NUIG to take lead role in new project to support creative industries

A major new project which seeks to build the creative industries across Ireland and Northern Europe, will be launched today in NUI, Galway.

Druid director Garry Hynes will launch the Creative Edge project, which seeks to help creative businesses in Ireland, and the rest of Northern Europe, export to new markets and nurture emerging creative talent.

The project, which has received €1.1 million in funding from the EU’s Interreg initiative under the Northern Periphery Programme, will be led by NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. It will bring together universities, development agencies, and industry bodies from the Republic and Northern Ireland, Finland, and Sweden.

The creative economy - which can include the arts, film and television, architecture, video games, radio, fashion, publishing, etc - is regarded as a potential major area of growth for peripheral regions in Europe.

According to Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal, the cultural and creative sector is globally one of the fastest growing. Estimates value the sector at seven per cent of the world’s GDP and forecast a future 10 per cent growth per year.

“When you look at the emerging trend of increased demand for goods and services that are authentic, sustainable, that tell a story, you are looking at the growth of the creative economy,” said Dr Patrick Collins, lead researcher on Creative Edge. “The west of Ireland, and other regions on the edge of Europe stand to gain from the promotion of small and medium enterprises with creative offerings.”

The project is now looking for the active participation of ‘creatives’ in the west of Ireland. Dr James Cunningham, director of the Whitaker Institute called on local creative businesses and individuals to engage with the project.

“This work is built on addressing the needs of the creative sector; needs change and we want to keep abreast of those changes,” he said. “We actively encourage creatives to engage with us and with our project partner in the region - the Western Development Commission.”

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