Ireland has had major individual successes internationally coming from the cultural and creative industries. However, government policies and strategies regarding the sector have to date provided inconsistencies around the definitional scope and the relationship to the economy. At a basic level there is a lack of clarity as to which Government department is responsible.
A number of reports point to the central importance of content creation in driving future economic growth within the context of a knowledge-based economic agenda. Most recently, the national cultural policy framework of the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht — Culture 2025 (2016) — aimed amongst other things “to integrate cultural policy within broader social and economic goals.” (p.3) The creative industries were defined as “including film and television production, animation, broadcasting, electronic games, architecture, design and fashion, publishing, media and advertising.” (p.5) However, when the final policy framework Culture 2025 was published in 2020, the cultural and creative sectors are defined as industries and occupations which focus on creativity as a means to deliver commercial success, export growth and resilient employment for Ireland including: advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts; design; fashion; film, TV, video, radio and photography; IT, software and computer services; publishing; museums, galleries and libraries; music, performing and visual arts. The 2020 draft policy document has not been followed by a strategic action plan or a clear budget agenda for specifically funding the cultural and creative industries sector, which limits its effectiveness.
The cultural and creative industries still provide opportunity for growth. In recent government policy, the significance of the cultural and creative industries in driving economic growth and jobs provision has been recognised by policymakers with increased focus on scaling up capacity within the audio-visual sector. However, the coordination of actions through a national strategic plan is lacking. Following the publication of the government’s first Audio-Visual Action Plan (2018), an additional EUR 200 million in funds for Screen Ireland was announced over the next ten years. Examples of recent initiatives by national and local governments include the development of Troy Film Studios in Limerick.
Local authorities in Ireland have launched the Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018-2022. Supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, each local authority is implementing a five-year strategy. While there are many great individual initiatives implemented under the strategy that aim at increasing participation and social cohesion, it is unfortunate that there is no overarching national policy guidance on the conceptualising of what is deemed to belong to the cultural and creative industries.
Creative Ireland is currently working on a Creative Industries Roadmap expected to be published in 2020. The Roadmap is expected to clearly define the creative industries in Ireland as industries and occupations which utilise creativity as a means to deliver commercial success and employment. The roadmap is expected to concentrate efforts on:
- design-based (i.e., industrial design, product design, web design and visual communications, user-interface/user-experience design and software design, service design, and strategic design),
- digital creative (i.e., games sector, and the post-production/visual effects (VFX) which supports the audio-visual sector, but is also an export service in its own right), and
- content creation industries (i.e., advertising and brand development, but also including new content for commercial social media uses, online distribution and mobile applications (‘apps’) as well as content for new platforms such as augmented/virtual/mixed reality.