Douglas Hyde Conference 2010

Inside Creativity: Education – Innovation – Economy – Society

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport will officially open the 2010 Conference, which will highlight the role of Creativity in Education, Innovation, Economy, and Society.

Presented by Roscommon County Council Arts Office in association with the Western Development Commission (WDC), this is the second in a series of three Douglas Hyde Conferences focused on the Creative Sector. Last year the two organisations reshaped the Conference as a platform for research into the Creative Sector with a view to having the research findings impact on policy and programmes at local, regional and national levels.

Frank Dawson, Roscommon County Manager said, “This is a sector which has huge development potential in both rural and urban contexts and which impacts positively on all aspects of our society, and our economy. For the 2010 Conference, we have brought together academics, artists, politicians, commentators and public bodies to examine four distinct roles of creativity in society and the Creative Sector. Together with these experts, we look forward to discussing the opportunities for our region and to gaining a comprehensive insight into the value of creativity so that we can fully develop its role in our future.”

Lisa McAllister Chief Executive of the WDC added, “Creativity has long been associated with the Western Region. The 2008 WDC study ‘Creative West: The Creative Sector in the Western Region’ identified 4,779 creative businesses operating in the Western Region directly employing over 11,000 people and generating an annual turnover of €534m. This contributes €270m to the Gross Value Added of the regional economy. It is therefore a major economic contributor to the Region and we believe it can be grown significantly, even in these difficult economic times.”

The Conference will be chaired by poet and broadcaster, Theo Dorgan and centres on four keynote addresses and panel discussions.

  • Dubbed ‘the official statistician of the creative class’ and bringing his unique expertise and insights, Kevin Stolarick, Director of Research at Richard Florida’s Martin Prosperity Institute in Toronto looks at the role of the creative sector and the direct and indirect economic impacts of creativity on other sectors such as industrial innovation, tourism and Foreign Direct Investment. Kevin is joined by Paul Young, CEO, Cartoon Saloon and Visual Artist Sarah Browne.
  • Joe Hallgarten, Programmes Director with Creativity, Culture and Education, UK discusses how creativity in schools and universities, the quality of teaching and the curriculum provided, all affect the way young people’s skills develop, and whether they have the skills they will need for living and working throughout their lives. Also on the Education panel are Ned Costello, CEO, Association of Irish Universities and Member of the National Innovation Taskforce and Martin Drury, Arts Director with The Arts Council and founder of The Ark.
  •  Arantxa Mendiharat, Director, Conexiones Improbables in Bilbao, Spain will be joined by Michael John Gorman, Director of The Science Gallery and Justin Knecht from the Centre for Design Innovation in Sligo. Mendiharat is recognised internationally for her innovative approach to applying creativity to industrial, social and research areas.
  • Concluding the presentations Michael D. Higgins T.D. will be joined by Tania Banotti, Theatre Forum and Dermot McLaughlin, Temple Bar Cultural Trust looking at how creativity ultimately permeates all aspects of society, and how society as a whole benefits from its development.

Speaking about the Creative Sector theme, Frank Dawson said, “As the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation drew to a close, the European Commission invited member states to foster the potential of policy to promote the Creative Sector and to nurture creativity and innovation by recognising creative talent, rewarding excellence and disseminating innovative works. In response to that invitation, for these three years, the Douglas Hyde Conference will be a platform for continued research into creativity and innovation”.

“The WDC is working to promote and position the Western Region as Ireland’s hub for the Creative Sector because we know that based on international comparisons the Western Region has the potential to create an extra 2,000 jobs in the Creative Sector. We are delighted to partner once again with Roscommon County Council Arts Office to highlight the many opportunities associated with the Creative Sector, which has strong growth potential, generates high quality employment, facilitates innovation in other sectors, plays a key social role and can stimulate rural and regional development”, concluded Lisa McAllister.

This year, most of the conference will take place on Friday 15th October. On Saturday 16th, to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Douglas Hyde, a special service and commemoration will take place at his graveside at the nearby Douglas Hyde Centre. This will be followed by a lecture by Dr. Roy Johnston on the life and work of the painter Roderic O’Conor, who was also born 150 years ago, near Castleplunkett, Co. Roscommon, five miles from Hyde’s birthplace.

For booking and further information on the conference including biographies of speakers, please see