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Doing business in the Burren

THE Western Development Commission will examine the potential development of creative industries as part of this year’s Burren Spring Conference, Business in the Burren: Sustaining Vibrant Communities, which is running this weekend from Friday to Sunday.

Young entrepreneurs Jayden Culligan and Roan Downes making their way to this weekend’s Burren Spring Conference at the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan. Photograph by Andrew Downes At a recent seminar entitled Creative Industries, Innovation and the Smart Economy, held at NUI Galway, the WDC presented research it had conducted into the size of the creative sector in the West of Ireland.
It estimated that in 2008 there were 4,779 creative businesses operating in the Western Region, directly employing over 11,000 people. This generated an annual turnover of €534 million and directly contributed €270m to the gross value added of the regional economy.
The research also showed that creative businesses in the Western Region tend to be small scale and that there is a high level of entrepreneurship among creative people, with 39% of them self-employed.
One example of this type of creative industry, which will feature at the Burren Spring Conference, is the screening of Fergus Tighe’s film, Seaside Stories, which was filmed on location in Ennistymon and North Clare and features local actors Michael Canavan, Gerry Howard, Theresa Leahy and Patrick O’Donoghue.
Alongside a farmer’s market in the courtyard of the Burren College of Art on Saturday afternoon will be a ‘marketplace of ideas’ where anyone with a business proposal they would like to develop and receive professional advice on can come and speak with Ian Brannigan or representatives from Burren Connect. Those interested in attending should contact Mary Hawkes Greene at mhg@burrencollege.ie.
Other speakers at the conference include Darina Allen, Padraig O’Céidigh and Davie Philips, founding member of the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, each of whom will speak about their experiences of developing rural enterprises.
As part of this Friday’s opening ceremony BURREN, an exhibition of photography, will also be launched at 7pm in The Gallery at the college.
The exhibition includes work by Rebeca Peralta, Elaine Mackey, Pam O’Connell, Matt Austin, Max Davidowtiz, Aja Daly, Natalie Williams, Emily Atchinson, Julie Kang, Jennifer Hynes, Kathleen Gilsen, Brian Nigus, Kathryn Moore, Jessica Artman, Eileen Hutton, Amanda McCaskey, Meredith KcKelvey and Mackenzie Katter.
An invitation for open submission was sent to all BCA students. The concept was to offer BCA alumni and current students the opportunity to present their view of the Burren as part of the conference, with the opportunity to sell their works.
The full conference programme is available at www.burrencollege.ie.


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