Article 19 South America, based in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is part of the global organisation Article 19, based in London, England. Article 19 operates globally and is one of the foremost and largest civil society organisations working specifically on the promotion of freedom of expression and the right to information with a focus on legislation. Article 19 has a focus on journalists and the media but has at times broadened its work to include artistic repression. In Brazil, the increased repression of artistic expression and artists led Article 19 South America to initiate work in Brazil to document, advocate, highlight and prosecute cases of restrictions on artistic freedom, and offer protection in emergency situations of threats to artists' safety. With support from The Swedish Arts Council, Article 19 South America has initiated the development of a sanctuary system for artists in Brazil and elsewhere. It has also founded a movement for artistic freedom, MOBILE, which is described as an innovative encounter between art/culture and human rights. The movement's digital platform shares information and tools, including legal support, on how to recognise censorship and different types of violations of artistic freedom.
Read more on Article 19's website.
Artists at Risk
Artists at Risk (AR), founded in 2013 in Helsinki, Finland, is a matchmaking, funding and networking institution that provides temporary residencies for persecuted and vulnerable artists at hosting organisations around the world. AR maps threats to cultural professionals, identifies their individual needs, and offers them resettlement in a new artistic and social context. In recent years, the organisation has focused on establishing residency opportunities in the Global South – an expansion supported by the Swedish Arts Council. The stated purpose of Artists at Risk is to contribute to development goals such as poverty reduction, increased gender equality and climate sustainability through the support of culture and artists. The organisation emphasises the value of offering protection to artists so that they also have the opportunity to practise and further develop their art. Therefore, in addition to protection in the form of temporary residence, AR offers artistic education, curatorial support, and various platforms to make artists’ work visible. AR residents are invited as honoured visiting arts professionals in their host countries. At the same time, the residency programme enables artists to return to their countries of origin.
Artists at Risk (AR) receives core support from the Swedish Arts Council.
Read more on Artists at Risk's website.
Arts Equator is an organisation based in Singapore. Founded in 2016, the organisation is a digital media platform focused on the arts and culture sector in Southeast Asia. Arts Equator works with stakeholders from various arts and media fields including writers and journalists, podcast producers, graphic designers and more. The organisation also addresses issues of censorship in Southeast Asia and how these issues specifically affect the culture and media sector. With support from the Swedish Arts Council, Arts Equator has launched an initiative focusing on cultural production and rights-based advocacy in the form of documenting and mapping cases of censorship in Southeast Asia through an online database. The initiative aims to create a regional network of leading cultural actors and experts in the field of artistic freedom in Southeast Asia, to raise public awareness of artistic freedom and cases of censorship, and to identify trends and tools for rights-based organisations and artists to work with.
Read more on Arts Equator's website.
Avant-Garde Lawyers (AGL) is an international legal organisation that works to ensure pro-bono specialised legal assistance to artists in situations of increased vulnerability. In order to fulfil its mission, AGL manages a global network of lawyers, CSO professionals and law and art experts specialising in the right to freedom of artistic expression. The Swedish Arts Council supports AGL’s Legal Aid Programme for artists who are in vulnerable or risky situations. The aim of the programme is to use the full potential of the law to protect and defend artists subjected t o harassment, censorship, imprisonment for their politically engaged art. AGL also develops and implements capacity building for human rights and cultural rights defenders in order to equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools to navigate international and regional human rights mechanisms to defend artists’ rights.
Read more on Avant-Garde Lawyers's website.
Culture Resource, or Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy, is a Beirut-based non-profit organization that has been working to promote artistic creativity and exchange throughout the Arab region and its diaspora since 2003. Through its network, it supports artists, cultural actors and arts and culture organisations, as well as vulnerable artists, active in the Arab region. The Swedish Arts Council supports Culture Resource’s Stand for Art program which provides direct protection and support to artists at risk in the form of legal protection, safe haven residencies, and provision of basic needs and living expenses. The organisation also offers support to the arts and culture sector through grants, capacity building, research and publications, and networking, to promote independent creative works outside the commercial mainstream on a regional and international level. Finally, Culture Resource works towards improving the environment for cultural work through policy research and action, and coordinates strategic efforts to support a cultural ecosystem in the Arab region.
Read more on Culture Resource's website.
DefendDefenders, based in Kampala, Uganda, is a regional Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 2005, whose work covers the East and Horn of Africa sub-region. It works to defend and promote human rights with a specific focus on the protection of human rights defenders, in addition to broad advocacy work in the field of human rights, both towards the regional and global human rights systems. The focus of these activities is to support the work of human rights defenders while prioritising their safety and well-being. DefendDefenders also serves as the secretariat of AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network). With support from the Swedish Arts Council, DefendDefenders has increased its advocacy work to promote and protect artistic freedom as a human right, and to raise awareness of artists as human rights defenders and their situation in African countries. The work also includes providing emergency protection for artist- human rights defenders at risk in Africa, and to provide them with training in rights-based work, in addition to individual support.
Read more on DefendDefenders' website.
Read more about African Defenders.
Ettijahat - Independent Culture
Ettijahat - Independent Culture, founded in 2011, is a cultural organisation that promotes an independent culture in Syria and beyond. It is based in Beirut and works to protect and support artists throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a particular focus on supporting Syrian artists in exile. Ettijahat promotes cultural diversity and artistic freedom, focusing on artists' rights. With the support of the Swedish Arts Council, Ettijahat addresses the needs of marginalised artists by providing them with social protection and direct legal, economic, and rights-based assistance. It also supports artistic programmes that counteract the isolation of and resistance to artists. This includes promoting culture as a means of free expression and specifically promoting cultural diversity and artistic freedom in the region. At the policy level, Ettijahat develops framework programmes focused on artists' rights and artistic freedom and promotes synergies between culture and development cooperation.
Ettijahat receives core support from the Swedish Arts Council.
Read more on Ettijahat's website.
ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) is an organisation based in Stavanger, Norway, that provides long term, temporary residences for persecuted writers and artists through a global system of safe haven residencies. Their mission is to enable cities around the world to provide sanctuary to persecuted writers and artists working to promote freedom of expression, defend democratic values and foster international solidarity. Since the start in 2006, more than 300 artists have found protection in ICORN’s network of cities of refuge, which now consists of over 80 cities worldwide. Through its support from the Swedish Arts Council, ICORN works to develop and implement capacity development for participating cities of refuge, improve systems and procedures for applications and assessment of applications, and implement its gender plan to better meet women's special needs and increase the proportion of women who are placed in a safe haven.
ICORN receives core support from the Swedish Arts Council.
Nhimbe Trust is a pan-African civil society organisation based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The organisation was established in 2003 with the stated aim of promoting cultural perspectives on political and socio-economic development issues. Its work includes carrying out national, regional and international advocacy and policy work in the area of cultural and human rights, and monitoring and reporting on issues of artistic freedom. The organisation's main activities are based on the areas of artistic education, development cooperation, and cultural policy. The Swedish Arts Council specifically supports Nhimbe Trust’s work to monitor and report on the area of artistic freedom in the context of political elections in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Zambia.
Read more on Nhimbe Trust's website.
Selam is a Pan-African organisation headquartered in Sweden with regional offices in Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Selam’s work is based on five pillars: Advocacy for Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom of Speech, Culture as a vehicle to Promote Peace and Reconciliation, Institutional Building, Tech and Digitalisation, and Job creation through Skills Training. Selam implements projects in partnerships with culture and civil society organisations based on three core strategies: capacity development of culture actors, enabling culture production and distribution, as well as advocacy targeting decision-makers. With support from the Swedish Arts Council, Selam has established the Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) – a Pan-African voice for organisations working with artists and cultural producers for artistic freedom on the African continent. The initiative involves cooperation with organisations in eight countries in Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, The Gambia, Zambia, and Mozambique. The network contributes knowledge and capacity to rights-based advocacy work for artistic freedom at national level.
Read more on Selam's website.
Read more about PANAF.
Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT)
Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of artists at risk and artistic freedom. It provides open platforms for human rights defenders in the arts globally, and develops meeting places for various organisations, groups, institutions (non-governmental and state), individuals and artists who defend the rights of the persecuted creatives and academics. The Swedish Arts Council supports SH|FT’s annual Safe Havens conference, a global network meeting between artists, activists, NGOs, lawyers and intergovernmental organisations, on topics related to artistic freedom and the support to artists, writers and other culture producers and academics who face threats, persecution and censorship. The conference travels globally each year and in 2023, the conference was held in Mexico City, with participants on-site, as well as through online sessions. In addition to the conference, SH|FT manages several projects aimed to facilitate meetings and collaborations between individuals and organisations in the global Arts Rights Justice sector. Safemuse, an Oslo-based non-profit organisation with the main purpose of facilitating safe residencies for censored, threatened and persecuted artists, is fiscal sponsor of SH|FT and holds the formal agreement with the Swedish Arts Council.