Ireland asks, what if artists had a guaranteed basic income?

Lydia Mulvey, 47, a screenwriter, said she quit her job at a telecommunications company as soon as she learned she had joined the programme. Now, she spends her time writing pilot scripts for thrillers and sci-fi shows, rather than trying to squeeze it into evenings and weekends. “I knew it would be transformative and give my life back,” Mulvey said, though she added that if she didn’t already own her own home, she would struggle to live on such a low income, especially in Ireland. squeezed real estate market.

Mark McGuinness, 31, a photographer, said that before receiving the basic income, he spent the whole week looking for work as a commercial photographer to pay his rent and the cost of supplies, and left his art practice s eclipse. Now he had “recovered” two days a week to do work for exhibitions, he said.

Despite anecdotal evidence of success, no data on the impact of the program is available so far. The Irish government sends recipients questionnaires every six months about the state of their finances, artistic career and health, with the first to be sent out in April. Last year, participants received a survey to collect baseline data. He asked them if they could adequately heat their homes, replace worn-out furniture or “treat themselves to a meal of meat, chicken or fish every other day”.

Some observers are impatient with the results. Martin, the culture minister, said lawmakers and arts organizations from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium had asked questions about the scheme.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh, spokesman on cultural issues for the opposition Sinn Fein party, which supports the programme, said he wanted data well before the end of the trial so that artists did not face an “edge cliff” at the end. He added that he had many questions about the program, including whether the payments benefited early-career artists more than established names, and whether the documents had any unintended consequences, such as causing tension in rock bands. if some members were selected, but others were not. .

“Maybe the money would be better spent on hardship funds for artists who can prove they can’t pay the mortgage or can’t rent a studio,” Ó Snodaigh said.

Few recipients take the windfall for granted. Mulvey, the screenwriter, said she recently met with TV companies about developing shows and often worked late into the night. “I keep reminding myself that three years is very short, and we’ve already had six months,” she said, adding that she wanted to make sure that “I didn’t to go back to a day job when it stops”. .”

nytimes Eur

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