Creative and digital sector development
Belfast’s international reputation for its distinct and original creative and digital sector is growing rapidly. We’ve worked very closely with the sector, particularly in the last decade, supporting its growth and promoting our talent internationally.
Over 20,000 people are now employed in the creative and digital industries, with around 1,600 businesses across the film, animation, music, mobile, gaming, and TV subsectors.
In the last three years, under the name Output Belfast, we’ve worked with partners including Invest NI, NI Screen, Digital Catapult, Tourism Ireland and Generator NI to help develop the interactive, convergence and music sectors. We’ve also worked with and supported private sector initiatives including events such as Digital DNA, BelTech, Cartoon Business and the AVA Conference.
Our intention is to continue to build on these relationships in the year ahead and beyond.
We will profile our creative and digital sector through two key initiatives in the next year.
Output Belfast conference and showcase events
The one-day Output Belfast conference has run annually since 2015 and has now established itself as the largest music sector conference in Ireland. The 2018 event will take place on 15 February 2018 at The Mac and will address the challenges and opportunities that the music industry presents, highlighting the key role that music and performance plays within Northern Ireland’s buoyant creative industries sector.
Each year the daytime conference is followed by Output Belfast evening showcases. This sees the very best of local creative talent performing in ten venues across the Cathedral Quarter to visiting music industry and media delegates. As well as providing an excellent platform for local bands and performers, it showcases the city's venues and its vibrant social and cultural scene.
Creative Accelerator is an initiative designed to support new and early stage creative digital businesses seeking access to affordable hot desks and co-working space in Belfast, plus access to industry-specific coaching networks and international opportunities.
The programme aims to accelerate the growth of participating businesses and help boost the sector via knowledge transfer, networking, mentoring and access to new international business development opportunities. It is open to businesses located in the Belfast City Council area.
A priority subsector for this initiative is to support the development of companies working in the key sectors of film, TV, digital content, immersive technology and music.
We also intend to profile the sector at a number of key international events in the year ahead.
South by Southwest (SXSW)
Alongside our partners, for the last nine years we’ve brought Belfast businesses to Austin, Texas, for SXSW, the world’s leading conference for the music, film and interactive technology. We plan to further develop our presence at SXSW in 2018, showcasing Belfast creativity to a global audience in order to foster trade and investment in our city.
The Great Escape
The Great Escape is the leading European industry event and media platform for 'new music'. Held each year in Brighton and Hove in England, it provides a high profile opportunity to showcase the strongest emerging musical artists from Belfast and Northern Ireland. Five emerging artists from Belfast performed at the 2017 event in an Output Belfast-branded venue in front of an audience comprising over 200 influential industry and media guests.