Where arts and human rights meet

The Agency is publishing a meeting report capturing the essence of the conversations, views, ideas and proposals from artists, human rights and fine arts academics, museum staff, curators and civil society organisations working on artistic freedom. This report is a comprehensive reflection of the many discussions held during the meeting at FRA from 29 to 30 May in Vienna. It also contains a series of recommendations to participants, institutions and beyond.

Speaking and standing up for human rights benefits from joining forces. Human right are also better served by a cross-fertilisation of audiences and from a diversification of communications to ultimately convey the same message across the board making it better heard.

Participants spoke of the commonalities between arts and human rights and looked at what human rights can do for art and art for human rights. The core of the exchange was around exploring ways to step up cooperation and to map potential joint activities. Further discussions touched upon access to funding, freedom, censorship and copyright.

Participants also spoke of the challenges facing the arts such as reducing arts to simply a form of communications. How the current political climate can pose a risk to artistic freedom, an issue which participants agreed requires more scientific research, was also discussed.

The meeting report captures a wide range of examples of the interplay between arts and rights. Common to all is their strength in having touched people emotionally, in having changed perspectives and policies, and in having triggered solidarity, empathy and motivation to jointly search for better models of living together.