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 working 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.
Ian Brannigan, Development Manager at the WDC said, “Part of our research included talking to nearly 350 creative enterprises in the West. We also held workshops with creative businesses and interested parties to plan for the future, as the sector represents significant potential. The research is telling us that there are opportunities for significant growth and we want to ensure that we have a regional strategy and plan to capitalise on those opportunities.”
United Nations research indicates that in 2005, trade in creative goods and services was almost 3.4% of world trade, worth $424 billion. The work being undertaken by the WDC will help underline the economic value and the importance of the creative economy in the Western Region and will be launched later in 2008.