'I hope that other countries will follow Ireland’s lead': Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Enters Research Phase

'I hope that other countries will follow Ireland’s lead': Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Enters Research Phase

Department of Arts holds information session for pilot participants.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme, which has been running since last October, has commenced its research programme to evaluate the impact of the scheme. 

The research programme will be conducted through a series of six-monthly questionnaires over three years, providing insights into the influence of a basic income on the lives and practices of artists and creative workers. The results will enable researchers to examine responses over the duration of the pilot; they will also compare data on those who are in receipt of the grant with information from other artists not in receipt of the grant but who have agreed to participate in a control group.

Today (30 March), the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media held an online information session for the participants. The session offered details about the research programme, covering aspects such as income, personal and practice expenditure, living and working conditions, artistic practice, perceptions of working in the arts sector, time management, and overall health, well-being and life satisfaction.

Commenting on the research phase, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin said:

I believe that the scheme, and the research programme, will have a significant impact on the way Ireland supports artists in the future. This is truly innovative on a global level and I hope that other countries will follow Ireland’s lead. BIA participants know too well the precarious and low-paid nature of a career in the arts and my ambition is that the basic income can remove that precarity and allow them to focus on creative practice.

As well as providing information on the pilot, the data provided will offer insights into Ireland’s arts sector as a whole.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme was the main recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce’s report published in November 2020 during the pandemic. Following a public consultation, the scheme opened for applications in April 2022 and there were over 9,000 applications. 8,200 were assessed as eligible and 2,000 were selected through a randomised anonymous selection process.

The group of 2,000 includes representatives from all art forms, age groups, ethnicities and counties. This includes 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 artists working in film, 184 writers, 173 actors and artists working in theatre, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists, 10 architects and 8 working in opera. 3% or 54 of those selected work through the Irish language.

There were three categories under which applicants could apply: practising artists, creative arts workers, and recently trained. 84% of those selected identified as practising artists, 9% as creative arts workers, and 7% as recently trained.

For further information on the scheme, visit www.gov.ie/BasicIncomeArts.

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Published on 30 March 2023

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