Minister Launches Creativity Month

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure believes Northern Ireland's creative industries can help rebalance the economy

Nelson McCausland, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, announced this week that March 2011 has been designated ‘Creativity Month’. This initiative aims to promote a range of events across Northern Ireland to raise the profile of Northern Ireland’s ever growing creative industries sector.

Launching Creativity Month, the Minister said: 'The focus of this initiative will be on the creative industries and a broader understanding of creativity as an agenda that promotes new ideas and collaborations that can tackle the economic and social challenges facing Northern Ireland.

'Opportunities exist to further promote Northern Ireland on the world stage through the vision and talent of our local creative companies and entrepreneurs maximising our cultural wealth and heritage.'

The creative industries are recognised across the world for their potential for job and wealth creation. They include areas such as film and television, music, design, craft and digital content such as internet games and mobile applications. These areas increasingly play a key role in stimulating success in more traditional sectors such as manufacturing and tourism.

The Minister continued: 'In Northern Ireland, over 36,000 people are employed in the creative industries or in creative occupations, which represents 4.6% of the workforce. By encouraging creativity we fuel the emergence of creative people and creative enterprises. This supports the economy but can also inspire new solutions that support government priorities in education, health, social inclusion and the environment.

'In recognising the significance that this sector plays in helping to grow a dynamic and innovative economy, I am pleased that the Northern Ireland Executive have assigned in the draft budget an additional £4m to help develop the skills and capacity to grow the sector even further.'

Chairman of the Institute of Directors (NI) Joanne Stuart welcomed the Creativity Month initiative as a proactive way to raise the growing profile of creative industries in Northern Ireland.

'Investing in and supporting our creative industries makes good business sense as this sector makes a huge impact on creating a healthy and vibrant economy for Northern Ireland,' said Stuart. 'A culturally rich society entices the best people to want to live and work here, encourages investment and adds to social cohesion.'

Events during Creativity Month include Creativity and Innovation in Construction: Creative Industry Innovation at P.L.A.C.E. gallery in Belfast, the SHOWCASE Cultural Entrepreneurship Conference at Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast Design Archive Exhibition at the University of Ulster and much more.

For information on the range of events that are taking place during Creativity Month visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/creativitymonth.

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