Afghanistan Cultural Fund

The new established Afghanistan Cultural Fund (ACF) aims to support Afghan cultural workers, especially women. The fund provides assistance to Afghan artists both within the country and in the diaspora, enabling them to continue their creative work, protect cultural heritage, and preserve artistic expressions despite all adversities.

The  ACF is a project by the Goethe Institute, Germany, supported by  the Open Society Fund. 

For more information and application follow this link

Residencies for Palestinian Artists

The programme aims to support Palestinian artists residing in Jerusalem or the West Bank or originally from Gaza and living abroad, of various disciplines, generations, and origins, helping them develop  research and creation projects in contemporary arts.  A second call for applications is now open for 3 to 6-month residencies in France to be carried out at French cultural institutions venues and will take place between January 2025 and December 2025.  

Submission of applications until August 20th, 2024. The selection process will be coordinated by the French Institute of Jerusalem, in collaboration with the program partners. 

More information and application via this link.  

Russia (update): Six Years for “Finist, the Brave Falcon”

On Monday, June 8th, a military court in Moscow convicted theater director Zhenya Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk of terrorism charges and sentenced them to six years each in prison. Authorities claimed their Golden Mask awarded play “Finist, the Brave Falcon” justifies terrorism, in Russia punishable by up to seven years in prison (see ACAR posts 1, 23, 4, 5 ).  Both have already been in custody for over a year, awaiting trial. 

Sources:  The Moscow Times , Fox News, TV5 Monde

On Freedom of Artistic Expression and Cultural Relativism

The German Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa) has published a paper that examines two major challenges to the defence of artistic freedoms: the insufficient discussion of “artistic freedom” in international legal fora and the insufficient use of the potential of international law to defend and promote artists’ rights. At its core, the input asks how the diverse cultural norms, traditions, and values in states should be reconciled with the universal imperative to protect artists’ rights? 


Andra Matei and Sanchit Saluja: The “Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression” and Cultural Relativism.  International Law Perspectives (PDF, eng)

Artistic Freedom in the Global Landscape

In its May 2023 report on ‘Defending Creative Voices: Artists in Emergencies, Learning from the Safety of Journalists’, UNESCO called for more protection for artists under attack.

The new study from ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen “The Fragile Triangle of Artistic Freedom: A Study of the Documentation and Monitoring of Artistic Freedom in the Global Landscape” by Ole Reitov and Sara Whyatt explores the current status of artistic freedom monitoring and documentation systems. It identifies gaps in the promotion and protection of artistic freedom, including what is needed to address them, and points to a number of positive developments as well as negative trends.  Unlike media protection organisations, which receive verified documentation on attacks on media professionals from professional unions as well as individuals from all over the world, the CSOs documenting artistic freedom violations rarely receive any information from organisations representing artists. Added to this are the ‘under-the-radar’ examples of self-censorship by artists, curators, librarians, galleries, film distributors and producers, and others working across the cultural value chain.

Download the full study


Russia (update): Pre-trial Detention of Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk Extended for a Further Six Months

Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk were arrested one year ago and have been accused of “justifying terrorism” in their award-winning play “Finist, the Brave Falcon”.  (See ACAR post 1). Without a trial having taken place so far, the pre-trial detention has since been extended several times (2,3); on 10 May again by 6 months until 22 October 2024. In April, both were placed on a list of alleged “terrorists and extremists” by the authorities in Moscow.  Berkovich is the mother of two underage children and had already been sentenced to eleven days in prison in 2022 for a protest action against the Russian war in Ukraine.

Source: Die PresseMoscow Times