Basic Income for the Arts – Pilot Scheme: NCFA response to the Government announcement of April 5, 2022

Arts Sector Meeting | 10th March, 2pm
4th March 2022

Basic Income for the Arts – Pilot Scheme: NCFA response to the Government announcement of April 5, 2022

National Campaign for the Arts 05/04/2022

Today, following five years advocating for its implementation, National Campaign for the Arts applauds the launch of Ireland’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme, as announced today at Project Arts Centre, Dublin by Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

NCFA Chair Angela Dorgan said: 

We are absolutely delighted that after five years of voluntary research, collaboration, advocacy, and campaigning by so many NCFA members across the nation, Basic Income for the Arts has finally come to fruition. The introduction of a pilot scheme to trial Basic Income for the Arts is the most significant positive moment for Irish arts since the foundation of the Arts Council over 70 years ago in 1951. What is important now is that the pilot scheme is fit for purpose and is created and managed properly to provide sufficient insights and the required data that will be vital in proving the concept works for both the arts sector and for society. We hope to see Basic Income for the Arts become the rule rather than the exception in 2025 and extended to all those working in the arts who need it.

NCFA enthusiastically welcomes the introduction of the pilot scheme, time is however now needed to fully evaluate the terms, and immediate questions do arise with regards to the eligibility list, particularly when it comes to the arts workers who play an essential role in making the arts happen but appear to be ineligible according to the guidelines. NCFA asks the Department to review the current list in consideration of the inclusion of omitted key arts workers. NCFA would also ask that the Department provide a breakdown of the disability disregard and confirm that disabled artists and arts workers can retain disability payments whilst claiming Basic Income for the Arts.

The challenges of the last two years have paved the way for a sea change in how the arts are valued in Ireland and the perception and appreciation of the work of the artist and the arts worker, the process, investment, and graft of making and presenting art, and the poverty, precarity and systemic barriers that form the backdrop of most artists and arts workers day to day lives. The impact of the work of artists during our bleakest of times has seen a seismic shift towards greater understanding of the sector, across all genres, at both political and public levels.

NCFA encourages artists and arts workers and all arts audiences to embrace this as a trial, a testing ground, the opportunity to explore and understand, refine and reshape the scheme with the common goal of rolling out a Basic Income for the Arts that will include all of Ireland’s artists and arts workers, lifting the sector out of poverty and precarity, ensuring that our creators and makers can grow and flourish and enabling artists and arts workers to invest in themselves, their families, their communities, and their futures.

NCFA believes that the introduction of Basic Income for the Arts underscores the premise that Government investment in the arts yields myriad positive benefits to society from economic, health, mental wellbeing, education, societal cohesion, diversity, and inclusion, to creativity, critical thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, global reputation and much more.

The NCFA Steering Committee added:

We thank Minister Catherine Martin and all at the Department for their engagement with the sector and their dedicated work in bringing the scheme to life. We also thank Minister Heather Humphreys for bringing her own experiences as Minister for the Arts into open and constructive dialogue around the realities of day-to-day life for those working in the arts sector. Thanks to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar for recognising and supporting the value of the work of artists and arts workers, and paving the way for the introduction of the pilot scheme. And thanks, and much respect to all political parties for connecting with NCFA, listening, debating, questioning and understanding, for uniting in support of artists and arts workers, for eschewing party politics in support of people.

INVEST. SOW. REAP. THE ARTS MATTER.

#SaveTheArts

NCFA, National Steering Committee 2022

Angela Dorgan (Chair), Aideen Howard, Aileen Galvin, Cian O’Brien, Eoghan Carrick, Georgina Jackson, Liv O’Donoghue, Olga Barry, Tom Creed.

Ends.

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