Looking Back on a Year of Creativity

16 Dec 2021
Niamh Gregory By Niamh Gregory

As another strange year draws to a close, the Creative Spark team take a look back on what has been a creative and exciting year!

Our New Developments

2021 was a year of new challenges and opportunities for Creative Spark, as many of you may already know, we are undergoing an expansion! The Creative Spark Downtown Hub and Creative Spark Enterprise FabLab aim to widen the scope on creative and enterprise training, as well as increased space for you and your business to thrive!  

Downtown

The Creative Spark Downtown Project seeks to develop an urban enterprise ecosystem to support a network of entrepreneurs and businesses with a focus on start-ups, scaling companies and smart- and remote-workers. The project will provide hot-desk and co-working facilities in Dundalk town centre, managed and supported by the Creative Spark team.

The Creative Spark Downtown Project is perfect for anyone looking for a dedicated space to do your work. Surrounded by like-minded individuals you can collaborate together or offer advice which could lead to the success of your business! Our ethos at Creative Spark is that when people come together, we can achieve great things. The Downtown Project is due to commence work in the New Year and we can’t wait to share it with you!

 

FabLab

Another recent development at Creative Spark is that of the FabLab. This project will provide access to a suite of state-of-the-art digital fabrication hardware and software co-located with a thriving enterprise centre. It will stimulate enterprise and advance creativity, innovation and education in the North-East region through the establishment of a digital fabrication enterprise and co-working initiative. The extended facility will include a new Creative Spark Community Café to encourage social interactions between Creative Spark members, visitors and the local community.

Constriction on our FabLab and Community Café is well underway, for updates on the construction progress of the FabLab, why don’t you check out our social media?

 

Our New Additions

Our new buildings aren’t the only expansion at Creative Spark! Over the course of the summer, we welcomed two new team members to the Creative Spark team! Ciara Breen our new DownTown Hub Manager and Jacqui D. Uí Mhonacháin our Business Development Manager arrived in July! To find out more about the girls, why not check out our blog post about them?

 

Our Exhibition

Each year Creative Spark holds a number of exhibitions. 2021 was no different! This year, our exhibition SEVEN features work from both current and former members of the Print studio. It celebrates seven years since the opening of the facility in Creative Spark. Creative Spark Print Studio is a twenty-four-hour access printmaking workshop and visual artists’ resource organisation, committed to providing facilities and opportunities to emerging and established visual artists. The studio aims to provide membership to creative practitioners from Louth and the border areas. Over the past seven years it has enabled a strong community of printmakers to develop and push their creative practices. 

 

Events

SEEK

Creative Spark was thrilled to be a part of the SEEK Festival again this year! The SEEK Festival is centred on promoting contemporary urban art in Dundalk, Ireland. By commissioning established and emerging artists locally, nationally and internationally, the SEEK team aims to promote the town culturally and artistically, repositioning the area as a vibrant hub for creativity every year. The SEEK Urban Arts Festival is incorporated in a variety of our other projects.

With installations from a number of artists this year including Omin, Smug, Basik, Friz and Tellas, Dundalk was once again brought to life!

For more information on the SEEK Festival and the participating artists, click here 

 

Culture United

In September, Creative Spark was delighted to host the first partner meeting for Culture United since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Previous project meetings have been held in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and Edinburgh, Scotland in January and February of 2020.

Culture United is an Erasmus+ project with partners in Scotland, Ireland, Finland, and The Netherlands who are working together to use culture events and heritage festivals as a way to incorporate multidisciplinary ways of teaching in primary schools.  This helps students to become more engaged with what they are learning and contributes to students’ cultural and social development, as well as their creativity.

The goal of the partner meeting was to continue developing educational materials for teachers to learn how to incorporate culture in their classrooms in a multidisciplinary way. The partners coming together in Dundalk this year allowed us to build relationships with one another and gave us the opportunity to contribute in a number of ways to the project.

Together with Gaelscoil Dhún Dealgan we were delighted to be welcoming colleagues from the Netherlands, Scotland and Finland to Dundalk for two days of meetings and visiting cultural sites in the town. The visit will focus on the SEEK Urban Arts Festival and, in particular, the theme of Brigid of Faughart. Activities included the SEEK walking tour and a visit to Faughart with local guide Roisin Cotter. We also participated in Culture Night events with Creative Spark and AAEX in St Helena’s Park!

 

Culture Night 2021

Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir is a national moment, celebrating all that makes up the richness and diversity of Culture in Ireland today, connecting people to cultural activities locally and nationally and aims to open up pathways to ongoing engagement.

An annual, all-island public event which takes place each year on the third Friday of September, Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir celebrates culture, creativity and the arts and seeks to actively promote the belief that this rich and varied culture is alive, treasured and nurtured in people’s lives, today and every day.

This year, our Print Studio Coordinator Grainne was in St. Helena’s park on the Creative Spark Portable printing press, printing free tote bags of the bandstand! Another organisation AAEX which is supported by Creative Spark were also at St. Helena’s celebrating their 5th anniversary.

The AAEX Flamingo made an appearance again as well as the AAEX Block Puzzle, created for this year’s SEEK Festival, alongside a variety of new art installations, workshops and demonstrations for all ages.

 

Special Visits

Creative Spark was delighted to welcome a number of members of government to our facility this year. Senator Erin McGreehan visited Creative Spark in September to find out about what we do in our community as well as checking out the range of facilities that we have to offer.

Another visit was from Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, who visited Creative Spark in October this year to find out more about the recent developments in our facility as well as meeting some of the tenants to find out more about their businesses.

 

Awards

This year Creative Spark was delighted to be awarded the JCI Friendly Business Awards for Digital Experience! The team at Creative Spark would like to extend our thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Junior Chamber International Friendly Business Awards!

Creative Spark is dedicated to creating a collaborative work environment for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises as well as providing creative courses for our local community. Winning the Digital Experience award highlights our dedication to you, wherever you are!

Not only have we won an award, we’ve also been nominated for another! We have been nominated for not-for-profit website of the year for the National Digital Awards 2021!

 

Looking to the future…

As we say goodbye to 2021, Creative Spark now looks to the future, filled with new developments, opportunities, courses and events. Our FabLab and Downtown Project will transform the working environment in Dundalk, while we continue to offer a number of creative courses to the local community. At this point, the team at Creative Spark would like to extend their thanks to all of its tenants, members and course tutors and participants for their support through another year of the pandemic.