To mark the end of the Creative Edge project, and showcasing its key outcomes, the conference ‘How Creative Industries Contribute to and Shape Peripheral Regions, Societies and Economies’ was held in Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe in Galway on December 2nd 2013.

Over the course of the day, the importance of place, the direction of policy and the role of education were discussed. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway,  opened the conference and chaired the day’s events. Creative Edge initiatives were showcased, such as MyCreativeEdge, Mapping the Creative EdgeCreative Hubs in Northern Ireland, Creative Steps and the Creative Edge Mentoring Programme. View the conference programme here.

To view video highlights of the Conference and the full day of presentations, please click HERE


Dr Patrick Collins delivers the keynote address

Keynote address

Dr Patrick Collins, of the School of Archaeology and Geography and the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, delivered the keynote address. Dr Collins discussed the importance of authenticity and place in the creative economy, arguing that place is an inspiration and an input to the creative economy.

Interactive sessions

Pauline White and Ian Brannigan from the Western Development Commission opened the first interactive session focusing on opening up new international opportunities for creative businesses. The Creative Edge initiative, MyCreativeEdge, which aims to increase creative business exposure in international markets, was discussed. It was noted that businesses registered on MyCreativeEdge often class themselves as begin part of more than one sub-sector of creative industries, highlighting the diversity of skills within the creative economy. Alan Rowe, Managing Director of Aró Digital Strategy discussed how his business provides design, technology and marketing strategies to premium brands. Alan highlighted the importance of serving a niche market when faced with competing in a marketplace alongside larger companies.

Developing effective infrastructure and supports was the focus of the next interactive session. Paul Kavanagh, from Craigavon Borough Council opened the discussion telling of his experience in establishing Creative Hubs in the South East Economic Development area of Northern Ireland. Aisling Murtagh, from the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway, discussed how to better support creative industries in peripheral places by developing policy. Susie Monagan, Fullbright scholar based at the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway, then presented her research with artist entrepreneurs in the west of Ireland. Susie highlighted a number of recommendations to better support the sector such as more peripherally focused funding schemes and the development of an arts advocacy group to lobby for the interests of the sector.


Creative Edge partners at An Taibhdhearc

The final interactive session focused on nurturing creative talent and Dr Jenny Dagg from the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway discussed the importance of creative education and how it should be increasingly focused and linked with industry needs. Simon Österhof from Film i Västerbotten in Sweden talked about the Creative Edge Mentoring Programme. Simon highlighted the problem of how few audio visual companies in Sweden recruit new graduates and with Creative Edge and the mentoring programme they wanted to try and bridge this gap. Finally, Anitra Arkko-Saukkonen from Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences gave an overview of the Creative Steps initiative, which connected young creative talents with creative businesses.


Next steps and closing performance

The conference closed with an informative discussion on the next steps for developing creative economies in peripheral regions. The issue of irregular incomes for artists was raised and ways to help bridge income gaps until payment for projects are made would help support more sustainable ways of living for artists. The broader importance of creativity in business was also discussed, and that overlap between the broader business sector and the inherent creativity of the creative sector could also be tapped into. The point that we also need to be realistic about the creative sector and not over-value its potential to contribute to employment, while also making the most of the contribution it can make, was also raised.

The conference closed with a short performance of an excerpt of Mark O’Halloran’s The Head of Red O’Brien.

More information 

Press release, 2nd December – read here

Galway Advertiser,  December 5th, Audio visual sector worth €72m a year to Galway – read here