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UNESCO Report: Artists at Risk


Linz, Austria: On September 7, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and Artist at Risk (AR) will be guests at Ars Electronica to present the new UNESCO report "Defending Creative Voices: Artists in emergencies - Learning from the safety of journalists" in the context of Ars Electronica's State of the ART(ist) Call.

Artists, creative work and artistic freedom are under threat worldwide. The profession is not alone in this, but unlike journalists, there is no UN-level instrument for the protection of artists in emergency situations.

With the new publication "Defending Creative Voices: Artists in emergencies - Learning from the safety of journalists", UNESCO calls for the development of tailored assistance to protect and promote artistic freedom in emergencies. Best practices in the field of press freedom serve as role models. The NGO Artist at Risk (AR), UNESCO's cooperation partner, has developed a global network to support and offer refuge to artists at risk.

Threat to artistic freedom intensified in emergency situations

Emergency situations usually aggravate the threat to artists because artistic work is often viewed critically. Crises also affect the ability of artists to make a living. The international community can play an important role in protecting them. Innovative practices include the establishment of exile programs or the expedited issuance of visas (including humanitarian or emergency visas). The report calls on states to strengthen protection for artists at risk.

Where: Ars Electronica, Lecture Stage at POSTCITY
When: Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

Key figures

According to the UNESCO 2022 Global Report Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity

  • Only 27% of the 152 State Parties to the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has developed or supported safe spaces for artists.
  • Just over half of the Parties to the 2005 Convention (53%) have independent bodies that receive complaints or monitor violations and restrictions to artistic freedom.

According to Freemuse report, in 2021

  • More than 1,200 violations of artistic freedom worldwide were documented
  • A record number of 39 artists were reportedly killed in 12 countries
  • 119 artists were imprisoned in 24 countries
Cover page UNESCO report "Defending Creative Voices: Artists in Emergencies - Learning from Journalists' Safety".
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© Tom Mesic
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