2.16 Cultural and Creative Industries
Cultural and creative industries are increasingly important in the economy and a source income and job creation. As well as its economic impact, culture contributes to creating a sense of identity, distinctiveness of place and social objectives such as improved well-being linked to engagement in cultural activities.
Cultural industries are based on individual creativity, skills and talent. They may be developed within businesses across a range of sectors (e.g., design, technologies, advertising, information and marketing campaigns) and well as business ventures in their own right. Creative industries can emerge from the generation and exploitation of intellectual property including advertising, software, publishing, architecture, music and the visual and performing arts, film, video, photography and literature.
Limerick as a City of Culture
There is a growing movement internationally by cities to become recognised as “creative cities” and this can be an important element of regeneration and re-branding strategies. Cultural and creative industries remain an under-developed sector in Limerick. There is significant potential for growth from the base that has emerged over recent years, particularly since Limerick was designated the National City of Culture in 2014, and the profile that was developed as Limerick applied to be the European City of Culture (2016). Demand to expand these industries applies across all age groups – older people, young people – as consumers as well as creators. In certain sub-sectors, demand may be high amongst young people, as workers in the sector, enterprises and as consumers of its products.
Cultural Assets, Venues and Other Resources
Limerick has activities in place and developed facilities / services and human resources engaged in culture and arts from which to further develop in these industries. The presence of the Limerick School of Art and Design in the city centre campus with some 1,450 students, Troy Film Studios, the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, and other centres of cultural creativity and design (e.g., Product Design Centres at third level education institutions) are significant assets in Limerick.
It also has concert and exhibition venues including commercial operations (University Concert Hall, the Lime Tree Theatre), community cultural venues in the city and county (e.g., Kilmallock, Lough Gur, Newcastle West) and other venues including the Milk Market, Thomand Park, TUS/Gaelic Grounds and King John’s Castle.
Involvement in cultural and creative projects gives community and voluntary groups and interest groups in society (e.g., young people) opportunities to work together. It can build community spirit and promote social inclusion.
Film in Limerick
The development of the film sector has been a strong focus of Innovate Limerick, a Designated Activity Company wholly-owned by Limerick City and County Council. Troy Studios, Ireland’s largest studio facility, was established in Limerick in 2016 and has been utilised for productions by Netflix and Apple with other productions in the pipeline. In 2021, Innovate Limerick through Film in Limerick partnered with Gorm Media to launch a diversity initiative to attract workers to the film and TV industry. Innovate Limerick secured funding (€13.5 million) from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) to develop a Film Production and Digital Collaboration and Skills Academy in the city centre in a building purchased by Limerick City and County Council, known as Engine. The Academy is important for the social and economic transformation of Limerick. The aim is to target specific groups of people from most disadvantaged areas in the city for training in skills needed in the developing TV production and film industry in Limerick.