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Balancing creative projects and a full time job

Photo by Donald Tong for

The life of a creative is hard and comes with sacrifices. Very often luck comes into play, as a lot of creative work is unpaid, especially when you first enter the scene.

As an aspiring filmmaker, a lot of the work someone will take on at first will come in the form of a training opportunity or an internship. A lot of these position are unpaid, and while they do wonders for a portfolio, it’s hard to survive with no pay. While some people are lucky to live at home and be able to take on such projects without fear, others are not so lucky.

Many creatives take on part-time work, but these days with rising costs and a full-fledged housing crisis, that is no longer an option for some people. Sometimes, part-time work also does not offer the same security and benefits as a full-time position, especially when things like a pension are taken into consideration.

When someone works full-time, making time for creativity can become even harder. Especially if the job you have is a corporate role, while some can argue that some creativity is needed in all jobs, your focus is on completing tasks in a timely manner and meeting deadlines all day long. It can be hard to switch off and think creatively once the work day is over. It can also mean less time for rest and always being on-the-go. Sometimes, your social and family life can also suffer the consequences.

It is also true, that someone who works full-time might not be able to take on creative opportunities as easily when they do come along. In the case of an unpaid internship, if the opportunity was to appear, not everyone can simply take a week off work. 

While some action is being taken to support creatives in Ireland, a few initiatives are still in their pilot stages. The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is running from 2022 to 2025. Applications for the scheme were open until 12 May 2022, and 2,000 eligible artists were selected at random to participate in the scheme. The pilot currently provides €325 a week to the selected artists. At the end of the pilot, the participants and a control group who did not receive the payment will all submit a survey and relevant data to understand the benefit and success of the pilot.

Let’s hope the scheme works and creatives in Ireland start to benefit from this support in the next few years. 

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