UrbanLab Galway in new European project to tap into cultural and creative minds

The UrbanLab Galway teamed up with the Galway International Arts Festival to bring Luke Jerram’s Mars exhibition to Persse’s Plaza on Nuns’ Island to inspire people to consider new uses for the old distillery.
Oct 26 2022 Posted: 10:56 IST

Public concerns being put to the test in search for solutions to local issues

The public’s input is to be sought as part of a European project involving University of Galway which aims to put creative and cultural minds to work on solutions to key local and development issues in Galway and the west of Ireland.

UrbanLab Galway is a new research initiative at the University, which is part of a consortium in 12 countries exploring cultural and creative industries in what are classed as non-urban areas of the EU. Its goal is to act as a public facing research centre that promotes a ‘place-based’ approach to development in the local context.  

The project, IN SITU - Place-based innovation of cultural and creative industries in non-urban areas, has €4million funding from the European Commission under the Horizon Europe programme and is coordinated by the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. 

The research will run over four years and aims to contribute to increasing the capacity of Cultural and Creative Industries to act as drivers of innovation, competitiveness and sustainability in their local region.  

Principal Investigator, Dr Pat Collins of UrbanLab Galway and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies at University of Galway, said: “At the core of this project is a recognition that culture and creativity exist everywhere. They are not just the domain of New York, Milan and Paris; but exist beyond the big city. What we are looking at here is how we can use culture and creativity as a legitimate developmental tool for places like the west of Ireland.

“Beyond the research aspect, there is an important practical element to this project. We will be inviting members of the public and local creatives to join with us in looking at how culture can help us address some key issues at the local level in the west of Ireland.” 

University of Galway is recruiting publicly engaged researchers for the project. The intention is to commence interesting conversations about key local development issues facing Galway and the west and highlighting the past and future roles of culture and creativity in addressing placemaking.  

Last summer UrbanLab Galway teamed up with the Galway International Arts Festival to bring Luke Jerram’s Mars exhibition to Persse’s Plaza on Nuns’ Island to inspire the people of Galway to consider new uses for the old distillery. 

The IN SITU project consortium brings together 13 institutional partners in 12 countries, and is accompanied by a number of outreach partners within Europe and internationally. 

The core defining aspect of IN SITU is the interlinking of research and practice through place-based hubs for networking, capacity building and monitoring case studies in six regions across Europe, located in Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, and Croatia. 

The project also includes capacity-building programme to enable Cultural and Creative Industries to address some of the key issues in their communities and regions. IN SITU seeks to provide a better understanding of the contribution of the Cultural and Creative industries across all sectors of the economy and society in order to provide better supports for their future development. 


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