From September 2019, self-employed artists in Ireland in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for the first year that they are out of work will be able to focus on their artistic work and develop their portfolio, rather than having to participate in the normal labour market job search activities.
As an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme, the initial pilot of the scheme for visual artists and writers was announced in June 2017. The pilot scheme review revealed that over 100 artists and writers have connected to the scheme, with over 87% subsequently exiting from the Jobseekers Allowance scheme within the first year.
As a result of the review findings it has been decided that the scheme will be established as a permanent scheme in its own right and will now also include other professional artistic disciplines including those working in the performing arts and film.
Irish Minister Josepha Madigan (Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) said:
“This Government recognises the crucial role that the arts and culture play in our nation. That’s why we have already made significant progress on our public commitment to double funding for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht by 2025. In Budget 2019, funding for arts and culture increased by €22.6m to almost €190m, an increase of 14% on 2018.
Artists, performers and stage designers are central to this. They deserve our full support particularly given the significant income challenges they can face. That’s why we are expanding this scheme, a pilot initiative of the all-of-Government Creative Ireland Programme, to include other self-employed artists.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will work with the Arts Council and the representative bodies for artists from different art forms to develop an independent and objective validation process that will certify the artists’ professional credentials.”
Feedback from the pilot scheme for organisations representing visual artists and writers has been positive. We believe that this scheme will clearly assist artists to develop their practice and build a ‘portfolio’ in a first unemployed year. It makes a statement of recognition towards the important contribution professional artists make to a society and an understanding of the economic hardships many artists face in periods of unemployment as they attempt to try to build up their work and skills base. Importantly this permanent initiative, made by the Irish government, begins to clearly acknowledge the professional working status of ‘the artist’ in society.