2,000 artists and creatives in Ireland to be paid basic income of $330 per week under new pilot scheme

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A total of 2,000 musicians, painters and writers in Ireland are set to receive a weekly basic income of €325 ($330) per week under a new scheme to be piloted by Ireland’s government.

The artists were picked anonymously from over 9,000 applications and those that were chosen will receive the weekly grant over the course of the three year-scheme, according to a press release from the Irish government issued on Thursday (September 8).

The Basic Income for the Arts scheme will support 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 artists working in film, 184 writers, 173 theater actors and artists, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists and 10 architects.

Of those selected, 84% are practicing artists, 9% are creative arts workers (those whose creative work makes a key contribution to the interpretation or exhibition of the arts), and 7% are recently trained artists.

“Today is an historic day for the arts in Ireland and a significant change to the way Ireland recognizes and supports her artists,” Catherine Martin, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and the Media, said in a statement.

Martin stressed the importance of the scheme in promoting Ireland’s culture globally.

“The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is a once-in-a-generation initiative,” Martin added. “It makes a strong statement about the value Ireland places on the arts and artistic practice, both for its intrinsic value and in terms of our personal and collective wellbeing, and also in terms of its importance to our identity and cultural distinctiveness on the global stage.”

The scheme was created following a recommendation made by the Irish government’s Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, set up by Martin in 2020 to explore measures to ease the impact of the COVID-19 in the arts sector.

Other recommendations made by the Taskforce were measures to support education and training, technology, mental health, social protection, copyright, and the establishment of a cross-sectoral implementation group to oversee and monitor the implementation of these recommendations.

“COVID-19 was extremely challenging for artists and creative workers, exposing vulnerabilities which have existed for decades within the Irish arts sector. Taskforce members unanimously agreed that the establishment of a pilot basic income scheme in the arts, culture, audiovisual and live performance and events sector was our top priority,” Clare Duignan, Chair of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, said.

“Ireland could lead the way on a new model to support people active in the sector, recognizing its importance to all people.”

Catherine Martin, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and the Media

The chosen 2,000 artists will take part in a three-year research program to assess the impact of a basic-income-style payment on the arts sector, the Irish government said.

The participants will go through data collection programs to assess the impact of the scheme on them and their creative practice. The government has also handpicked 1,000 applicants who were not selected to receive the weekly payments to participate in a control group to facilitate the evaluation of the pilot.

According to Martin, the Basic Income for the Arts pilot “has the potential to fundamentally transform how we support the arts and creativity.”

Added Martin: “Ireland could lead the way on a new model to support people active in the sector, recognizing its importance to all people.”Music Business Worldwide

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