The social and cultural value of the arts has never been more apparent

As we all turn to literature, music, and television for comfort and entertainment during lockdown, the social and cultural value of the arts has never been more apparent. However, as the crisis continues, writers, artists, and other arts practitioners have been left in increasingly precarious positions, often with little income protection.

Last month, we compiled a factsheet of information and resources for writers and artists affected by COVID-19 closures. We have now updated those resources to reflect the growing list of opportunities available to writers and artists at this time.

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

This new payment will be available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost employment due to a downturn in economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment has a simple one–page application form and will be paid for a period of 6 weeks at a flat rate payment of €350 per week for jobseekers. It is designed to quickly deliver a social welfare payment to the unemployed and provide income security during this period.

More Information here:

The Arts Council

The Arts Council has announced that they will honour funding commitments made to those funded under Strategic Funding, Arts Centre Funding, Arts Grant Funding & Festival Investment Scheme Round 1.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has designed a programme to support individual artists, creative practitioners and performers. The Artists Emergency Programme is now accepting applications and the deadline is ongoing.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland also has a page on their website with the latest news and advice, which is being updated regularly. ACNI have recently published key findings of a survey on the financial impact of Coronavirus on the NI Arts sector.

More Information here:

Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht

The Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht keeps an up to date page with supports for artists and those working in the arts sector here. They also have a dedicated helpdesk for individual queries on income support. You can email them directly, enclosing your telephone number with a short description of your question to An official will contact you to discuss your query.

More Information here:

Culture Ireland

Culture Ireland will honour grants for cancelled and postponed events.

More Information here:

Relief funds for artists

The Civic

Artist Emergency Relief Fund: The Civic has established a fund to provide financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 will be paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups. Currently they are suspending applications until they distribute the funds raised to date and raise more funds to support artists and arts workers. As they raise more money, they will pay out grants in order of application receipt.

More Information here:

Bread and Butter Fund Coronavirus NI Artists Fund

This is a fund for Northern Ireland Arts practitioners affected by the Corona Virus Pandemic. The fund hopes to offer a ‘gig’ fee of £200.00 on a first come first served basis.

More Information here:

Other Opportunities

Words Ireland National Mentoring Scheme

Words Ireland National Mentoring Scheme is currently open and accepting applications.

More Information here:

Axis Ballymun

Axis Ballymun has announced details of #axisonline; a range of bursaries, supports and programme available to artists and audiences, and may be of particular interest to playwrights.

More Information here:

Professional writers and the Irish Writers Centre

  • Self-employed professional artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance may be eligible for the Social Welfare Scheme for Professional Writers and Artists.
  • Artists who may not qualify for this particular scheme may still apply to under a wide range of Social Welfare Schemes and Services.
  • One-to-One Mentoring can be offered remotely via Zoom or other online platforms.
  • The Irish Writers Centre has launched a new Writer-in-their-Residence Programme 2020, designed to provide financial support for selected writers, and to reflect on what it means to be an artist in this time. The aim of this opportunity is to support writers in exploring the challenges of creating during this period, and to share their process with a wider audience.
  • The IWC has moved to deliver creative writing courses online and is offering professional writers online teaching opportunities. Facilitators will need to download Zoom Pro, which involves a cost to the facilitator of €13.99 per month. The Irish Writers Centre will reimburse writers for this initial one month subscription.
  • If you are interested in additional online teaching opportunities, please contact Betty Stenson at with your course proposal. Please note that due to the capacity of replies we expect to receive, we will not be able to accept all proposals but we will reply to each one in due course.
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