Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Wright


We are all creative, but by the time we are three or four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us ~ Maya Angelou

This research study will examine the potential interest and perceived benefits of the UNESCO Creative City designation for Cork City as well as exploring the concept of the Creative City concept and what it may mean for Ireland’s second city. At present, Cork City Council have the intention of applying for Creative City status. Comprising of a network of 180 members with Dublin and Galway currently holding the status, it is important for Cork to be aware of the challenges that await them in their pursuit of such a status in particular the value of cross-collaboration across the business sectors and the provision of a more inclusive creativity for both city citizens and visitors alike.

To answer the main research question and to address the main research objectives as to the extent the UNESCO Creative City network can be of benefit to Cork City, a qualitative methodology approach was applied. Ten semi-structured interviews with key Cork City stakeholders involved in the tourism and arts sectors were conducted over a period of two months.

Interestingly, the main findings from this research conclude that there is a significant degree of interest by the Cork City stakeholders in becoming a member of this network. One of the main findings of the research, however, is that despite the acknowledgment of the numerous benefits such a designation could bring to Cork, there is also a considerable element of caution with many stakeholders fearful of the Creative City being another bland branding promotion with no substantial support for the city’s artists and creatives behind it. The threat of mass tourism and gentrification are also repeatedly referenced. One of the most surprising findings from this study revealed a complete lack of consensus on the creative field best suited to Cork City with many stakeholders adamant that a complete revision by UNESCO of the creative fields is necessary to adequately reflect twenty-first century creativity. It is hoped that this research will be benefit to city planners and policy makers especially the Cork City Council as they prepare their application to become a UNESCO Creative City of Music within the next five years.

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