|International Creative Campus - enabled by local skills (Sept 2007)|
|Written by David Brunnen|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2007 09:22|
Known as the Paint Hall, this relic of Belfast's legendary ship-building past is likely to become a major component of Northern Ireland's new creative economy.
In 2004 we identified the creative sector as one of the five economic drivers that, in combination, could lead to massive regeneration.
The international Creative Campus concept fits alongside other local development initiatives in Science, Education and Tourism. The 5th driver - supporting all of these - is the advanced networking infrastructure currently being planned for Titanic Quarter.
But far more important than all of these strategic plans, the reality is that, with encouragement from Groupe Intellex, film makers, animators and many other 'new media' professionals from around the world are discovering the wealth of talent available here in Belfast and across the island of Ireland.
Creative industries don't just employ high-tech clever clogs. They need, in abundance, a vast range of skilled people - from carpenters, plumbers and lighting technicians to painters, decorators and costume makers in addition to generating work for drivers, office workers and umpteen other occupations.
Nowhere is this need for local skills more evident than on the set of the latest international movie production 'City of Ember'. Tom Hanks' Playtone production has transformed the inside of the old Paint Hall into an amazing underworld fantasy complex - a transformation that was only possible with locally-recruited teams of skilled workers.
So Belfast's legendary ship-building past has provided a far greater asset than the redundant ship yards and buildings for redevelopment. The rich seams of locally available craft skills are now recognised by the movers and shakers in Hollywood as a vital enabling ingredient in the emergence of our community's international Creative Campus.