Persistent Creativity: Making the Case for Art, Culture and the Creative Industries

Despite a growing number of valuable, and valid, critiques, the notion that ‘creativity’ has a special role to play in the future success of post-industrial societies has proved to be remarkably persistent. Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland was delighted to host Dr. Peter Campbell on 23rd October 2018 at the Brian Friel Theatre. He presented findings from an upcoming publication, which considers this persistence and examines how ‘creativity’ has become entrenched within a range of discourses and practices, particularly since the turn of the century.

In particular, it considers the specific means by which the role of creativity has been established, and the role for research, policy, statisticians and methodological practices in this process. His talk considered key aspects of the continuing project to construct a convincing ‘evidence base’ regarding creativity, and the ways in which this evidence is utilised. It draws on a range of research which considers 1) the types of evidence used to make the case for culture in urban regeneration over the past twenty years, 2) the claims made regarding the nature and role of ‘creative industries’ over the same period, and 3) the role played by national and international ‘capital of culture’ competitions.

Presentation slides and an audio of Dr. Campbell’s presentation is available below.

Following Dr. Campbell’s presentation, we were joined by researcher and practitioner, Ali FitzGibbon; Paul Moore, Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative Industries Cluster, Future Screens NI; and Dan Hull, Senior Research Officer within the Research and Information Service of the Northern Ireland Assembly, to discuss the ways in which we understand and employ data regarding creativity to investigate claims of the value of the cultural industries in the Northern Irish context.


Peter Campbell is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool working primarily in the fields of social research methods and cultural policy. He is currently working with colleagues within the University of Liverpool, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast on AHRC-funded research considering the role of art in post-conflict societies. His monograph entitled Persistent Creativity: Making the Case for Art, Culture and the Creative Industries will be published in 2019.

Ali FitzGibbon is a research practitioner, combining research in arts management with independent producing, programming and consultancy in the cultural sector. Her research focuses on themes of cultural leadership and creative labour, particularly in live arts, She has been a teaching associate on the MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at Queen’s University Belfast since 2012. She is on the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. Over the last 25 years, she has built a substantial portfolio of experience working at community, national and international level in theatre, festivals, outdoor and youth arts. In addition, she regularly undertakes advisory work in the voluntary, social enterprise and community sectors.

Dan Hull is a Senior Research Officer within the Research and Information Service of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Specialising in culture and heritage, Dan provides research to MLAs and Assembly committees. His research has been used during inquiries into the creative industries, the arts and working class communities, and the impact and value of museums.

Professor Paul Moore joined the University of Ulster in 1999 and has since been active in the development of the creative arts/industries policy in the university. He was head of the School of Creative Arts and Technologies from 2008 to 2017 and the School of Communication and Media 2017-18. He is a Co-Director of Ulster’s Creative Industries Institute (CII) and has most recently been appointed Director of the AHRC Creative Industries Cluster, Future Screens NI. He was awarded a personal chair in 2009 becoming Professor of Creative Technologies, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2014.

His research is focused on both the creative industries and the ways in which theory and practice can be brought together in research, training and education. Most recently he has been involved in various arts data research projects with national bodies such as NESTA in the UK. He has published widely in a range of journals/books and his practice has been exhibited in a number of commissioned gallery exhibitions in London, Coventry, Belfast, Derry, Lough Neagh, and the National Gallery of Namibia.

He was the Ofcom Content Board member for Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2013. From 1995 to 2004 he was also a board member of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and chaired the education committee which developed the seminal Wider Literacy policy document.  In his spare time he is a freelance broadcaster with BBC Radio Ulster and has written and presented a range of documentaries for BBC national radio.