Today (Wednesday, 15 December) Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will host a stakeholder forum on Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) to elicit the views of artists and those working in the arts and culture sector.

As Minister with responsibility for arts and culture, Catherine Martin TD said: “This is a once in a generation policy intervention, a measure that I believe will redraw the landscape for the arts for hopefully many years to come. Our culture and the arts are a fundamental expression of who we are as a nation. Our rich cultural heritage is one of our greatest assets, and our artists weave a sense of identity, creativity and belonging into the fabric of our communities. The intrinsic societal value of culture and the arts was particularly evident during the pandemic, where it provided colour, light and hope in uncertain times.”

Minister Martin established the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce in 2020 as a response to the pandemic, and to provide a platform for solution-focused recommendations for the recovery of the arts and culture sector. The number one recommendation of the taskforce was the introduction of a basic income for the arts pilot scheme.

Minister Martin added: “€25m has been allocated to pilot a basic income scheme for artists, which is a fundamental priority for me and my department. I am determined to ensure that permanent damage is not done to the arts sector from the pandemic and that the Basic Income pilot scheme is in fact part of the response to ensure the arts in Ireland come back stronger than ever.”

Clare Duignan, Chair of the Taskforce said: “The survival, recovery and sustainability of this sector is dependent on economic policy and decision-making in the short and long term. 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 really pleased to be part of today’s presentation of a draft proposal for a Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) scheme to sectoral stakeholders. This scheme has the potential to be genuinely transformative in terms of the sustainability of the sector.”

The purpose of today’s stakeholder forum is to ensure that artists and those working in the arts and culture sector have the opportunity to input into the policy development for the pilot scheme and to offer suggestions from their experiences as artists, arts workers and members of resource organisations on key issues such as the schemes objectives, eligibility criteria, supporting developing artists and participant responsibilities.

Nearly 200 representatives are expected to attend today, from over 50 different organisations which represent artists and arts workers across the sector.

Minister Martin concluded: “This Forum will inform the pilot scheme through hearing the lived experience of artists and creatives and understanding what a basic income might mean to them and their creative practice. Today’s discussions will feed into the ongoing policy development and it’s very important to me that the voices and views of the arts sector are heard and taken on board as much as possible in the pilot scheme, when it launches early next year.”

The Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme will be launched in Q1 of 2022. Further details, including a policy paper, will be published on the department’s website after the feedback and input from the Forum is assessed and finalised.

Following the Taskforce’s recommendation, the department has been working to develop a policy position and scheme overview for the Basic Income for Artists pilot with a view to launching the initiative in early 2022.

This process has involved broad engagement with government stakeholders, an examination of the international context and sectoral data. Stakeholder engagement is central to this process and the department has prepared a consultation paper which will form the basis for today’s forum. It sets out objectives, eligibility criteria and performance requirements which will apply to the pilot scheme along with questions for consideration by stakeholders.

Inputs will be sought from stakeholders in two phases:

Phase 1: Stakeholder Forum

Stakeholders input will be collected and collated by the facilitator and this data will form part of the department’s development of the pilot scheme. Participants will also be provided with an opportunity to provide further written submissions directly to the department at a later stage.

Phase 2: Online Public Consultation

Recognising the limitations of the stakeholder forum, the department intends to commence an online public consultation in early January, to gather further data. For equity, the public consultation will follow the same approach as the Stakeholder forum, with the publication of the consultation paper and a request that submissions respond to those same core questions relating to the objectives, eligibility criteria, performance requirements.

Representative Organisations attending the BIA Forum

  • Actors Equity/SIPTU/MU
  • Age and Opportunity
  • Animation Ireland
  • Arts and Disability Ireland (ADI)
  • Arts Council
  • Association of Irish Composers (AIC)
  • Association of Irish Stage Technicians
  • Association of Local Arts Officers
  • Business to Arts
  • Centre for Creative Practices
  • Children’s Books Ireland (CBI)
  • Contemporary Music Centre (CMC)
  • Create
  • Dance Ireland
  • Design and Crafts Council of Ireland
  • Drive for Change
  • DSP
  • Events Industry Ireland (EIA)
  • First Music Contact (FMC)
  • Harp Ireland
  • Improvised Music Company (IMC)
  • IMRO
  • Irish Architecture Foundation
  • Irish Society of Stage and Screen Designers
  • Irish Street Arts, Circus & Spectacle Network
  • Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO)
  • Irish Writers Centre
  • Irish Writers Union
  • Life Worth Living Oversight Group
  • Life Worth Living Taskforce Mothers Artist Makers
  • Mothership Project
  • Music & Entertainment Association Of Ireland (MEAI)
  • Music Network Ireland
  • Na Píobairí Uilleann
  • National Campaign for the Arts
  • Opera Ireland
  • Poetry Ireland
  • PRAXIS – the Artists Union of Ireland
  • Screen Composers Guild of Ireland
  • Screen Directors Guild of Ireland
  • Screen Guilds of Ireland
  • Screen Ireland
  • Screen Producers Ireland
  • The Irish Society of Stage and Screen Designers
  • Theatre Forum
  • Trad Éireann
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta
  • Visual Artists Ireland
  • Wedding Band Association
  • Words Ireland
  • Writers Guild of Ireland