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

23 October 2018
5 – 7pm
Brian Friel Theatre (in Queen’s Film Theatre)

Please book your place here.

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 is delighted to host Dr. Peter Campbell, who will present 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 will consider 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.

Following Dr. Campbell’s presentation, we will be joined by Eimear Henry, Cultural Regeneration Manager at Belfast City Council; researcher and practitioner, Ali FitzGibbon; and Margaret Henry, CEO of thrive 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.

Eimear Henry is Cultural Regeneration Manager at Belfast City Council. She led the bid team in Belfast for Belfast and Londonderry’s joint bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 and has a strong history working in the arts and cultural sector. She is a champion of culture-led regeneration.

Margaret Henry is Chief Executive of thrive, NI’s audience development agency working across the cultural sector.  Her background is in strategy, marketing and insight and she has worked in a range of cultural organisations including the BBC.

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.