Ireland’s Economic Experiment for Creative Workers

Ireland's Economic Experiment Could Shape National Policy With Giving $1,400 a Month to 2,000 Irish Creative Artists.

Mar 30, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Ireland's Economic Experiment
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD


Ireland’s economic experiment could soon shape national policy. Overall, the experiment refers to a monthly grant of $1,400 for 2,000 artists. Creative workers are receiving weekly payments in the amount of $350 through the three-year program. This experiment started in October and is part of the ministry of culture’s fresh basic income pilot project.


Ireland’s Economic Experiment – Post-Pandemic Recovery

Ireland's Economic Experiment
 Pictured is Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD


Overall, the Irish government’s focus is on cultural recovery after the pandemic. The recovery of culture is also the reason why the government launched this three-year project. Although the recovery from the pandemic is important, one thing is more important: reconstruction of the public’s perception of the artist’s work.

Until now, six months have passed since the first waiting for artists. The government started a new phase of the project. There were 8,500 artists who applied, of which 2,000 were randomly chosen. Artists will also report how the grants influenced their life and work. This includes their personal expenses, working conditions, time usage, and health.


Ireland's Economic Experiment
WILLIAM CROZIER | Letters of a Love Betrayed


The government will collect data on artist reporting for the duration of the initiative. The department of tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport, and media issued a statement on this matter. The government will assess “how the provision of a basic income might impact on elements of an artist’s or creative arts worker’s life and practice”. What is interesting is that 1000 artists volunteered to report on the same things. However, they are not grant recipients.

The Basic Income Allows Focus on Creative Practise

adgar mueller crevasse
The Crevasse by Edgar Mueller, 2008, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, via Metanamorph


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Overall, 2000 artists with grants and 1000 without will represent the control group. According to this group, the government will measure the obtained results. “Participants know too well the precarious and low-paid nature of a career in the arts. My ambition is that the basic income can remove that precarity, and allow them to focus on creative practice”, Catherine Martin, Ireland’s culture minister, said in a statement.


In 2020, Martin established the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce. The organization conducted research on how to recover from the pandemic. The primary proposal of the report was to implement a basic income for the arts program. The government approved in 2021, for which $27 million they allocated. But, today’s budget is $37 million a year.


Frederick Howard Knee (1889-1971) Ireland’s Eye


“I believe the scheme and the research program will have a significant impact on the way Ireland supports artists in the future”, Martin, a former singer and street performer, added. “This is also truly innovative on a global level, and I hope other countries will follow Ireland’s lead”.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.