Up to 300 jobs could be built from €2m investment in creative hub on Limerick border

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Digicontainer has announced ambitious expansion plans to develop a creative hub in Birdhill

Digicontainer has announced ambitious expansion plans to develop a creative hub in Birdhill

DIGICONTAINER has announced ambitious expansion plans to develop the creative and cultural sectors of the Mid-West region at its uniquely designed creative hub in Birdhill.

The not-for-profit enterprise’s plans for the development of this facility over the next five years could create between 100 and 300 jobs with a €2m investment creating 100 positions within the first 18 months. It would be much-welcomed news to the thousands of students and graduates within creative and arts faculties of the many third level institutions in the Mid-West region.

The project will include providing cost-efficient, shared workspaces within the Digicontainer creative hub, enabling local creatives to pursue successful professional careers. In bringing together like-minded creative professionals and start-ups, the hub will become home to a creative network that is easily accessible to graduates, start-up and SMEs.

It will also establish a dynamic, adaptable community public space that can serve as a multi-functional venue for events, markets, exhibitions, community projects, summer schools, and local training initiatives. 

TD Alan Kelly, who is backing the Digicontainer project, said: “A uniquely rural, but nevertheless highly accessible location in Tipperary and in the heart of the Mid-West region only eight miles from Limerick city, Digicontainer is accessible to key regional and national markets and opportunities. I believe it can become a unique locally based service with strong regional, national and international connectivity and potential.”

The springboard team behind it are David Collopy, former CEO for Opera Ireland, along with Paul Boland and Joe Clarke, of CWB.ie, the producers of the recent highly acclaimed events Feile Classical at Semple Stadium and National Geographic Symphony for Our World at the Gaelic Grounds.

"The concept for Digicontainer came during my time in University Concert Hall when I worked with the many creatives coming out of the regions’ third level institutions with degrees, loads of creativity and imagination but nowhere to allow that creativity to take the form or be expressed. This initiative will hopefully allow these very creative artists to become established and remain in the region thus forging a significant creative hub across all disciplines in the Mid-West," said Mr Collopy.

As part of the expansion plans Digicontainer aim to purchase and refurbish ten used shipping containers for use as rehearsal, office and training spaces at the proposed location. The modular container setup has mobility options and spaces can be tailored to meet each of the user’s needs.  

Mr Boland said: “In the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Digicontainer will encourage and enable local talents to work collaboratively and reciprocally to realise both their individual and collective ambitions. Digicontainer will serve as a conduit for bridging the knowledge gaps from arts to business in the region. Many existing individuals, businesses, community organisations, and arts groups are active and have local support, however, lack the necessary core support services to realise their ambitions.” 

Digicontainer has reached the final stages of an application process with Enterprise Ireland while awaiting the final outcome the enterprise continues to secure partnerships with key national and International stakeholders including Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects L.A, Windmill Lane Studios Dublin, Westpoint Studios London, Limerick City Build, Sportstech Ireland, Bank of Ireland and Birdhill Tidy Towns.

Its USA launch takes place this week with a presentation at the Ireland Week conference in LA. 

Services and professional expertise included in Digicontainer’s development plans are - community and regional events (consultancy, planning, production, light and sound engineering, rigging, concerts and festivals, fundraisers, marketing, branding, event management, health and safety and event infrastructure). Music, television and film (pre- and post-studio production, set design/build and recording location services). Arts / creative sector tech (IT, media and multimedia, website development, app building). Arts to commercial training and development (networking, mentoring, apprenticeships, retraining/upskilling, graduate and postgraduate work-placements and internships, research and development).

Speaking of the layout and design potential of Digicontainer, Mr Clarke said: “The modular container concept is already utilised globally - Boxpark mini-mall in Shoreditch, London; Container City housing and studios, London; Rebel Rebel Hostel in Groningen, but Digicontainer will be a unique, innovative and visually striking facility and the first of its kind in Ireland.

“I foresee the expansion of Digicontainer would provide a real chance of acting as a downstream service provider for large-scale creative service-providers like Troy Studios.Troy will require a number of supports that we propose to develop at this centre within the digital media space,” he added.