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Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme awarded to 2000 artists

Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme awarded to 2000 artists


2000 artists have today been awarded grants for the government’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme.

The three-year pilot scheme will provide 2000 artists and creative arts workers with €325 per week as part of the research project

The grants announcement was delayed as over 9000 people applied to the scheme. It was announced by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and the Media, Catherine Martin TD, this morning who said:

“Today is an historic day for the arts in Ireland and a significant change to the way Ireland recognises and supports her artists. The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is a once-in-a-generation initiative. 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.”

Minister Martin

Over 9,000 applications were made under the scheme with over 8,200 assessed as eligible and included in a randomised anonymous selection process. The group of 2,000 grant participants 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 and 10 architects. 3% or 54 of those selected work through the Irish language.

The scheme was established as part of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main objective of the scheme is to address the precarious and financial instability faced by many working in the arts, and to assist the sector recover post-pandemic.

Eligibility for the scheme was based on the definition of the arts as contained in the Arts Act 2003; “arts” means any creative or interpretative expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever form, and includes, in particular, visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture, and includes any medium when used for those purposes”.

There were three categories under which applicants could apply as follows:

  1. Practising artists
  2. Creative Arts Workers (defined as someone who has a creative practice, or whose creative work makes a key contribution to the interpretation or exhibition of the arts)
  3. Recently Trained i.e. graduated with a relevant qualification in the past 5 years.

84% of those selected identified as practising artists, 9% identified as Creative Arts Workers and 7% as Recently Trained Applicants.

CountyNumber of grant recipients
Not stated2
Art FormNumber of grant recipients
Visual Arts707

“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.

I am delighted that the first group of successful applicants is being announced today. This is a landmark day, not just for those receiving grants, but also for Ireland, as it is the day that the state formally recognises the financial instability faced by many working in the arts and places a value on the time spent developing a creative practice and producing art.

This pilot has the potential to be genuinely transformative in terms of the lives of participants and the sustainability of the sector, and should reduce the constant level of uncertainty and insecurity felt by many in the arts sector. I hope that it also gives recipients announced today an increased sense of self-worth and facilitates risk-taking and experimentation in their practice. It should help them to develop and grow the quality of their artistic output, allowing them to contribute to broader Irish society both socially and economically.”

Clare Duignan, Chair of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce,

Participants in the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will take part in a three year research programme to assess the impact of a basic-income-style payment on the arts sector. Payments of €325 per week will be made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers over the course of the scheme. Participants will be required to engage in an ongoing data collection programme to assess the impact of a basic income style payment on artists and their creative practice. To assist with this, 1,000 eligible applicants who were not selected to receive the payment were selected to participate in a control group to facilitate the evaluation of the pilot.

Minister Martin added:

“The Basic Income for the Arts pilot, an initiative endorsed by the whole Government, has the potential to fundamentally transform how we support the arts and creativity. Ireland could lead the way on a new model to support people active in the sector, recognising its importance to all people. I know that there will be a lot of disappointed people today who applied and didn’t get selected. I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to apply and I understand their disappointment. I want to thank everyone who took the time to apply and congratulate those who have been selected to take part. I look forward to seeing the results of the research which I hope will underpin future Government policy for the arts.”

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