The centre will ‘celebrate the game of rugby and its history in Northern Ireland’ and is to be housed at the team’s Kingspan Stadium (Ravenhill Stadium), Belfast, Northern Ireland according to the consultancy.
It will be named the Nevin Spence Centre after a young Ulster Rugby player who was killed in a farming accident.
Mather & Co says the centre will explore ‘the science and technology that underpins the game of rugby’ and its design will fit in with key stages 2-4 school curriculum.
Meanwhile an innovation lab, developed with Queen’s University Belfast, will demonstrate performance and match analysis and kicking analysis in a ‘virtual gaming environment’.
The Rugby Family tells the story of the changing perspectives of Rugby and the development of clubs across Ulster.
Interactive piece The Rugby Body is an installation analysing the health, movement, and anatomy of a player.
Ulster’s Finest tells the stories of ‘legends of the game’ and gives visitors a chance to have a go at a ‘dream team’ interactive.
Triumph and Defeat is an ‘immersive and emotional film’ looking at the highs and the lows of Ulster Rugby.
The Ulster Rugby Archive presents an interactive timeline and multi-touch database charting the history of Ulster Rugby, with digitised photos, objects and archives.
A Digital Skills Centre will be installed in the broadcast studio and teach interviewing, editing and broadcasting to school groups.
The project is being funded by a £14.7 million grant from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, which will also cover extensive redevelopment of the ground and the stadium.
Mather & Co says the driver for the whole project has been ‘showcasing the benefits that the game has for supporters and players, and promoting sports science and inclusivity across communities.’
Chris Mather, chief executive of Mather & Co says, ‘The design of the education and heritage centre will appeal to everyone from school-age children, adult visitors and tourists to those who are rugby enthusiasts. It will tell the story of how rugby has moved from being a sport for predominantly white, middle class men, to embracing women’s rugby, school’s rugby and tag rugby across all communities in Ulster.’