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€19 million investment into ‘Liberties Creative Campus’

Dublin City Council are to carry out a feasibility study into ambitious plans for a €19 million ‘creative campus’ in the Liberties area of the city. These proposals are part of an Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) project that arises to provide new workspace for artists within Dublin City.  

Richard Shakespeare, Assistant Chief Executive with the Dublin City Council (DCC) has said that if feasible Dublin City Council will be promoting the Liberties Creative Campus for further URDF funding to deliver on these plans. “This is an early feasibility study funded by the URDF, but at its heart is a compact regeneration project focused on the Liberties area of the city,” he said. 

This comes after artists and creatives voice their criticisms of being “pushed out” by other commercial and residential development projects according to Stephen Coyne, Programme Manager and Economic Development Officer in the South West Inner City.  

For several years, artists across the sector have expressed a need for high quality and appropriate workspace with survey research saying that 85% of artists believe that current workspace is unaffordable. “Earlier this year we undertook research, reaching out to the sector to help us establish principles for any new development,” said Ray Yeates from Dublin City Council’s Arts Office. Our research shows that almost 41% of artists who responded were currently seeking workspace, with no current alternatives and a further 10% are working from home.”  

Three council-owned sites have been identified, at Bridgefoot St and at 8 and 9 Merchants Quay. The study hopes to assess how these sites could be developed into workplace accommodation for artists across a large range of artforms. 

The creation of an €11 million campus on Bridgefoot St could result in an economic benefit to the region of more than approximately €30 million over a ten-year timeframe and an annual economic impact of over €2 million per annum, continuously growing year after year.

(Art equipment at the ready – photo by Cassie-Lee O’Rourke, IADT Fine Art) 

The vision of the project is to jointly develop the sites and properties and partnering with existing organisations in Dublin 8, such as the existing NCAD site. This will form a campus for the arts and cultural sector that will also deliver new community facilities and public spaces for resident artists. 

“The Liberties is often noted for its strong arts community and a creative campus such as this would have obvious synergies with nearby NCAD, gallery spaces and other arts venues in the area” said Stephen Coyne. 

He also told the Liberty that this potential development at Bridgefoot Street would add to the significant investment already being made in this area including a new park, new housing, the regeneration of existing housing complexes and new commercial uses.  

Dublin City Council will begin consultation with the public, artists and local communities in late November, through a series of online workshops and online consultation platform (www.artistworkspaces.ie) led by consultants Turley and architects OBFA. 

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