Conference to highlight intrinsic link between economic activity and cultural society

The 2011 Douglas Hyde Conference will explore the theme ‘The Economy v The People – Ireland’s Divided Mind’. It is the last in a series of three Douglas Hyde Conferences to focus on the theme of the Creative Economy. Presented by the Western Development Commission (WDC) in association with Roscommon County Council, it will take place on the 4th of November in the BMW Regional Assembly, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon.

Helen Rochford Brennan, Chair of the WDC said, “Research commissioned by the WDC earlier this year found that the Creative Sector has the potential to employ an extra 17,000 people in the Western Region by 2020 and could generate €150 million in additional exports each year. The sector offers significant opportunities for the region ranging from crafts to design to computer gaming. The WDC is fully committed to nurturing this growth for the benefit of both the economy and the people of the Western Region.”

Pauline White, Policy Analyst, WDC added “The WDC’s 2009 Creative West study and the 2011 follow up report show that the Creative Sector stimulates innovation and new ideas in other sectors, plays a key role in Ireland’s social fabric and can stimulate both rural and regional development. We are extremely excited about this year’s Douglas Hyde Conference which promises to explore both the undeniable link between economic activity and cultural society and also how we can overcome the tensions which can sometimes arise”.

Keynote speakers at the Conference include Professor Diarmaid Ferriter (Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD), Finbarr Bradley (Former Professor of Finance at DCU and co author of Capitalising on Culture), Catríona Crowe (Senior Archivist of the National Archives) and Betty Purcell (Senior Producer RTE Television, Series Producer Arts Programmes). The conference will be chaired by poet and broadcaster Theo Dorgan.

Frank Dawson, Roscommon County Manager, said “A vibrant creative economy is vital to Ireland’s future but we seem to be focusing on the economy as a sole entity rather than the economy being one part of our multi-faceted society. I welcome the distinguished speakers who will explore how the current focus on the economy may be undermining the importance of the creative, cultural and civil society to us as people. Ultimately I believe that the opportunities offered by the creative economy will be a significant part of the solution to our current economic difficulties. Focusing on the economic challenges at the expense of all other facets of our society may adversely affect our ability to grow our way out of our current financial difficulties.”

Pauline White concluded, “We are delighted to partner once again with Roscommon County Council to highlight the many opportunities for the Western Region from the Creative Sector. Internationally the sector has been outpacing others in terms of growth, a pattern that we see emerging in Ireland also. We look forward to hearing more about harnessing the potential for that growth from the four keynote speakers and the panel discussions with some of Ireland’s leading creative minds.”

Attendance at the Douglas Hyde Conference costs €50.

For booking and further information contact


For further information please contact:
Pauline White, Western Development Commission, 086 832 8055
Bernadette Mullarkey, Bane Mullarkey, 086 806 2540