Advocating for mobility and freedom of movement: policy agenda for the Arab region

The Arab Education Forum – Istikshaf Program, in collaboration with a number of social and cultural organizations, initiated a regional mobility and freedom of movement policy agenda until 2015 for the Arab region. The Istikshaf Program (PDF) is supported by the European Union and has 4 policy issues: mobility on the national agenda, financing mobility, crossing borders and mobilizing communities.

Serious concern about the draft Special Secrets Bill in Japan

The draft "Special Secrets Bill" shall establish grounds and procedures for the classification of information held by the Japanese State.The UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and on the right to health requested further information from the Japanese authorities on the draft law and voiced their concerns regarding its compliance with human rights standards. ACAR supports Japanese ITI centre's demands for a carefull argument for the bill.

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Embros Theatre (Athens): society and culture under threat in Greece

On the 11th of November 2011 Mavili Collective, a small group of artists and theorists, occupied the historical disused theatre building of Embros in Athens, deserted and left empty for years by the Greek Ministry of Culture. After several attacks and closures by the Greek state Empros Theater still remains open and active two years later. In September 2013, EMBROS was once again forcibly closed. Threatened with closure and in solidarity with two actors recently arrested during rehearsals in the space EMBROS needs international support. Sign the petition here.

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ACAR signed letter of protest by Writers-In-Prison against licence withdrawl of Belarus publisher

The Belarus Minister of Information has withdrawn publisher Ihar Lohvinau's license for publishing activities. According to a press release of the Belarusian Association of Journalists the matter deals with publishing of the Belarus press Photo 2011 photo album which had been recognized extremist. The German PEN / Writers-In-Prison published an open letter of solidarity to the Minister of Information.

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Action Plan 2013-16 for the Implementation in and by Germany of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

ITI Germany is a member of the German National Alliance for Cultural Diversity and took part in setting up "Recommendations for Action from Civil Society for the Implementation in and by Germany of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions". The action plan ranks from 2013-2016 and has now been translated into English (PDF). A French version will follow until the end of the year.

The “artistic” blacklists of the Argentinean dictatorship

EL PAIS and many other newspapers have reports about recent foundings of secret files from the military junta which held power from 1976 to 1983. The discovery provides rare insight into the persecution of artists and intellectual figures.
More in in English (New York Times), Spanish (EL PAIS) and German (SPIEGEL online)

Ensure Creativity remains a UNESCO priority!

UNESCO has ranked its Creativity Programme down for elimination. The programme, within arts education falls, was at the very bottom of UNESCO's 48 priority areas. The ASSITEJ calls for action and has set up a petition to sign(!) and share(!).

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Access to Culture Civil Society Platform calls for 2 minute videos on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creation

The Working group on Arts Rights and Justice of the EU Access to Culture Civil Society Platform wishes to underline the importance of the UN special report “The Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression and Creation” during a meeting with members of the European Parliament (Human Rights, Culture and other Parliamentary Committees) as well as diverse representatives of the European Commission. This meeting is scheduled to take place early October 2013 in Brussels (ACAR will take part and supports the initiative). The issues dealt with in the report are censorship (political and religious), safe havens for refugees and at risk artists, access to artistic expression for all minorities, freedom of movement, assembly, use of public space etc. The ACP working group will offer artists the opportunity to make their voice heard particularly those who are confronted with one or more of these issues in their day-to-day practice, and/or living and working under conditions of restriction or risk. See the website for detailed info.

Appeal for a worldwide reading in solidarity with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and all political prisoners in Russia on October 25th

The international literature festival berlin (ilb) launches an appeal to artists and intellectuals, schools and universities, radio and TV stations, theatres and other cultural institutions to participate in a worldwide reading in solidarity with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and all political prisoners in Russia. The reading will take place on Friday, 25 October 2013, the tenth anniversary of the detention of Michail Khodorkovsky.

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Fair pay for artists with "art but fair"

“This diseased system is harming artists”: The Austria based initiative "art but fair" is aiming to bring a wide-ranging and lively discussion under way to make the huge need for action obvious. “Golden Rules for the Artistic Milieu” are being formulated (available also in Slovene and Hungarian), which in connection with the guidelines of the “art but fair” seal which are to be self-imposed by presenters, should guarantee the existence and observance of respectful practices in the arts. The team is pursuing the following goals with this “Artists’ Revolution”:

  • to connect all artists with one another and to bring about solidarity amongst them;
  • to bring the public’s attention to the grievances we face and to bring light to the professional image of artists;
  • to raise awareness about the significance and unique worth of the arts and the artists;
  • to bring all parties involved in the cultural milieu – artists, presenters, artistic administrators, agents, pedagogues, cultural politicians, etc. – to the negotiation table and to look, collectively and through a constructive dialogue, for measures to improve upon and to correct the situation.
Call for action from ITI Centre Egypt

A conservative roll back happens to the theatre community in Egypt. The newly formed Egyptian ITI centre has asked the theatre world for support (see their call for action below). Ann Mari Engel, ITI Vice President and President of the Action Committee for Artists Rights has sent a letter to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture wich expresses our worries and concern about the situation for artists in Egypt today. Since June 5, hundreds of people have staged a sit-in at the Ministry of Culture.

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Theatre occupations in Southern Europe: Call for solidarity and support

Everywhere in southern Europe theaters are occupied. In Greece, in Spain and in Italy. After the occupations of Cinema Palazzo and the Teatro Valle, the occupy culture movement increased and became contagious, il Teatro Marinoni, the Coppola Theatre of Catania, the Garibaldi Theatre, the collective of the Balena of Naples with the Asilo della creatività e della conoscenza. Macao in Milan and the already existing S.A.L.E. Docks in Venice, are all experimenting innovative models of daily bottom up productions.PERFmts (PERFORMANCE more-than-special) has published a call for solidarity and support.


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State Theatres to be abolished in Turkey

All State Art Foundations : State Theatres, State Opera and Ballet, Symphony Orchestras, Modern Dance Companies are to be abolished in Turkey. A Video has been put on Youtube to draw the attention to a silent and dangerous process.

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Report of the Special UN Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, is available

The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed, submits the present report in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 19/6.  In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the multi-faceted ways in which the right to the freedom indispensable for artistic expression and creativity may be curtailed. She reflects upon the growing worldwide concern that artistic voices have been or are being silenced by various means and in different ways. This report addresses laws and regulations restricting artistic freedoms as well as economic and financial issues significantly impacting on such freedoms. The underlying motivations are most often political, religious, cultural or moral, or lie in economic interests, or are a combination of those.

The Special Rapporteur encourages States to critically review their legislation and practices imposing restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity, taking into consideration their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil this right. The Special Rapporteur notes that more discussion is urgently needed in several areas that she has considered.

Open consultation on Visa Code

The European Commission wants to assess whether the legislation has achieved its objectives. Building on this evaluation, the Commission plans to propose amendments to revise the Visa Code and to further develop and modernise the common visa policy. The revision of the Visa Code is identified as one of the priority initiatives of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2013 in the area of home affairs. The online consultation is open until June 17 for individuals and organisations.

Deutsche Welle launches award for outstanding reporting on human rights and development

Germany's international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, recognizes with the German Development Media Awards excellence in human rights and development journalism.The awards are open to journalists from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East as well as from Germany. Outstanding reports can be submitted until May 31, 2013.

First survey on violations on artistic freedom of expression has published it's first survey presenting a glimpse of the situation for artists worldwide in 2012 and includes cases in more than 50 countries across the fields of dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and literature (journalists are not included). A total number of 186 cases of attacks on artists and violations of their rights have been registered. The cases include 8 artists being killed, 16 imprisoned, 1 abducted, 5 attacked, 15 threatened, 37 prosecuted and 37 detained, as well as 67 cases of censorship.

2013 - 2014 International Writers Project Fellowship for writers at risk of human rights abuses

The Brown Department of Literary Arts and Thomas J. Watson Institute for International Studies are seeking applications and nominations for the 2013 - 2014 International Writers Project Fellowship. The fellowship provides institutional, intellectual, artistic and social support to writers who face personal danger, oppression, and/or threats to their livelihood in nations throughout the world. Deadline: February 15.

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Symposium on the international exchange of artists „touring artists“ in Berlin

On 18. April 2013 at the Radialsystem V in Berlin the website will be starting up – a portal for issues dealing with international exchange and collaboration worldwide. International experts will discuss the advantages and challenges for this new system of information. New visa regulations and their realization will be addressed. Different founding models will be presented. Experts will be available to answer questions on insurance and other issues regarding the impediments to mobility.

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Report "Artists' mobility and visas: a step forward" is online

The cultural mobility information network On the Move has published its report based on the training workshop in November, 15th- 16th in Brussels devoted to Schengen visas. This report is a concise document presenting problems, explanations and concrete actions to undertake in order to help improve the conditions for mobile artists traveling across the Schengen borders. The full report (43 pages, English, PDF) can be downloaded here at on the move's website 

"All that is banned is desired" conference video material is online

The video material from the first world conference on artistic freedom of expression, ‘All that is banned is desired’, held in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012, is now available online – whole sessions as well as interviews with some of the artists and speakers. See the website.

UN special report 2013 in the field of Cultural Rights

The Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Human Rights Council, to be presented in June 2013, will be devoted to the issue of “The right to artistic freedom”. Fill in the questionnaire!

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Protest singers and poets from Pune (India) arrested

Our partner organisation, the International Association of Theatre Critics AICT/IATC has published a petition to free arrested members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). Members of the group were accused by the police of being Naxalites (Maoists). Two are in prison, others hiding. With public performances the group was fighting against caste separation, for workers rights and sustainable development.

ACAR ask you to support the release of the arrested artists by signing the petition.  Additional information about the group and its background are in two online articles in English from Indian newspaper Tehelka and at India Theatre Forum.

Occupied by artists: re-activated Empros Theatre Athens to be closed

The deserted Embros Theatre in Athens re-activated by an artist’s occupation is going to be closed down and privatized on Thursday 25th of October.

On the 11 November 2011 Mavili Collective – a group of artists and theatre makers - occupied the disused building of Embros theatre and proposed an intense programme of activities.
The occupancy installed itself as a “re-activation” and proposed initially an intense twelve-day programme of activities bringing together artists, theoreticians, dance/theatre makers, architects and the general public. As Mavili Collective (2011) states in the manifesto that was sent to press and public: ‘This re-activation is not a proposition of a “better” model of production and management but is a proposition of re-thinking, responding and re-making.
This model emerges from the current lacks and shortfalls of our system and attempts to interrogate the global changing landscape at this moment in time.’ During the last year in Embros, in Athens over 500 artists, theoreticians and practitioners presented work; ranging from emerging artists and students to university professors and established practitioners, working across multiple disciplines.

Online petition:

“Prohibited play in Zimbabwe

Human rights lawyers are now fighting to overturn the ban of “No Voice No Choice” by the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe who last week “prohibited and banned” the play, alleging that its contents were “inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation”.

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WE ARE ALL PUSSY RIOT - A statement by the Women Playwrights International Conference

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World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression - All That is Banned is Desired

During the conference in Oslo, Norway, 25-26 October 2012, obvious cases of censorship will be examined, as well as more hidden mechanisms such as market censorship and political agendas. The conference website, is the first of its kind and aims at setting a new standard for the documentation of censorship of artistic freedom of expression. As the conference programme evolves, it will feature presentations of artists and speakers coming to Oslo as well as updates about the conference programme.
Contact: Ole Reitov, Programme Manager, Freemuse; tel.:+45 2323 2765 (mobile), +45 3332 1027 (office); e-mail:;, or
Bente Roalsvig, Project Director, Fritt Ord Foundation; tel.:+47 91613340 (mobile), +47 23014643 (office); e-mail:;

European arts cuts

The Guardian (UK), La Stampa (Italy), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) have launched a survey on how the financial crisis is squeezing funding for arts institutions throughout Europe. An online form to be filled out by the readers is feeding an interactive map which shows the extend of culture cuts.

Call for the Respect of Freedom of Artistic Expression and of Cultural Action in Algeria

After decades of repression, the Algerian government is again threatening and intimidating artists and intellectuals. Artists in Algeria have made a petition which have been signed by 50 artists.

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The revolution of the artists

The Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in Naples/Italy is burning artworks from its collection (with the permission of the artists) to protest against budget cuts. Read the CAM art war manifesto below and watch the videos

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Takover of artistic authority by Turkish municipal governments?

Hundreds of artists, beating drums, marched through main city streets of Istanbul for protest against recent governmental attempts to take over decision-making at Istanbul City Theaters. These days the Turkish culture policy tries to satisfy the demands from islamistic parties to push back the freedom of artistic expression and use theatre as tool to create a more conservative society. Prime Minister Erdogan suggested that state support for theater should be contingent on stagings that meet state approval.

We received a letter from Turkey, describing the situation. Read more for press articles with additional information and comments. See also a comment by Refik Erduran, theatre director and president of the Turkish ITI centre.

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Focus Hungary - World Theatre Day 2012: Theatre and freedom of speech

World Theatre Day recognizes the uniqueness of theatre and its universal role for people in all parts of the world, although it often operates under difficult conditions.

This year, Teaterunionen - Swedish ITI focus on the situation in Hungary.

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British theatre artists: Open, liberal theatre under fire in Hungary

The Guardian published on 26 January an open letter from British actors, directors, playwrights, artistic directors and presidents/general secretaries of several arts organisations calling on the foreign secretary and the international community to put pressure on the Hungarian government to reverse the decision on Új Színház before 1 February:

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First European Theatre Day of Tolerance

The Hungarian ITI centre forwarded today a memorandum on creating a European Day of Tolerance.

On the 1. February 2012 the "New Theatre" in Budapest will be transferred to two new directors, both very famous hungarian right wing leaders. This is the reason why many theatre artists and critics started an European initative to protest against the rising intolerance in Europe.

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Copenhagen Summit on Artistic Freedom of Expression

At the Copenhagen Summit on Artistic Freedom of Expression, the undersigned organizations resolved that: There is an urgent necessity to launch an international initiative to protect and promote freedom of artistic and creative expression (in the visual arts, music, dance, film, writers, theatre etc.) with the goal of increasing awarenes...

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The Internet and Intellectual Property – A Statement by TCG/ITI-US

Recently the ITI General Secretariat circulated a petition regarding pending US legislation regarding anti-piracy. Our staff researched the proposed legislation and developed the statement below in response to our findings. TCG/ITI-US strongly supports artists’ rights and freedom of speech, and we share the following to give you more information about what the US Congress is considering...

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SCUM manifesto at Turteatern

Valerie Solanas´ SCUM manifesto is playing at the independent theatre Turteatern just outside Stockholm. The performance, which premiered on November 7, has attracted a lot of attention due to its radical feministic content. In the last couple of weeks, the theatre has received threats and from different directions been urged to stop playing the performance.
As a support for Turteatern and the artistic rights of expression, several of Swedish theatres, including the Royal Dramatic Theatre, has organized readings of the play.

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The new face of Új Színház / Budapest

Here comes a letter from our friends at the Hungarian ITI about the situation at the Theater Új Színhász  in Budapest, that shocked the theatre world. All theatre professionals in the country are protesting against the appointment of an extremist right wing politician as the new director.

More information about new director and his ideas can be found  in the article The new face of Új Színház in
hungarianwatch where you can sign a petition for the freedom of speech in Hungary.

We think that this is a violation of the whole idea of the Diversity of cultures and the spirit of the ITI.  
We feel alarmed at this news and will follow the situation. Please help to spread the news around in your media.

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Új Színház/Budapest künftig mit rechtsradikaler Intendanz

In einem offenen Brief hat sich der Vorstand des ungarischen ITI-Zentrums an die Mitglieder der Weltorganisation gewandt und seine Besorgnis ausgedrückt, dass Führungspositionen in staatlichen Strukturen mit Personen besetzt werden, die für ihre offen rechtsradikalen Überzeugungen bekannt sind.

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Attacks on « Sur le concept du visage du fils de Dieu » by Romeo Castellucci, at the Théâtre de la Ville/Paris

Again, we see attacks on the artistic freedom by political rights-wing fundamentalists. Here follows a press release from the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, followed by an e-mail address for support...

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