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Diversity of cultural expressions

Freedom of art and culture  
Photo: © Caroline Minjolle

Fellowship Austrian Commission for UNESCO (ÖUK)

Starting in November 2021, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO will award a kültüř gemma! Fellowship on the topic of artistic freedom. The call for applications is aimed at art and cultural actors who, in line with the intentions of kültüř gemma!, define themselves as migrants or People of Color.

Application deadline: October 3, 2021

kültüř gemma!
kültüř gemma! is a project to promote migrant artistic work. We award four free work grants and four fellowships to Viennese cultural institutions every year. In addition to the financial and non-material support of individual projects, kültüř gemma! sees itself as a cultural networking platform. Our goal is to establish migrant positions in the predominantly white cultural scene as a matter of course and to do justice to the plurality of the city in cultural life as well

Austrian Commission for UNESCO - Diversity of Cultural Expressions
The Austrian Commission for UNESCO (ÖUK) is the national coordinating and liaison body of UNESCO. Its task is to advise the Federal Government, the Provincial Governments and other competent bodies on all issues arising from Austria‘s membership in UNESCO; to cooperate in the implementation of the programs; to inform the public about UNESCO‘s work; and to connect institutions, specialized organizations and experts with the organization.

The work of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions division is based on the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005). At the heart of the Convention is the safeguarding of an environment in which a diversity of arts and culture can develop freely and is protected from a purely economic approach. While cultural expressions such as literature, theater, music, film, or visual arts as consumer goods also have a financial value in the marketplace, their value is not exhausted by this.

In this sense, the division deals with various issues concerning the framework conditions of artistic and cultural creation, such as the mobility of art and cultural actors, fair working conditions in the art and culture sector, participatory policy-making processes in the field, and artistic freedom.

Focus of work: Artistic freedom
According to UNESCO‘s understanding, the right to artistic freedom results, among other things, from the right to artistic creation without censorship or intimidation, the right to social and economic security (fair pay) or the right to participate in cultural life. Blocking on social media, making it more difficult to obtain a residence permit or attempted political influence restrict free spaces for art and culture. „The digital transformation is also accompanied by increasing discrimination online. For example, increasing digital surveillance and online trolling pose a threat to artistic freedom“ (ARGE Kulturelle Vielfalt, 2020). As a member of Arts Rights Justice Austria, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO documents interventions by both the state and the private sector in order to understand the current state as well as changes and make them more visible.

A fellowship in the field of „Diversity of Cultural Expressions“ with a focus on artistic freedom is offered starting at the beginning of November 2021. The fellowship is endowed with 1,300 Euro (stipend) per month and is limited to a period of 6 months. The payment is made by kültüř gemma!

The Fellowship offers the opportunity to develop and implement a project in the field of artistic freedom and to participate in various areas of work of the division. It is desirable to focus on a sub-area of artistic freedom (e.g. digital environment, mobility, political influence)1, which can be defined in cooperation with the ÖUK.

The call for proposals is aimed at art and cultural actors who, in line with the intentions of kültüř gemma!, define themselves as migrants or People of Color.
kültüř gemma! is oriented towards this approach in order to focus on voices, perspectives and communities that are underrepresented in positions of power in artistic and cultural institutions.

Fellowship content and format
Development of a project in the area of Artistic Freedom, including but not limited to the following activities:

  • Monitoring of artistic freedom violations and the status quo (research activities, e.g. desk research, interviews with cultural actors on the basis of the existing monitoring system on restrictions to artistic freedom in Austria).
  • Creation of awareness-raising measures and networking in the arts and cultural sector on the fragility of artistic freedom in Austria and/or other countries, e.g. through the conception and implementation of a workshop, network meetings or discourse events.
  • Participation in various projects in the field of „Diversity of Cultural Expressions“.

Qualifications and requirements

  • Experience in the field of cultural policy or in (cultural) political, scientific work or (voluntary) work in the arts and cultural sector.
  • Knowledge of the subject area of artistic freedom, or a sub-area thereof
  • Interest in the cultural-political landscape and current developments internationally and in Austria
  • Place of residence in Vienna
  • Language skills in German/English (basic knowledge of German required, additional language skills would be an advantage)
  • We encourage all forms of knowledge and expertise including those with non-academic, non-institutional backgrounds to apply.

Application documents and submission
Please submit:
A letter of motivation clearly stating why you are applying for a Fellowship in the thematic
area of Artistic Freedom at the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and in which sub-area of
Artistic Freedom you are particularly interested in (max. 1 A4 page).

A detailled curriculum vitae (max. 2 A4 pages)

The deadline is October 3, 2021
Please send your application to:

The selection of the fellow will be made by ÖUK together with kültüř gemma! Interviews will be held on October 21/22, 2021 at ÖUK‘s offices or online.

Questions to kültüř gemma!
Catrin Seefranz
Tel: 0699 11 66 7000

Questions to ÖUK:
Klara Koštal
Tel. 01 526 13 01 18

Please send the application until October 3, 2021 to:

1 The sub-areas result from the different provisions of international law on which the term is based.; Furthermore, the sub-areas can be taken from the „Types of restriction or violation of artistic freedom in the monitoring documentation form: Artistic Freedom in Austria - Monitoring - Austrian Commission for UNESCO.