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What is happening in our region? Mapping initiatives, past and present

Ireland's creative industries and craft sectors are diverse and encompass a wide range of artistic and cultural activities, including music, literature, film, theater, dance, visual arts, design, architecture, and craft-making. The country has a rich cultural heritage that has influenced these industries, and there is a strong tradition of supporting and promoting the arts. The creative industries in Ireland are a significant contributor to the country's economy.
According to a report by the Arts Council of Ireland, the creative sector employs over 40,000 people and generates more than €4.6 billion in revenue annually. Ireland's craft sector is equally diverse and includes a range of traditional and contemporary crafts such as pottery, glassmaking, woodworking, textiles, and jewelry making. There is a strong tradition of craftsmanship in Ireland, and many craftspeople have been practicing their trade for generation.

So, what is happening in our region? Mapping initiatives, past and present

  • With the support of ERASMUS+, Roscommon Leader Partnership and Momentum ran the Creative Communities Igniting Change 2015 – 2017 project which had a positive impact on communities in the Roscommon region, promoting creative entrepreneurship, social inclusion, and community leadership. The project helped to build new skills and capacities within communities and supported the development of new creative projects and initiatives. It also helped to raise awareness of the important role that creativity can play in social change and community development.
  • Roscommon Leader Partnership has provided leadership to unlock the potential of the creative industries for disadvantaged groups. It secured Dormant Accounts funding for a project called  Just Creative: empowering refugee women project to benefit the Syrian Female Refugee Community in Ballaghaderreen. It piloted the delivery a female refugee integration best practice model to use hand craft and cultural food as the common platform for personal development, pre-employment, training & integration support provision.   This is based on a Swedish best practice model Grupp 39.  Importantly, it sought to contribute to Ballaghaderreen realizing its ambition to become a Creative Town.
  • An Bealach seeks to revitalize Ballaghaderreen via the promotion of the creative industry in County Roscommon and the larger Western Region. The promoters have recently lodged planning permission for an ambitious 2,400 square metre building project to construct two interconnected blocks, a public realm plaza and car/bus parking spaces. According to plans, Block A would be a two-storey building including the community education development and remote working spaces while Block B would contain multi-media production facilities. Initial Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) support of €1.65 million is in place.
  • The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a regional development agency that supports economic and social development in the Western region of Ireland. The WDC has been active in promoting and supporting the creative industries and craft sectors in the region for decades and cognizes the importance of the creative industries and craft sectors in the Western region, both in terms of their cultural and economic contributions. Creative - Western Development Commission.

    The agency has launched a number of initiatives to support and promote these sectors, including funding programs, training and development opportunities, and business supports. Examples include the Creative Momentum INTERREG  project which promoted entrepreneurship and innovation in the creative industries across six regions in Europe, including the Western region of Ireland. The project provided training and development opportunities, as well as access to funding and networking opportunities.
  • CREW “Creative Enterprise West” is a collaborative initiative led by Atlantic Technical University (ATU) Galway,  the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Ardán (formally the Galway Film Centre). CREW supports enterprises in areas such as design, film and TV production, animation, gaming, content development and AR/VR from its base at the ATU Galway campus at Cluain Mhuire, Galway. CREW aims to develop an ecosystem and a suite of business and technical support services in the West, including Roscommon,  for the digital creative sector. Of interest to Circular Creatives:-

    • It delivers a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (CEED) at Level 9 (30 ECTS). Circular Creatives has the opportunity to hold a workshop with the participants of this project – see more
    • It is developing Ireland’s first Innovation Hub and Business Incubator focused on accelerating the development of innovative entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries including film, tv, gaming, animation, immersive, virtual production, and creative technologies.

Local Enterprise Office Roscommon showed leadership in developing  two editions of the  Roscommon Design | Craft | Visual Art Sourcing Guide to celebrates and promotes excellence and innovation in contemporary craft, design and art in the County. The theme of the Sourcing Guide is Where the Heart Is. This is a collective call to support 35 talented makers, creators and artists living and working in Co. Roscommon.

Download the Guide NEW LEO Roscommon Design, Craft & Visual Art Sourcing Guide - Local Enterprise Office - Roscommon

LEO Roscommon encourages all enterprises to participate in Green for Micro, a FREE programme that helps small businesses take the first step towards becoming more sustainable, giving access to a green consultant to highlight small changes that can have a big impact on the company.

  • The Roscommon Culture and Creativity Strategy 2023- 2037 identifies Roscommon’s strategic approach to fostering and facilitating the creative, artistic and cultural activities in the county in partnership with individual communities, creatives, agencies and organisations.  Download the plan Roscommon-1.pdf (
  • The Creative Ireland Programme is an all-of-government initiative committed to enhancing access to, engagement with, and enjoyment of Ireland’s culture and creativity is a collaborative inter-departmental and inter-agency programme which places creativity at the heart of our future as a society. The Creative Ireland Programme will prioritise its work around five aspects for the period 2023–2027:

— Creative Youth

— Creative Communities

— Creative Industries

— Creative Health and Wellbeing

— Creative Climate Action and Sustainability.

The national website is Creative Ireland - Connecting people, creativity and wellbeing while  the Roscommon content is featured on  Roscommon - Creative Ireland Programme

Roscommon is benefitting from a social enterprise initiative dedicated to craft and the circular economy. CycleUp, by Roscommon Women’s Network, is a circular economy social enterprise that provides textile upcycling training and creates unique, upcycled items using pre-loved and unwanted textiles. Their main objective is to empower individuals through upcycling education and skills development while addressing the issue of textile waste. Through its work and its community development approach, CycleUp supports the hardest to reach women and families to engage and participate.

The issue of textile waste was initially highlighted by volunteers at the Roscommon Women’s Network (RWN) Charity Shop in 2018. They became concerned about the fate of unsold clothing and took action when they discovered alarming statistics, such as the potential avoidance of over 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions if only 15% of discarded textiles were diverted from landfills. This motivated them to address this environmental problem and find sustainable solutions.

Following a fact-finding visit by the RWN volunteers to the Rediscovery Centre National Centre for the Circular Economy, the RWN Textile Upcycling Pilot Project was rolled out in 2019 which was co-funded by the Local Agenda21 LAPN and Dept. Communications, Climate Action and Environment as well as clothing brand Patagonia with support from Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB), The Roscommon Environmental Network and the Rediscovery Centre.

Following on from the success of the pilot project and evaluation by St. Angela’s College Sligo, RWN secured funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Green Enterprise initiative for the WECAN project for 2021. This funded a project manager for a 12-month period to develop and grow the CycleUp Environmental and Training Social Enterprise, promote and market upcycled products to increase sales, expand the training reach throughout the region and beyond and spread the message of the circular economy through networking and outreach workshops.

To bridge the gap in upcycling skills, they took action by assisting some of CycleUp Team in becoming qualified tutors. In May 2021, 6 participants successfully completed the Training Delivery and Evaluation QQI Level 6 program. These women, who come from diverse backgrounds and include lone parents and caregivers, are now engaged with the project as tutors for Upcycling Textiles Training Courses and Workshops. This initiative not only addresses the skills gap but also provides employment opportunities for these individuals.

Today, CycleUp employs 3 part time staff and 5 Community Employment workers supported by a team of 14 volunteers and we have supported some of our trainees to progress into self-employment.

To date 74 people have completed training and they have reused and upcycled over 8000kg of textiles resulting in a carbon saving of 65 tonnes.

We now present the journey of the Creatives and Job Opportunities Exploratory Panels in Roscommon, Ireland as it evolved, with involvement of 122 stakeholders over a series of meetings, workshops and interactions in preparation for this Action Plan.

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