In July 2016, the Arts Rights Justice (ARJ) working group supported by Culture Action Europe published its public Toolkit on promoting and protecting freedom of artistic expression for use by arts and culture practitioners. It is aimed at people who are providing training for others, presenting information on cultural rights, and as a source of inspiration for generating discussions.
This year, the ARJ group developed a Companion that works alongside the toolkit, providing cases that illustrate many of the issues and ideas raised in the Toolkit as an aid to readers and trainers. There are examples of artists and artworks that have been censored that show the many forms of censorship of the arts globally, with a special focus on Europe. It highlights initiatives by Arts Rights Justice members and other arts, human rights and freedom of expression organisations to tackle repression of freedom of artistic expression and production. Illustrations include advocacy and publicity campaigns, work with international mechanisms such as the United Nations, lobbying to change legislation, and guides for artists at risk, among others.
The Toolkit and Companion together aim to help build capacity within the arts and culture sector on how to exercise their rights and to support our collaborative partners; to support and encourage arts organisations and cultural workers to protect and defend artists and cultural operators facing censorship wherever they may be; and to encourage better collaboration between the arts, culture, free speech and the human rights sectors.