Arts organizations launch petition to extend basic income pilot

A number of arts organizations including First Music Contact, Performing Arts Forum and Poetry Ireland have launched a petition seeking to “retain, extend and expand” the Arts Basic Income (BIA) plan.

this BIA The pilot scheme, launched in September 2022 by Arts Minister Catherine Martin, will provide 2,000 artists and arts workers with weekly payments of €325 for three years. The plan is a key recommendation of the arts and culture recovery task force set up during the pandemic.

After six months, a study of the program showed that recipients experienced a 10 percent reduction in depression and anxiety; a year later, a report showed that recipients were more satisfied with their lives and spent more time in on art jobs, and their pay was reduced by 40%.

The pilot scheme is due to end in 2025, and arts organizations are now calling on the government to ensure the scheme continues and is extended to more people in the arts sector.

The petition states that the plan provides for “Financial security for artists, while allowing them creative freedom without the consequences of economic instability, as a result of which many artists and arts workers have suffered disproportionately.”

It added that the arts “provide countless positive benefits to society, from the economy, health, mental health, education, social cohesion, diversity and inclusion, to creativity, critical thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, global reputation and more wait.

senate issues
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne raised the issue of extending the Seanad pilot last week (June 25). He said Fianna Fáil had a promise The plan continues, but he fears a decision won’t be made before it’s over. He said:

Given that the three-year pilot is due to end next year, we shouldn’t wait until the last minute. We need to learn lessons from the plans in place from 2022 and consider the necessary improvements we may need to introduce. For the arts community, which has strongly supported the scheme, we should provide them with some certainty about the continuation of the scheme.

In response, Minister of State Martin Heydon spoke on behalf of Minister Catherine Martin, commented:

Although the minister is very supportive BIAit is too early to fully understand the impact of the scheme and a pilot needs to be completed to assess the effectiveness of the scheme BIA About those who receive it. For example, the positive effects seen early in the study may change or diminish over time, so it’s too early to make decisions about next steps.

Senator Byrne said it was “important to give clear instructions”, adding:

I totally understand that depending on the evidence it may need to be tweaked etc. but for the sake of art [community] It should demonstrate a commitment to continue doing so. The concern is that we will complete the program in 2025 and there will be a hiatus and then we will wait and see what happens. This is not something I want to see happen.

“We can’t make that commitment, but all the key signs point to it being very positive,” Deputy Commissioner Hayden said. “We’re going to be watching this very closely.”

In May, Arts Minister Catherine Martin, speaking at a conference on the status of artists in Ireland in Dublin, said:

I am often contacted by artists involved in the program…their feedback is always positive in terms of the impact the support has had. That’s why I’d like to see this program expanded to more and more artists. The research my department produces during the pilot will be key to its continued strong evidence base.

Improvised Music Company, Music Network, Center for Contemporary Music, National Arts Movement, Irish Dance Company, Praxis, Irish Theater Academy and many other groups and artists have submitted petitions to extend the scheme.

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