Mo Mowlam's stepchildren, Henrietta and Freddy Norton (Image: ANNA TURLEY)

A dedicated space in the Walled City’s much-loved Foyle Arts Centre has been transformed into a fit-for-purpose studio which will enable Ulster University’s Cinematic Arts students to harness their creative talents and develop their skills in a controlled environment, replicating a professional film studio.

Opening the new Mo Mowlam Studio, Ulster University Provost Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan said: “We are delighted to open the doors of the newly-refurbished Mo Mowlam Studio and unveil our new mural, paying homage to the legacy of an inspirational leader who played an instrumental role in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement some 25 years ago."

Speaking at the event, Sir Keir Starmer added: "Mo Mowlam was a true political force with an unwavering dedication to peace. Her political skill, courage and charisma brought people together from all sides, and as part of the last Labour government, she helped pave the way for the Good Friday Agreement.

'Mo loved the people of Northern Ireland, and was passionate about securing better opportunities for the next generation.

The Northern Echo: Sir Keir Starmer speaking at the eventSir Keir Starmer speaking at the event (Image: ANNA TURLEY)

"I’m honoured to see her legacy celebrated with the opening of The Mo Mowlam Studio at Ulster University's Magee Campus in Derry.

"It will support the University's Cinematic Arts students for years to come, and is an investment in Northern Ireland's creative industries.

'On behalf of the Labour Party, I thank the staff and students at Ulster University, and everyone who has made this brilliant project possible."

Read more: Memorial to former Redcar MP Mo Mowlam

Former Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley said: "This is a perfect way to celebrate Mo’s legacy. She loved the creative arts and gave up so much of her time to encourage and inspire young people both in Northern Ireland and in Redcar.

"Everyone back home is still so proud of her achievements and the pivotal role she played in bringing peace in Northern Ireland. It is fantastic to see that she is still as loved and respected over here as she is in Redcar.

"Her amazing legacy will live on in the dreams and achievements of these young people."

The Northern Echo: Anna Turley stands next to the Mo Mowlam muralAnna Turley stands next to the Mo Mowlam mural (Image: ANNA TURLEY)

Mo Mowlam’s stepchildren, Freddie and Henrietta Norton said: ‘We are incredibly proud and grateful to see the life and legacy of our wonderful stepmum, Mo Mowlam, celebrated at Ulster University in Derry.

"Before going into politics, Mo was an academic and teacher. She believed in the power of education to transform people's lives and make the world a better place. And as a politician, she placed great value and importance on ensuring the voices of everyone were heard, especially young people in Northern Ireland.

"The Mo Mowlam Studio is an educational space which brings students together, enables them to find their voice and express themselves, and invests in their futures - there could not be a more fitting tribute."

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The project will serve as a boost to the screen industry in Northern Ireland - a thriving sector that has emerged in the years since the Good Friday Agreement, and promises to continue to put NI on the world stage as a leader in the creative industries.

The donation has been used to create a space that will enhance the practical learning experience of Ulster University’s cinematic arts students and is testament to Mo’s lasting legacy of investing in young people, long after the signing of the peace agreement.

The additional new specialist teaching space reflects a shared commitment to accessing higher education and the opportunity to support creative excellence for students in their chosen subject.