In March 2023, at the Salzburg Global Seminar session ‘On the Front Lines: Artists at Risk, Artists who Risk‘, a global assembly of fifty artists, activists, and representatives from supporting organizations spanning forty countries united to create the Salzburg Statement on Supporting Artists on the Front Line.
Art, as a social force, challenges power structures, encourages democratic participation, heals communities, and fosters critical thinking. Recognizing the critical role of art in a healthy civil society, the Statement highlights the risks faced by artists threatened by armed conflict, persecution, or oppression due to their artwork. These risks, imposed by various actors, can turn artists into “artists at risk,” emphasizing their critical role in upholding international human rights and freedoms.
The Statement urges institutions shaping social and cultural policies to create an enabling, human rights-based environment that supports artists at risk. By the end of 2025, policymakers, funders, and international organizations are called upon to:
- Conduct a comprehensive study of factors inhibiting creative workers’ artistic freedom and cultural rights.
- Produce a detailed report on best practices for identifying, evaluating, and addressing the needs of creative workers at risk.
- Establish legal frameworks for Emergency Artistic Freedom visas, ensuring entry and work authorizations for creative workers at risk.
- Allocate resources to support the relocation and professional development of at-risk creative workers.
- Integrate artistic and cultural rights into international policy work, prioritizing them in state and human rights NGO agendas.
- Recognize artists as essential partners in addressing sustainable development, democracy, and innovation, prioritizing their collective expression and activities in the human rights field.
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