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Wayne on way to Derry for conference

By William Allen

One of the best known names in UK design - Wayne Hemingway, the founder of Hemingway Design and Red or Dead - will be the keynote speaker at the 2007 Creative Industries Conference in Londonderry later this week.

The conference, entitled Creative Inspiration - Making A Living in the Arts, is an economic development initiative of Derry City Council in partnership with University of Ulster, Invest NI and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

Gerard Diver, chairman of the council's development committee, said: "Creative industries is identified as a strategic driver in the development of the knowledge-based economy for the city and region. This one-day conference creates an event that is ideal for owners of design-led businesses, design graduates who are thinking of starting in business and for policy makers keen to support the development of this sector."

Business opportunities are opening up for design-led businesses.

Fiona McElroy, business liaison officer at the University of Ulster, said there are plenty of examples of creative graduates in Northern Ireland who have successfully started their own businesses.

"One excellent example is Rachel O'Neill whose company, Looplaa, recently exhibited at the Maison Objet Exhibition in Paris, demonstrating the global potential of the creative industries," she said.

Wayne Hemingway says he is excited at the prospect of speaking at the Derry conference.

" The creative industries are an important driver in the UK economy. The sector employs 1.8 million people and is worth £14bn to the British economy. In Northern Ireland there is potential for even further growth - creativity is in all of us, anyone can be creative," he insisted.

Mr Hemingway, from Blackburn, gained a degree in geography and town planning at University College, London in 1979. The event in Derry, which is free due to funding from the EU Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme, takes place in the Millennium Forum this Thursday.

However registration is essential and full details can be found on www.derrycity.gov.uk/economicdevelopment.

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