Basic Income: An Artists’ Commission


Basic Income: An Artists’ Commission

Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31, 2021
12:30 – 5:30 PM EST | ASL interpretation will be provided

Can you imagine what your life as an artist would be like if your basic economic needs were met? How would it change your art practice? How would it change the way that you care for people in your community? How would it change your priorities in life? We asked 20 artists across artistic disciplines and geography these questions and more to better understand the current lived experiences of individual artists and cultural workers navigating precarity and income support programs. Basic Income: An Artists’ Commission will hear directly from these artists on January 30 and 31, 2021.

Over the course of the last year, Basic Income has increasingly been a subject for discussion across the political spectrum. While the many variants of Basic Income from different political philosophies are being discussed along with the need for expanded and improved social services, housing supports, and transformative economic justice, unpacking how various policy proposals intersect with the lives of artists and people living in poverty must remain at the centre of our analysis. Since the COVID-19 shutdowns of large parts of the Canadian and global economies these discussions have broadened. The federal government has stressed that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was only ever meant to be a temporary stop-gap. Not only that, the program’s restrictions also left many Canadians behind in deep poverty. At the same time, CERB gave many other Canadians their first taste of what a Basic Income (BI) program might look like: not just theory, but in practice.

Through a series of testimonies over two days, Basic Income: An Artists’ Commission will hear from 20 artists navigating poverty, economic precarity, and impacts income support programs have had on their lives and art practices. The testifiers include artists from a range of regions, artistic disciplines, and experiences from across Canada. These testimonies are free and open to watch by the public over Zoom.

These testimonies will inform a report by four commissioners which will be made available late winter 2021. The goal is to contribute to the broader political and economic discussion around BI by centering our voices as artists and cultural workers, and to explore how Basic Income might shape our collective futures.

Rebecca Applebaum, Nahed Mansour, Michael Murray, Greig de Peuter
Commissioner Bios

To attend and view some or all of the commission please register below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom. Click here to Register.

We will use this mailing list to inform you of any news or actions related to this project. This mailing list will be destroyed at the conclusion of the event.


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