- 21 Jul 20
The Dublin producer and DJ visited Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday, after writing to the President to express his concerns for arts workers in the Covid-19 fallout.
As arts workers continue to campaign for support to ease the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, R.Kitt took some of these key concerns to President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday, July 20.
After writing to the President last week, the acclaimed Dublin DJ and producer, also known as Robbie Kitt, was invited to discuss these issues in person. In a statement posted on Instagram, R.Kitt notes that he and President Higgins discussed "welfare supports, reformative policy, [and] recognising arts workers with some sort of employment status" – as well as "philosophy, anarchism, dancing, conversations he's had with the pope about art and matters of the heart, and a course he used to teach in the 'sociology of deviant behaviour'."
Some of the key issues R.Kitt brought to the President are those that have been highlighted by the National Campaign for the Arts – a volunteer-led, grassroots movement that works to ensure that the arts are given a place on national and local government agendas. Ahead of the July Stimulus Package, the National Campaign for the Arts is calling on the Government to extend the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the arts and live sector; to extend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme for the arts and live events sector; and to reduce the arts sector's VAT rate.
R.Kitt is also an active supporter of the Give Us The Night campaign, which launched last year in an effort to bring positive changes to Irish nightlife, with particular regard to music venues. He has written on the issue for Hot Press on two occasions – stressing to importance of bringing Irish licensing laws in line with other European countries.
"It is incredibly encouraging that we are beginning to see some of our ideas work their way into different parties' manifestos," he wrote in a piece about Give Us The Night for Hot Press last year. "Obviously, these promises will only count if they are ultimately realised as progressive legislative change. Until that that day comes, we will not stop promoting the commonsense changes to licensing we believe are necessary for the industry to flourish again. There is no doubt that this will take time, and that it will require sustained and consistent pressure. However, establishing the importance of electronic music and club culture now seems to be a much more achievable goal."
Despite the uncertainty of the days ahead in the face of the ongoing pandemic, and the continued 'hotelisation' of Dublin, R.Kitt stresses in his Instagram statement that "we are lucky to have" Michael D. Higgins as President.
"I hope to continue these conversations, but I would encourage anyone who has experiences in the arts that illustrate how difficult it is to make a living from their practice to reach out to him," he continues. "He is truly, deeply passionate about these issues and I am so proud that he's president of Ireland."
View this post on Instagram
last week, i wrote a letter to @presidentirl expressing my concern for workers in the arts and the challenges for public performances in the wake of coronavirus. today, i was incredibly honoured to attend áras an uachtaráin and discuss these issues with the man himself. we talked about lots of stuff, welfare supports, reformative policy, recognising arts workers with some sort of employment status, philosophy, anarchism, dancing, conversations he’s had with the pope about art and matters of the heart, and about a course he used to teach in the “sociology of deviant behaviour”. michael d. is an incredibly inspiring person, a true friend to artistic communities, and we are lucky to have him. i hope to continue these conversations, but i would encourage anyone who has experiences in the arts that illustrate how difficult it is to make a living from their practice to reach out to him. he is truly, deeply passionate about these issues and i am so proud that he’s president of ireland.