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For the period of 2017 to 2020, ARJ will focus on two main activities. They both support our objective to increase the understanding of human rights in the arts and culture sector, and for artists and organisations to learn to read and respond to artists rights breaches.


1—Co-creating awareness:

ARJ created two tools to engage the arts and culture sector in Europe, and beyond, with: The ARJ Public Toolkit, the more theoretical background and guide to artists rights, and its Companion. The latter illustrates the toolkit with case material. Together they inform the solid framework within which we want to support the sector to learn to read and respond to human rights violation and to advocate for freedom of expression in the arts.
Another important aspect of these workshops is to gain insights into local situations, and to create a discourse around response, advocacy and monitoring activities: what is the legal situation on artists rights in your country, and who is documenting violations? What is needed to increase the capacity and confidence in the arts and culture to act and to collaborate with other sectors — human rights, social justice, freedom of expression? We intend to adapt and refine our tools and engagement over the next three to four years to co-create new networks, empowerment and solidarity.

Contact us to learn more about the possibility of bringing an ARJ workshop to your organisation, your conference or any another learning or training opportunity. Write to


2—Collecting cases:

Continuing our relationship with the Cultural Rights Special Rapporteur at the UN, ARJ, together with a handful of other Civil Society Organisations, was asked to collect cases of human rights violations in the arts in Europe. Since the report on artistic freedom has been issued in 2013 by the former SR, not many cases have been reported. ARJ hopes to help substantiate the current Special Rapporteur’s work through our members’ and other allies’ efforts to collect cases. We also aim at influencing the Universal Periodic Review and other UN mechanisms with the material collected. This constitutes a major shift for most artists and cultural organisations from reading about violations elsewhere to learning to see them in our closer field of action and to document them in order to better understand the changes we are part of, and to influence the public sphere.

CAE has sent out a call for collaboration in its February 2017 members newsletter.

Please get in touch for questions and to collaborate for this project with Lillian Fellmann:


ARJ Workshops 2017:
IETM Annual Conference, Valencia, November 5, 2016
Sara Whyatt presented the ARJ Toolkits, and talked about the specific situation in the UK, and the growing tensions in Spain, which were brought into discussion by the workshop participants. Laurence Cuny talked about her experience as a member of the Observatoire in Paris and how agents in the organised cultural field in France brought about legislative change. Her talk focused on how to lobby for artists freedom. See slideshow here.
Beyond the Obvious, Culture Action Europe, Jan 28, 2017 
Sara Whyatt presented the work of ARJ and talked to the workshop participants about how to collaborate with ARJ and how to collect case material to influence reporting on the EU and UN level, and the question: What else needs to be done for you to be able to respond?
Brunnenpassage, Vienna, April 4, 2017, supported by UNESCO Commission Austria
Lillian Fellmann introduced to over 20 representatives of organisations, artists and law experts the history and current projects of ARJ. The toolkit and companion were used to give applied examples of censorship and to illustrate how important it is to look at the legislation on freedom of expression and artists rights, locally, and nationally. We discussed the need to start digging up those laws and working together with experts from other sectors (law, freedom of expression) to lobby and push for more inclusive policies. It was decided at the end of the workshop that the cultural workers of Vienna will try to start up a monitoring body. ARJ will remain involved, and report on how this exciting step will shape up.
The workshop was part of the Impulsreihe Arts Rights & Justice at the Brunnenpassage.
ITI World, Segovia, Spain, July 16-22, 2017. Presentation of ARJ projects will be done by Ann Mari Engel, ITI World, and Thomas Engel, Action Committee for Artists’ Rights.