Creativity Thirst Belfast

A partnership between the WEA and Belfast City Council
Are you are considering setting up your own business in the Creative Industries? Or looking to make a little extra income with your creative skills? Well this project is for you.
This short, accessible programme will enable learners to develop a full business plan and a portfolio, including IT presentations and promotional material of their craft/ skills. Participants will also receive guidance from a mentor who will prompt and guide them through this experience. And all within a creative learning environment. This project has been developed by the WEA in response to specific needs identified in the Creative Industries and follows on from the highly successful pilot scheme which took place last year.
Who’s it for?
Anyone living in the Belfast City Council area who holds qualifications in their particular skills area at Level 2 or above and wants to explore income generation or self-employment in the Creative Industries Applicants must attend a short interview at the start of September before beginning the programme

What will I be doing?
Learners are expected to complete both courses

Irresistible Business Level 2:
Thursday 17th September, 6.45pm-9.45pm for 12 weeks.

An opportunity to look at what exactly is required in being self-employed and gain support in initial steps in setting up in business. This is the ideal entry point for those wishing to get involved in business start-up and will allow you to explore the implications of self-employment and starting/running your own business ]

Professional Practice in The Creative Industries Level 1:
Saturday, 19th September, 3rd and 17th October. 10.00am-4.30pm, for 3 weeks
The course is suitable for those who wish to develop their professional profile (including the use of presentation skills if necessary), consider employment opportunities or self employment which would result in gaining work in the Creative Industries.

Taster Sessions:
As part of the “Creativity Thirst”, Belfast project, four taster sessions were delivered in two locations across the city. These sessions were presented by practitioners who work both locally and internationally in the Creative Industries. The role models were asked to tell us about their work, how they have reached their current position and how they used business skills to get to this point. Each slot was opened by a representative from a supporting organisation who explained how their services connect within the context of the Creative Industries.

Similarities are clear within their approaches to business but specific disciplines show the differences involved in the Creative Industries.

Here is what other people said of the last Creativity Thirst
Elaine Hill, a Photographer who participated on last year’s pilot project said
"Prior to starting the course my work revolved around PR shots, weekly gigs and the occasional wedding. I was lacking focus. Creativity Thirst has given me this focus and has helped me think outside the box and now my weddings have doubled. My understanding of self promotion and finance has increased; as has my confidence. I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants to make the most of their career."

Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development committee commented
"This project is unique in that it has been developed to address the gap in business start-up readiness at entry level in the creative sector. The main aim of the programme is to enable those thinking of starting their own business in the creative sector to develop a full business plan, a portfolio, and promotional material through the use of specialised mentors relevant to their business idea.

Belfast City Council recognises that the creative industries is a major growth sector and contributor to wealth in the economy and initiatives such as this will provide a unique platform to harness individual talent, develop business ideas and further enhance the development of this exciting sector."

For further details please contact Carole Kane on 028 90 329718 or email: To download the leaflet please click here



Latest Project News


Belfast Telegraph Story PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Glover   
Thursday, 01 April 2010 14:57
Liz Baird wrote a fantastic story about the learners on the Creativity Thirst: Belfast project. Click Here to read the full article.
Creativity Thirst: Creative Works PDF Print E-mail
Written by Carole Kane   
Thursday, 25 February 2010 12:28
Art Night in February saw the opening of the exhibition at SpaceCraft which was arranged by a core group from the last "Creativity Thirst" project, funded by Belfast City Council. There was a huge turn out for this event far exceeding the expectations of the participants. The evening was an opportunity for this group of "creatives" to sell their work and get their businesses off the ground. Well done to all who took part. Look out for their website and blogg. Address above.
Creativity Thirst Belfast PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Glover   
Thursday, 23 July 2009 14:51
Here’s how they all got on…

Taster Session No. 1

The first session was delivered by Rachel O’Neill, Designer and Karl Harron, International Glass Artist. The support organisation was Space Craft.

Jan Irwin from Spacecraft opened the session. Amongst other things, she explained that in crafts, the maker is the best person to sell their work: not only do you know the background of the piece in question but you also know your personal story of how this has come to being.

The first practitioner was Rachel O’Neill. Although Rachel has only been working for a few years (graduated in 2005) she has succeeded in setting her products on an international showcase. Rachel said that it’s one thing to know and make your product but another to take the leap in getting it seen and sold. She had good business start up support in the early days but this wasn’t enough to sell her work. Rachel has been proactive in marketing, networking, while not ignoring what others have said about her work. Her insight was inspiring and her future business plans are worth watching out for.

Karl Harron is no stranger to the WEA as he tutored for us some time ago. His work has also developed over the years and he is now selling to galleries and prestigious collections. As with other creatives, he not only makes but also teaches in his workshop space. Both Karl and Rachel described their understanding of their materials and how technique and idea development can create unique pieces. It was also clear how important their websites and technology are in the promotion and communication in their businesses.

Taster Session No.2

The second session was delivered by Gawain Morrison, Multi-platform producer and the support organisation was NI Screen.

Christine Morrow from NI Screen introduced this slot by explaining the role of NI Screen and she encouraged people “to get out there and make films”. Once this is done, she recommended setting up a web presence and go knocking on doors. NI Screen has been very supportive of this project so their input to this session was greatly appreciated.

Gawain Morrison has had extensive experience of business in various forms: from club and music management to tee-shirt designing and more recently film making. He works locally, in the UK and in Europe. In his words, “Push the creative, think about what you are doing and don’t be scared to be a bit abstract”. As technology has developed, so have his business ideas. Some learning curves have been more acute than others but from his story, it’s clear that energy, enthusiasm and vision are enhanced by each experience.


Taster Session No. 3 

Delivered by Diane McCormick, Ceramic Artist and supported by Craft NI.

Emma Duggan from Craft NI gave a general presentation of what’s available through Craft NI and how their provision is now developing from the original “Making it” to the advanced programme. Further details can also be found on the Craft NI website.

Diane McCormick uses a range of approaches to her business and has developed a reputation for quality and attractive work. She is unassuming about what she makes and her pieces show a strong use of colour and life. She sells from home as well as responding to commissions. As with other professionals represented in these sessions, she uses her website as a main marketing tool.

Taster Session No 4

The last session was presented by Liam McGarry, CEO McGarry Consulting and Wee Man Studios and supported by Ormeau Business Park.

Patricia McNeill from OBP contributed to the session by outlining the Invest Northern Ireland’s “Go For It” programme and other approaches that INI have for business start up. This could be a natural progression for the participants on the main programme or others who know they have an idea ready to get started.

Liam McGarry has experience in working in the Creative Industries as well as advising others who work in this field. His background is in Law and Accounting and over the last year for so, he has been involved in making iPhone games due to be released later in 2010. His knowledge in this area is extensive and his vision involves a global market rather than just local: the natural perspective for digital technology. Liam believes that if you have an idea, test it, see what others think of it, see if they’ll buy it or if there’s a market for it, etc but just do it and don’t be scared of it.