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Artists take risks for all of us. Explore a global network that’s ready to help.

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UPDATE REGARDING COVID-19: Please note that the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is not a grantmaking program and is unable to assist artists financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, because we recognize the growing effect that the pandemic is having on artists, we have compiled a growing list of resources for artists affected by COVID-19 and hope that you may find assistance there. Please refer to the "Stories" page to find the list. If you are an artist or cultural practitioner otherwise at risk because of your creative practice, please follow the directions below to contact us.

Please fill out the form to get in touch with us. Submissions are encrypted and ARC understands that your communications are confidential. ARC does not provide direct services, but we will do our best to refer you to organizations that do. You can also find help by exploring our network of resources.

Your message is end-to-end encrypted and will be marked as urgent. You have the option to write this message in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish. Expect a reply within 72 hours.

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The State of Artistic Freedom 2020

Freemuse's new annual report, The State of Artistic Freedom 2020, was released on April 15. The report documented 711 acts of violations of artistic freedom in 2019 in 93 different countries. It shows widespread attacks on freedom of artistic expression on a global scale as practices of censoring artists’ voices continue. As the world shifts into isolation and government’s enact state of emergency procedures, this marks a critical moment for the state of artistic freedom. The report and event explores the critical climate for artistic freedom as global nationalist populism continues to restrict expression.

Artistic freedom is a marker of a healthy and open society, and yet state and non-state actors continue to regularly violate this right around the world. At least 71 artists were known to be imprisoned in 2019 in 16 countries, including 13 in Iran, 9 in Turkey, 8 in Myanmar, and more. The most common reason for artists' imprisonment stemmed from criticizing government policies and practices, at 42%. 56% of artists detained were detained for political reasons, and of these, 32% of detentions occurred in the Asia and Pacific region. Counterterrorism laws had an especially large effect on these detentions and imprisonments, with 19 artists imprisoned, 13 detained, and 4 prosecuted in at least 8 different countries under such laws.

Over the course of 2019, the world also continued to witness the deepening of discourse based on uninhibited nationalist and populist sentiments, in which human rights concerns were repeatedly jettisoned. These platforms have deliberately been used to undermine notions of cultural diversity and plurality in an attempt to cultivate nation-building on the idea of "us and them." When paired with narratives of religious nationalism, this has heightened fears of growing intolerance, particularly towards alternative narratives and vulnerable groups such as religious minorities, LGBTI groups, and women. In some parts of the world, such as Hungary and Turkey, it appears that regimes have replaced cultural politics with identity and symbolic politics. All of this has ultimately triggered a range of violations of artistic freedom of expression.

April 15, 2020

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