Should artists’ payment pave the way for a universal basic income?

The security offered by the pandemic unemployment payment resembles a case study for a pilot scheme which has been brought to cabinet by arts minister Catherine Martin, to pay artists a weekly basic income. Could it ultimately lead to one for all citizens?

David Booth: ‘Artists are in a repeating pattern of precarious work, it's an incredibly stressful experience.’ Photo: Fergal Phillips.

David Booth, an artist living in Dublin, is familiar with wondering about where the next pay cheque will come from. As a painter, he makes money from commissions and selling his artwork at shows. Due to the long lead in time between shows, he relies on side projects to plug the gap.

His next show is in October. Usually, he would supplement his earnings by setting up galleries or handling art, but the pandemic means ...