Creative enterprises such as digital media, film, art, design and the Irish language have significant potential for future economic development in the western region. That’s according to the Western Development Commission (WDC ) who are devising a strategy for the region’s creative economy in conjunction with regional businesses and a high-level industry advisory group.
Speaking about the initiative, Gillian Buckley, WDC Chief Executive, emphasised the growing importance of the creative economy nationally and especially to the western region. “Ireland is facing growing competition for jobs from emerging economies. This type of competition makes businesses involved in the creative economy even more important to the western region, as jobs in this sector are harder to displace.”
She added: “For generations, artistic and creative people have been drawn to the western region and with recent advances in telecommunications and related infrastructure, there is great potential for generating jobs through creativity, skill and talent. Creative economy enterprises include architecture, art, crafts, design, film, software, music, performing arts, television and radio.
“We know from examples in the UK and the US that creative industries are important in rural economies, both for innovation, research and employment as well as regional development in general. To assess its impact here in the western region, we have commissioned research and formed a high-level working group of state agencies, artists, digital media, film, design and Irish language interests to set out a strategy and action plan to develop the sector.”
To help initiate proceedings the WDC has commissioned a study of the scope and make-up of the creative sector in the region. Initial findings from the research were recently discussed with partners at a workshop in Boyle, Co Roscommon.
The members of the creative economy industry advisory group are: Dr William Golden, Director, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUIG; Geraldine Gray, Manager, Leitrim Design House; Jim Keogh, Manager, Industrial Division, Udarás na Gaeltachta (Galway ); Anton Mannering, Managing Director, Bench'd and Digital Media Forum (Clare ); Nick Miller, artist (Sligo ); David Power, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI ) western rep; Cox Power and Associates, Westport; Toby Scott, Director, Centre for Design Innovation, IT Sligo; and Ray Walsh, Senior Development Advisor, Enterprise Ireland (Dublin ), and Ian Brannigan, Pauline White and Bernadette Phelan from the WDC.