Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce Report Published

VAI welcome the publication of “LIFE WORTH LIVING”, the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, announced by Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht today.

It has been widely acknowledged that the impact of COVID-19 on the Arts/Culture sector has been more detrimental, and will last longer, than in nearly any other sector. Almost all activity has stopped and it is likely that for many parts of the sector it will be among the last to restart.

The Taskforce has now completed its work and its Chairperson, Ms. Clare Duignan, submitted the report to the Minister, which was noted by Government earlier today. You can view the report in full here.

The Taskforce makes a number of recommendations, for the sector’s survival until it fully opens up again. This includes how it can retain the artists and the wider creative, technical, production and support workforce, with their skills and talent, so that there are still arts, culture and entertainment events for Irish audiences and foreign visitors to enjoy in better times. These recommendations build on the considerable supports provided to the impacted sectors in Budget 2021 and in the July Stimulus.

The report includes recommendations on policy and planning, income, taxation and financial provision, education and training, technology supports; mental health, social protection, community development, social inclusion as well as around copyright.

Among its recommendations are a pilot universal basic income scheme for a three year period in the arts, culture, audiovisual and live performance and events sectors. The pilot could involve a payment at the rate of the national minimum wage, and would be in lieu of an alternative primary social welfare payment. Other income could then be earned and taxed separately.

The report, in identifying the value of the arts and culture sector in society, offers ways to ensure those very performers and creators are indeed recognised and supported through new measures.

Within this, the report identifies a number of issues and solutions under the themes of:

• Ensuring Recovery;
• Building Resilience; &
• Facing Forward.

Commenting on the report, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, T.D., stated:

“I very much welcome the report “LIFE WORTH LIVING” submitted by the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce and thank each and every member of the Taskforce for their time, expertise and commitment in this hugely difficult time. I met with the Taskforce at the start of its work and was struck both by the members’ dedication and also the seriousness of the situation facing the Arts and Culture sector.”

“The Taskforce has produced a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector includes the arts, culture, the audio visual industry, live entertainment and the events industry.”

“As I have stressed on numerous occasions, the Arts and Culture sector was the first to shut and will in many cases be the last to re-open. This report will be hugely beneficial to me and to my colleagues in Government as we examine ways to help the Arts and Culture sector emerge from the very difficult position in which it finds itself. I note in particular the Taskforce’s assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both existing livelihoods within the sector but also people’s future prospects, not just financially but in areas such as wellbeing and maintaining existing skill sets. I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenge and the many competing priorities facing Government. Nonetheless, I am delighted that as a Government we have been able so far to respond to date on many of the issues highlighted within this report. We can always strive to do better and that is what I aim to do.”

Clare Duignan, Chairperson of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, added:

“I am delighted that the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce has completed our work and submitted the report “LIFE WORTH LIVING” to the Minister. I must give a huge thanks and praise to my colleagues on the Taskforce. They have committed so much time and energy in helping to craft and shape the report that is now available for all to read. I would also like to thank all those who made submissions during the consultation stage ensuring that this report is a fact driven, balanced document.
“As I say in the report; almost all activity has stopped in the Arts and Culture sector. The survival, recovery and sustainability of this sector is dependent on economic policy and decision-making in the short and long-term. I strongly believe that this report gives the Government the information required to help the sector by ensuring its recovery, building on its resilience and strengthening it for the future.”

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