Creative sector to help 'design brighter future'
The creative industries sector in Northern Ireland is helping to inspire a new economy, according to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister.
Nelson McCausland was speaking weeks after the Arts Council claimed that the sector - which includes film, craft, digital media and publishing - generates £582m annually and employs over 33,000 people in Northern Ireland.
Mr McCausland, delivering a keynote address at the PLACE Creative Industries Innovation Conference, said that investment in creative industries is generating high economic returns and that there is potential for much more.
The conference was exploring the work of firms and individuals in Northern Ireland, the crossovers between the different creative industries, the knock-on effects for other industries and what can be done to foster a culture of creative work in Northern Ireland.
"The impact of the global recession has emphasised more than ever the urgent need to rebuild and rebalance the Northern Ireland economy in a way that promotes sustainable economic growth," said Mr McCausland.
"Prosperous economies are characterised by a strong creative sector and the creative industries are recognised across the world for their potential for job and wealth creation.
"It is in this context that I particularly welcome the theme of this conference, which helps develop a broader understanding of creativity as an agenda that promotes new ideas and collaborations that can tackle the economic and social challenges facing Northern Ireland."
The Northern Ireland Executive has promised an additional £4m in the draft Budget to help develop the sector further.
PLACE is the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland.