SPECTRA partner meeting in Galway

The SPECTRA Coordinator Western Development Commission, together with partner CREW Digital and associate partners Galway Culture Company and Atlantic Technological University, welcomed SPECTRA partners from Ruse region in Bulgaria (BIC Innobridge and Ruse Chamber of Commerce), Copenhagen Denmark (Creative Business Network) and Berlin Germany (Media Deals) in Galway on 10th and 11th January 2023.

On the first day of the meeting, the partners were invited to meet at Porteshed a Dó, a city-based hot-spot for innovation, start-ups, scale-ups, and hot-deskers. Regional stakeholders gave an overview of activities on the state of play of creative industries, and some of the key initiatives and programmes taking place, as well as planned. Ian Brannigan of Western Development Commission, gave a presentation on the long-standing involvement of the WDC in the Creative Sector, starting with research and policy work and continuing through the realm of European projects and focused initiatives. Paddy Tobbin of the Atlantic Technological University spoke about the necessity to connect technological capability, education and & skills with entrepreneurial supports and illustrated the activities of the School of Design and Creative Arts. CREW’s Niamh Costello outlined their work in creating a programme of supports in close collaboration with regional stakeholders and currently working on a state-of-the-art creative innovation hub building, co-located with ATU. Helena Deane discussed the actions under objectives in the West Regional Enterprise Plan, which aims to strengthen the Creative and Cultural Sector and various projects underway in the region. Work of the Galway Culture Company was highlighted by Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan together with some major achievements of the city in the filed of Arts, Film and Culture. Jessica Fuller, acting Programme Manager for the North-West Regional Enterprise Plan, gave a few highlights from her work with creative industries, and from her research.

A networking lunch followed, during which the visiting partners connected to some of the board members of CREW digital, with WDC Sustainable Enterprise Programme Manager Roger Sweetman, Alan Hernon, the EU projects Executive, CEO and members of the Portershed, and others. The study visit encompassed a tour of Pálás, a three-screen arthouse cinema and cultural space in the UNESCO city of film Galway. The partners got to discuss the cinema’s offering and services, business model, partnerships, and other facts of interest.

The day was rounded of with an interactive roundtable session hosted by the Galway Chamber of Commerce. Their CEO, Kenny Chambers depicted some of the activities with emphasis on CCSI and the ecosystem. Local Enterprise Office’s Caroline MacDonagh, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, spoke about the business support framework for the SMEs and start-ups, giving an overview of some of the main features. The visitors also got to hear from the Arts officer from Galway City, Kate Howard. Kate described how Galway City Arts Office works in partnership with the various sections and departments within the council from Tourism, Community and the Galway Culture Company to develop and strengthen arts opportunities in communities, neighbourhoods and districts across the city. A particular highlight was the discussion about the many festivals and events taking place throughout the year, and associated businesses and NGOs. Finally, Galway Film Fleadh was presented – an international film festival taking place every July, which was originally founded in 1989 as a platform for Irish filmmakers to exhibit their work to their peers, and which is a platform for the boldest new films and brings audiences & filmmakers from around the world together, to celebrate a shared passion for film.

On the 11th of June, the consortium worked on project delivery, programming and final exchange, also looking at the next steps and future study visits. The deep dive over the 2 days has given an opportunity to other partners and regions to really understand the composition of the ecosystem, as well its strengths, challenges and opportunities, the exchange constituting a basis for future joint activities. During the 2 days of the study visit, many new linkages and connections were formed.