The Western Development Commission [WDC] has recently presented a submission on the potential of the creative sector to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The submission outlines the innate job creation, export value, cultural wealth and tourism possibilities associated with the ongoing development of creative industries in the Western region. It also follows the recent announcement of the WDC’s involvement in ‘Creative Momentum’, a €2 million, three-year transnational project to support the creative industries sector funded by the EU’s Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme.
The WDC, which is the statutory body with responsibility for economic and social development of the Western region, has been central to the support and enhancement of opportunities for creative sector organisations through several landmark projects. Based on their ‘Creative West’ and ‘Creative Economy Growth Trajectories’ reports, the WDC has been in a position to define key challenges for the development of the sector – which include low export activity, low access to finance and specific skills gaps.
To overcome these obstacles to development, the WDC has implemented projects and initiatives such as Creative Edge – an online showcase for creative enterprises to access overseas markets – and the WDC Creative Micro-Loan Fund, providing loans of €5,000 – €25,000. Through effective partnerships with organisations such as the Galway Film Centre and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the WDC has supported mentoring programmes to assist script-writers in the development of their skills, and offered craft makers from the region opportunities to attend international trade fairs with the assistance of the International Fair Fund.
Working alongside local authorities, the WDC has also assisted in the delivery of the ‘4CNW’ project which sought to develop further supports for the creative economy, through partnerships with mainstream enterprises. The WDC are organising partners of Yeats 2015, the international celebration of the globally-renowned poet, W. B. Yeats on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Commenting on the submission, Acting CEO and Head of Regional Development, Ian Brannigan stated that “The creative sector is of huge significance to the West of Ireland. There is a natural abundance of creative skill and endeavour within the region, and we believe this needs to be further nurtured and harnessed. The creative industries account for a significant percentage of enterprise and employment, with turnover in the region of €534 million – we envisage that this figure could grow significantly with the right strategy.”
The WDC’s creative industries submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee is now available on their website, and information on both the WDC and its supports for the creative and cultural sectors can also be found at www.wdc.ie or by calling 094 9861441.
Ian Brannigan, Acting CEO and Head of Regional Development: 094 9861441 / firstname.lastname@example.org