Poetry Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland are developing guidelines for delivering virtual events

13th August 2020

Poetry Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland will be releasing guiding principles for artists and programmers for the delivery of virtual events and the generation of digital content over the coming months. Both organisations are committed to ensuring that artists are supported to maintain their standard of excellence when working virtually and that full transparency can be achieved with regard to rates of pay and expectations for online events, whether live or recorded.

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Safety and protection of children and young people online. Our colleagues at the National Youth Council of Ireland have some useful guidelines around Digital Youth Work with a good deal of transferable information. (See also https://cybersafeireland.org/ )
  • Appropriate remuneration of artists for the work to be undertaken is a core principle of both organisations and the best-practice principles of The Arts Council’s Paying the Artist policy should continue to be adhered to for digital content. Virtual events generate and require just as much, if not more, work from artists as those delivered in person and those programming and organising visits and events need to be conscious that pre-recorded content, in particular, can take time and skill to produce well. Worksheets and other written content for dissemination to audiences before and after the session also takes time and effort on the part of the artist. Our colleagues at Scottish Book Trust have done some excellent work in this area with their Live Literature Remote Event Guidelines. Poetry Ireland’s recommended rate for a Writers in Schools (in-person) visit is €200 single visit, and Poetry Ireland advises that €100 per hour be used as a guideline (to include reasonable preparation time) when artists are costing the creation and delivery of virtual events. Children’s Books Ireland pays artists the same fee for virtual events as for in-person events, approximately €240 for a live engagement or a short recorded video.
  • Audience size: many artists who make work for children and young people rely on events, teaching, residencies etc. for a significant proportion of their income, and there is now a risk of those earnings being undercut by consolidating audiences, where artists might otherwise have delivered multiple events within a county, community or school.
  • Copyright: In order to safeguard intellectual property, it is advised that an appropriate time limit and access to work be carefully considered. The generation of digital content and the delivery of virtual events should not result in artists’ content becoming widely available free of charge.
  • Structure and format of online events, duration, most appropriate platforms for dissemination need to be thought about and considered. Poetry Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland are currently exploring what training and support options can be sourced and offered to artists. 

Poetry Ireland, through its Writers in Schools scheme, and Children’s Books Ireland, through its various school book-gifting programmes and its KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards, will lead through our own policies and practices and will strive to provide relevant and useful information so that young audiences can continue to experience literature even when face to face access to events is not possible.

If you have any specific queries, issues to raise or valuable experiences to share as we plan these supports, please contact Jane O'Hanlon at Poetry Ireland (janeohanlon@poetryireland.ie) or Aoife Murray at Children’s Books Ireland (aoife@childrensbooksireland.ie).