Basic Income for the Arts Report Shows Improved Life Satisfaction for Artists

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin and attendees at the Status of the Artist in Ireland conference in Dublin (Photo: Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media)

Basic Income for the Arts Report Shows Improved Life Satisfaction for Artists

Report on first year of pilot scheme indicates better mental health and more time spent on artistic work.

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin has published the results of a report on the first full year of the Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) pilot scheme. The report shows improved life satisfaction for artists, less depression and anxiety, more time spent on artistic practice, and that recipients are spending 40% of the payment on their arts work.

The BIA pilot sceme was launched in September 2022 and provides 2,000 artists and arts workers with a weekly a payment of €325 for three years. A control group of 1,000 who do not receive the payment are also involved in the research to draw comparisons. Impact study reports are issued every six months.

Year one
The data for the first full year shows that life satisfaction, measured on a scale of 1 to 10, is more than half a point higher for BIA recipients compared to the control group. BIA recipients are also on average 6 percentage points ‘less likely to have felt downhearted or depressed’, and over 8 percentage points less likely to have experienced anxiety compared to the control group.

The percentage of those in the control group who reported feeling depressed or downhearted has remained stable at 74%. Among BIA recipients it is at 62%. The report, however, says that these values are still ‘extremely high’ and that the average for the general population is 32.4%.

The impact study also reports that BIA recipients spend 8 hours more than the control group on their creative practice, and are more likely to have completed new works in the previous 6 months. On average they have completed 3.6 pieces of work more than the control group. In addition, BIA recipients are over nine percentage points more likely to be able to sustain themselves through arts work compared to the control group.

BIA recipients also invest €550 more each month than the control group in their practice, namely on equipment and materials, advertising and marketing, workspaces, and work travel. This amounts to 40% of the total BIA payment.

Commenting on the report, Minister Martin said:

The Basic Income makes a strong statement at home and abroad about the value that Ireland as a nation places on artistic practice both in terms of our personal and collective wellbeing, and also the importance of the arts to our identity and cultural distinctiveness. I am pleased to see that a year on the BIA is allowing artists to focus on their creative practice by spending 8 hours a week more on their artistic work, reducing the hours worked outside the arts and investing €550 more a month into their practice than those in the control group.

The findings of the report were discussed yesterday at a Status of the Artist in Ireland conference in Dublin which included panel discussions with artists and arts organisations. 

For the full report, see below.


Published on 28 May 2024

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