Ireland's jobs and recruitment service for the arts, culture and creative industry.

Defining the Creative Industry

If you ask yourself ‘Who or what is a creative?’, the first answer that comes to mind is ‘artists’, since their aim is to produce entirely original work – to bring abstract dreams to life through words, material or performance. But there are undoubtedly other people working to bring ideas to life, to create original events, products and experiences.

The most frequently used definition of the creative industry in economic valuations is the UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which recognized nine creative sectors within the industry.

  1. Advertising and marketing
  2. Architecture
  3. Crafts
  4. Design: product, graphic and fashion design
  5. film, TV, video, radio and photography
  6. IT, software and computer services
  7. Publishing
  8. Museums, galleries and libraries
  9. Music, performing and visual arts

It’s argued that only some parts of IT, software and computer services are classified as creative. Perhaps a more helpful way of defining the creative industry is all those activities that create copyright. So a laptop repair person doesn’t work in the creative industry, but a app developer does.

Others break the creative industry into three distinct parts: arts, culture and creative media[1]

Arts: visual arts including paintings, sculpture, craft, photography; the arts and antique markets; performing arts including opera, orchestra, theatre, dance, circus; and heritage including museums, heritage sites, archaeological sites, libraries and archives.

Culture: the production of cultural products aimed at mass reproduction, mass-dissemination and exports (for example, a book, a film, a sound recording). These are cultural industries‛ including film and video, video-games, broadcasting, music, book and press publishing.

Creative: where culture becomes a ‘creative‛ input in the production of non-cultural goods. Activities like design (fashion design, interior design, and product design), architecture, and advertising. And more recently, app and web development and the creation of other IT products

Most organizations active in the arts are not-for-profit. They receive funding from groups like the Arts Council of Ireland, The Department of Arts etc., Culture Ireland and numerous others. Individual artists, mostly working on a freelance basis, can also receive funding from these and other organisations as well as earning income from sales, commissions, and performances. However many artists in Ireland cannot make a living from their art alone and aim to find relevant and meaningful work within the creative industry to support their practices; others find unrelated work to make ends meet. Creative teaching, lecturing, mentoring, journalism, arts management, organisation and curation are all common ways for artist to earn an income. Many develop what is referred to as a portfolio career.

Within each art form, there are further funding and resource organisation for artists and arts organisers. For example, visual artists seek support from Visual Artists Ireland, theatre makers from Theatre Forum, writers from the Irish Writers Centre, Words Ireland and others. These are easily found after a quick internet search.

As one radiates out from the arts to culture and the wider creative industry, there are more organisations operating commercially, for a profit, as products are more likely to be mass produced and thus profitable. There are also a greater number of jobs, and generally greater remuneration for work.

Creative Careers Ireland aims to serve all of these sectors and advertise the diverse employment opportunities that the arts, culture and creative sectors provide.

[1] As per the HEA 2006 report for the European Commission