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Irish artists and creative arts workers to receive basic income in pilot scheme

Ireland’s Government has launched a pilot scheme that will aim to support artists and creative arts workers in the country.

The Basic Income for the Arts scheme will look into the impact of a basic income on artists and creative arts workers, over a three-year period.

Some 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers, who will be selected at random and invited to take part, will receive €325 (£270/$354) a week as part of the pilot scheme. Applications will open on April 12 and close on May 12.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Vardkar and the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media Catherine Martin launched the new scheme at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar.

A basic income for the arts was one of the top recommendations from the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce and the Life Worth Living Report, which was set up by Minister Catherine Martin in 2020. The report was created to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A stakeholder consultation forum was held to discuss the issue in December 2021, which saw over 150 participants attend from 50 representative organisations in the arts and culture sector. In January, the department also conducted a public consultation.

Taoiseach Martin said: “Government is is committed to supporting the arts and this initiative has the potential to be truly transformative in how Ireland supports the arts in the future. Ireland’s arts and culture in all its distinctiveness and variety is the well-spring of our identity as a people and is internationally recognised. The Basic Income for the Arts is a unique opportunity for us to support our artists and creatives in the sector and ensure that the arts thrive into the future.”

Minister Catherine Martin added: “This announcement heralds a new era for the arts in Ireland. As our artists and creative professionals emerge from the devastating impact of the pandemic, the government is committed to providing an unprecedented level of support as they seek to rebuild their livelihoods. I want the arts not just to recover, but to flourish. That is why I secured funding to help realise this scheme, which was a key priority for me in the Budget.”

Image: Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash