IRELAND Living and Working Conditions of Artists in Ireland


The need for detailed, accurate and objective information about the living and working conditions of artists is self-evident. In the context of restricted finance the need for the Arts Council to use it’s money in the most efficient way possible can best be assisted by having accurate information readily available.

In October 1978 Irish Marketing Surveys Ltd. began a series of interviews with artists who had been selected on a random sampling basis from lists provided by the Arts Council. The assistance of Irish Actors Equity and the Federation of Musicians was important in assembling these lists.

The full report, in three volumes, was given to the Council by I.M.S. in November 1979. This leaflet, published in April, 1980, is a brief summary of the main findings of the report.


The results of the survey show a very worrying, though not unexpected, situation.
Most artists, both “interpretive” and “creative” rely, for the majority of their income, on money earned at activities other than their art. Their confused and varied income precludes many of them from access to social welfare. The instability of their incomes makes planning difficult and most have no plans for pensions. Those “interpretive” artists who cannot practise their art unless they are employed to do so are often unemployed, sometimes for long periods. The majority of artists believe the Irish public to be disinterested in the arts and blame the education system. Most artists believe the Arts Council to be successful in its work to some degree although there were criticisms of the bursary scheme and of the lack of funding for the Council. Artists’ hopes for the future are modest – more work and ownership of a house or studio being the most commonly quoted aspirations.