Basic Income Guarantee for Artists – what we know so far

On the 13th of October 2021 Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media; Catherine Martin announced that a pilot scheme for a new Basic Income Guarantee for artists and arts workers would launch in 2022. Many details are to be worked out in the coming months, so in the interest of clarifying the details we do have, VAI have prepared a short info sheet.

What we know: 

  • €25m has been allocated in the Budget to pilot a new Basic Income Guarantee scheme for artists and arts workers in 2022.
  • The pilot scheme will be for 3 years and will likely involve a weekly payment of €325 a week.
  • There will be an evaluation process to assess the pilot and changes may be made throughout the course of the pilot.
  • Significant sectoral stakeholder engagement will take place in the coming weeks and months to inform the pilot scheme, and ensure that it meets the needs of the sector.
  • Visual Artist Ireland and other artist representative bodies have been contacted by the Department of Culture and have provided information on behalf of our membership. We will continue to represent our members as part of the consultation process on the pilot scheme.
  • In October the Department advertised a tender for a facilitator to manage the stakeholder engagement process (deadline for applications 2 November). The facilitator’s role will be engaging with artists and creative arts workers, resource organisations and representative bodies on the objectives of the pilot scheme. And to assist in defining selection criteria for eligibility for both creative arts workers, and artists. This will possibly involve a forum (to be proposed by the facilitator).
  • Once the consultation process is complete, details will be finalised and announced, with a likely pilot launch in Spring 2022.
  • The Minister has indicated there could be “around 2,000” artists and arts workers in the first year of the pilot.


What we DON’T know yet:

The eligibility criteria has not been decided yet, this will be announced by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media after the consultation process.

This means no decision has yet been made on:

  • How artists will qualify for the pilot
  • When the pilot scheme will open for applications
  • Whether it is open to self employed individuals only
  • Whether it will affect other social welfare allowances an artist may receive
  • How it will be taxed


Background and Aims

This pilot project arises as a response to the November 2020 report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, entitled Life Worth Living, which made ten recommendations for the sector. The recommendations included a proposal to pilot a Basic Income scheme for a three-year period in the arts, culture, audio-visual, live performance and events sectors.

Minister Catherine Martin established an interdepartmental Oversight Group to appraise the recommendations in the Life Worth Living report and specifically on a basic income guarantee pilot scheme for artists and arts workers. The Oversight Group has provided the Minister with a preliminary report on the different options which are currently being considered. Minutes from the meetings of the Oversight Group can be viewed on the website.

The Artist Basic Income Guarantee Pilot Scheme Project aims to provide a basic income guarantee to artists and creative arts workers to focus on their creative practice without having to enter into employment in other sectors to sustain themselves. It also aims to provide income stability to creative arts workers who are integral to the production of artistic works. Mitigating against income instability in the sector is a key consideration.

The objectives of the pilot scheme will include:

  • To minimise the ongoing loss of skills in the arts sector, both artists and arts workers;
  • Contributing to the sectors recovery post-pandemic, with ongoing benefits: social and economic, local and national;
  • Enabling artists to focus on their practice without having to enter into employment in other sectors to sustain themselves;
  • To support wellbeing of artists and creative arts workers in the arts and cultural sector, and;
  • To stimulate the arts sector’s recovery post-pandemic.

The basic income guarantee pilot scheme forms part of the policy response to underpin the recovery of the arts/culture sector and to mitigate against precarious work patterns by providing artists and creative arts workers with sustainable careers.

The budget for the pilot in 2022 is €25m. The budget for the pilot in 2023 and 2024 has not been set yet and will be influenced by the evaluation process in 2022.


Please note: This policy is separate to the Universal Basic income as outlined in the Programme for Government. The Programme for Government Our Shared Future commits to the introduction of a universal basic income pilot in the lifetime of the Government. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has requested the Low Pay Commission to examine the commitment in the Programme for Government and the Commission has agreed that this request will form part of its work plan for 2021. While this pilot project may provide relevant findings to the Low Pay Commission to inform their project, it is important to note that these are two individual and separate projects.



By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. You can review our Privacy Policy under the menu above: About VAI > VAI Privacy Statement