The Creative Trails activity of ‘a creative momentum project’ developed four new Creative Trails, two in North East Iceland and two in South East of Northern Ireland, to allow visitors and locals to identify and visit artists and other creative businesses. The final report on this activity ‘Creative Trails: Connecting Creatives with Visitors across Europe’s Northern Edge’ has just been published.
As a starting point, each of the project partners compiled a listing of examples of Art/Craft/Creative Trails in their own region. This contributed to the development of a new Trails section on www.MyCreativeEdge.eu.
Developing New Creative Trails
Then we began to develop new Creative Trails, two in Iceland and two in Northern Ireland. It was decided to develop a Creative Trails mobile app, because an app, supported by promotional brochures, would be the most effective way to deliver the new Creative Trails to visitors.
The app would inform them where creative businesses (that are open to the public) are located, where they are located in relation to the user’s current location and what each can offer. The app would be aimed at tourists, walkers, day trippers and people interested in the creative industries. Once downloaded it could be used offline.
Once an app developer was contracted, the process of recruiting creative businesses to be featured on the new Creative Trails began. Creatives based in North East Iceland and South East of Northern Ireland, who met certain criteria, could participate in the new Creative Trails. The main criteria were:
- Creative businesses: Open for visitors – open studio; Regular opening hours/ open on request; Product to sell.
- Other types of trails (e.g. outdoor art work, museums, events etc): Informational; A recreational value; Visitor friendly, good accessibility; Easily accessible online.
In May 2017, a call for applications from creative businesses in Northern Ireland to be featured on the new Creative Trails app was published on MyCreativeEdge.eu. Applications were requested to develop two geographically-based Creative Trails for Co. Down and Co. Armagh.
Instead of geographically-based Creative Trails, the Cultural Council of North East Iceland decided that their two Trails would be for Museums and for Design and Craft businesses. An open call for design and craft businesses to join the app opened in June through an article in Icelandic on MyCreativeEdge.eu. Both opportunities were advertised in local media, on social media and through direct e-mails to potential participants.
Creative Trails Apps
In total 53 creative enterprises, galleries and museums are featured in the four new Creative Trails. The mobile apps were launched for Android and iOS on Google Play and the App store in late June 2017.
Iceland Creative Trails App
- Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mytourtalk.icelandcreativetrail
- App Store https://itunes.apple.com/mt/app/iceland-creative-trails/id1245630121?mt=8
Northern Ireland Creative Trails App
- Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mytourtalk.nicraigavoncreativetrail
- App Store https://itunes.apple.com/mt/app/northern-ireland-creative-trails/id1245578332?mt=8
The app was officially launched in Northern Ireland with an event on 28 June 2017. The app was promoted through posters and leaflets aimed at potential users of the app, as well as creative businesses that could be featured on it. A video was also produced to motivate businesses to apply to join the app and to instruct users on how to use it.
Following the launch the app received considerable media coverage and the prominent Northern Ireland tourism blogger “NI Explorer” reviewed the Creative Trails apps. Over the course of one Saturday he visited a number of the featured businesses and blogged his experience.
In Iceland a brochure was produced to promote the Creative Trails app in tourist information offices and it is being promoted during summer 2018. In cooperation with the North Iceland Marketing Office it was decided to widen the area covered by the Creative Trails app to the whole of the North of Iceland (not only the North East).
A Creative Exchange event was held in Iceland in April 2018 to present the Creative Trails app with the aim to get all the museums, designers and handicraft groups in North Iceland to participate in the app. The Cultural Director of North East Iceland also introduced the Creative Trails app to other Cultural Directors around the country who showed great interest. It is possible that in future, the whole of Iceland will be involved in developing similar Trails.
The full report and a summary of ‘Creative Trails: Connecting Creatives with Visitors across Europe’s Northern Edge’ can be downloaded from the Knowledge Centre, or download directly