Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
The Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) pilot is a key priority for me as Minister with responsibility for arts and culture. Covid clearly highlighted both the precarious nature of working in the arts and the importance of the arts for us all. It is well established that artists suffer from precarious incomes. The scheme will research the impact on artists and creative arts workers creative practice of providing the security of a basic income.
The pilot was also the number one recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce which I established in 2020 to examine ways in which to help the arts recover post pandemic. I was very pleased to have been able to deliver on this recommendation with the first payments on the scheme being made to recipients two weeks ago.
2,000 recipients are being paid €325 a week for three years. 1,000 control group members will be paid €650 per year to engage in the data collection. The scheme will cost €35m per year (€105m in total).
The research scheme will examine, over a three-year period, the impact of a basic income style payment on artists and creative arts workers. The scheme will assess the impact of the pilot on the individuals and their practices, the sector and ecology of the arts in Ireland will form an important part of the pilot. Data on income and earnings, time use, work and job quality, wellbeing and mental health, will be collected using a longitudinal survey every six months, plus focus groups, interviews and art form specific research topics.
I believe that the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is a once in a generation, transformational measure in the funding of the arts in Ireland. It makes a strong statement at home and abroad about the value that Ireland as a nation places on 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.