The ISACS Network fully endorses theNational Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget Submission as we approach Budget 2024.
Our mission is to celebrate, advocate, grow and support Ireland’s Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle sectors. Therefore, we call for support, recognition, and trust in the value, power and necessity for investment in the arts, as art, by extension, invests in communities, individuals, in all generations and in our wider civic and economic society.
The NCFA’s Pre-Budget 2024 Submission outlines 10 key points to integrate the arts deeply into Irish society. We fully support each point as outlined below:
- Invest in the Arts: €150 million in funding to the Arts Council in 2024
- Bring Irish Arts to the World: €10.5 million in funding to Culture Ireland in 2024
- Nurture Communities: Retain current funding of Creative Ireland to 2027
The ISACS Network fully supports the asks for increased investment for The Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland and Creative Ireland, also including the Shared Island initiative. This has particular importance to us as an example of a 32-county organisation and also to many artists who regularly work cross-border as well as with our neighbours in the UK.
- Make Space for the Arts
The worsening housing and cost of living crisis makes it increasingly prohibitive for artists to live and make work in Ireland. We ask for local government to ensure that a percentage of all social and affordable housing be attributed for artists and arts workers, alongside studio/rehearsal space for creation. We also ask that the Dept of Finance develop new systems with existing financial institutions to deliver more flexibility for citizens in Ireland to access a fair mortgage to meet their needs and their means despite employment contracts or lack thereof.
The Arts Council commissioned Circus Building Infrastructure Report (2022) evidences the case that existing building-based circus infrastructures in Ireland do not provide an adequate level of support for the growing level of both professional and community-based activities taking place in the country. We believe that adequate spaces to create and present work are necessary for sustainable, accessible and safe circus practices in Ireland.
- Remove Barriers for Disabled Artists and Arts Workers
The ISACS Network in 2023, conducted an EDI survey of the diversity of its membership to better understand the profile and needs of our sector. The issues that respondents raised included a lack of accommodation for a physical disability and stigma surrounding neurodiversity within the respondents’ interactions in the sector. We therefore ask that the Arts Council make the case to other government departments to ensure fair and equitable access to artistic careers and work.
- Address the Climate Emergency
We welcome the new national policy framework on culture, creativity and climate action and ask that practical support be implemented to enable sustainable creation and touring practices and introduce touring incentives by land and sea.
- Address the Lack of Diversity in the Arts
As it has emerged from our EDI survey, the average income for an Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle artist and arts worker in 2021 was circa €15,000, compared with an average income in Ireland of €50K. Working in the arts is something every citizen has the right to do from all strands of society. However, when key social welfare supports are removed for those seeking to professionalise, it becomes challenging, making the arts inaccessible to many. We, therefore, stand with the NCFA supporting the commission of a research analysis of the diversity of the arts in Ireland to identify barriers, including social, economic and environmental factors, as well as systemic barriers residing in social protection regulations, which prevent artists and arts workers from all backgrounds from active and equal participation in cultural life and work.
- Implement Insurance Reform
The ISACS Network is a vocal member of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, as sustainable, suitable and affordable insurance continues to be a major issue for our sector, as evidenced by the cancellation of the European Juggling Convention due to the lack of suitable insurance provision. The annual event draws an international audience of approximately 2,500 juggling enthusiasts to a different European host country each year. It reflects extremely poorly on Ireland as a healthy environment for creativity that the event had to be rescheduled to take place in Poland in July 2023 with insurance, which cost below €5,000. Long-awaited duty of care legislation has now been enacted, and we must see the implementation of the same and the reduction of premiums accordingly.
- Support Adequate Research in the Arts
The ISACS Network aims to develop critical archives of national interest to our cultural heritage, which require preservation in line with the aims of the National Inventory of Cultural Heritage. We, therefore, endorse the NFCA’s ask and additionally call to ensure that those activities listed under the NICH, including Irish Traditional Travelling Circus and Funfair, receive the required support, investment, and care to protect them – both from the point of view of their past and also of their future.
- Implement Taxation Reform
We support the NCFA submission to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare focused on areas that could be easily changed and would have a real and lasting effect on the arts sector. The three areas are VAT recoverability in the live performance sector, the application of the artist tax exemption, and philanthropy.
- Reinstate Circus and Funfair Support scheme
This vital scheme, which provided access to education for travelling circus and fairground families, was terminated over 8 years ago and has never been replaced, leaving these children and families severely disadvantaged today. If we are serious about protecting this vital part of our national heritage, we must not alone protect their past, and we must invest in their future.
Help Make Space for the Arts with these 3 actions:
1. TALK TO YOUR TD
Identify your TD (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/) and tell them how important the arts are to you. Send an email, tag them on social media, call their constituency office.
2. Get the #SpaceForArts message out
Are you an ARTIST, ARTS WORKER or an ARTS ORGANISATION:
- Share the NCFA #SpaceForArts social media images on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, tik tok, Facebook and all your social media channels, using #SpaceForArts and tag your local TDs
- Tag ISACS and the NCFA (Twitter: @ISACSIreland, @Campaign4Arts – Facebook: ISACS Network, NCFAie – Instagram: @ISACSIreland, @Campaign4Arts).
- We’re also asking you to take to social media to share a selfie or an expression of your work and use this text: “My name is… and I am an Artist/Arts Worker”. Again, tag your local TDs (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/) and use #STANDBYTHEARTS.
Are you an ARTS FAN? If you enjoy the arts, please add your voice to the campaign:
- Share our #SpaceForArts social media images on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, tik tok, Facebook and all your social media channels, using #SpaceForArts and tag your local TDs
- Tell us on your social media why you love the arts (the book that changed your life, the film that broke your heart, the gallery you treasure, the music that keeps you company, the performances that give you hope).
- Then tag your TD’s (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/) and use #SpaceForArts.
3. Spread the Word
Talk to your friends and family about how important the arts are to you and ask them to do point 1 and 2.
Here is a link to the National Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget Submission.