PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), in partnership with the Mekong Cultural Hub (MCH) and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM ASIA) have released a publication, which captures growing anxiety among artists and creative practitioners across South, Southeast, East, and Central Asia.
Connecting the Dotsexplores questions that are critical to understanding the state of artistic freedom in Asia, through the lens of 25 artists, creative practitioners, human rights defenders, lawyers and other stakeholders coming from 19 countries in South, Southeast, East, and Central Asia. It presents key discussions, findings, and recommendations from a closed virtual workshop convened in November 2021 and shares powerful anecdotal references from the participants, including a Uyghur musician and activist, a Vietnamese filmmaker, and a Myanmar artist – whose identities are kept confidential for security reasons.
The latest annual report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, has been published. The report will be presented to UN General Assembly on 20 October, tentatively at 11:00 am, New York time (5 pm CET). All who wish to follow the interactive dialogue live can do so by accessing the webcast through this link: http://webtv.un.org/live/
The Special Rapporteur addresses in this report the role of culture in sustainable development, including the cultures of development, with a view to assessing how cultural diversity and cultural rights have been mainstreamed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so far and to highlighting areas where increased cultural awareness may contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals during the second half of the implementation timeline of the 2030 Agenda.
On September 29, the European Commission has adopted its guidelines on how EU competition law applies to collective agreements on working conditions for solo self-employed workers. The guidelines set out the conditions under which certain self-employed workers can join together to bargain collectively without breaching EU competition rules.
With the guidelines, the EU Commission has made it possible for solo self-employed workers to be represented by trade unions with immediate effect in order to negotiate their own collective agreements.
In the field of performing arts, this applies to solo independent artists who reinforce the existing ensemble, such as opera singers, and production teams, such as directors, stage costume designers and choreographers. At the theater, many so-called guests work on service and work contracts. This puts them in a particularly unprotected position, so that contracts could be dictated to them individually and unilaterally by the theaters.
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, and in solidarity with the protesters in Iran, a collective of Iranian feminist academic-activists has published yesterday an open letter. In support of the nationwide protests that followed in Iran, the authors called the goal of the uprising of the Iranian people “the end of the theocratic military” which “uses multifaceted violence against the marginalized bodies”. The Iranian state has set a deadly crackdown on protesters and restricted Iranians’ access to the Internet. The letter has already been signed by hundreds of academics and artists around the globe.
The European Commission has published a special call under the Creative Europe programme for Ukrainian artists worth € 5 million. The call supports artists outside their country, cultural organisations in Ukraine, and preparation for the post-war recovery of the Ukrainian cultural and creative sector. Three projects will be selected, each with support up to 2 million € for short term, one up to 1 Million € for mid term project goals for financing by consortia set up within countries associated to the Creative Europe programme. Ukrainian organisations will also contribute, giving grants to small-size initiatives implemented at grass root level. The call is open until 29 November 2022.
The trial against Yulia Tsvetkova was held behind closed doors mid of July. The 29 years old feminist and LGBT activist was facing a maximum of six years in prison and has been acquitted of controversial “pornography” charges (see ACAR’s previous posts 1, 2, 3). Tsvetkova’s case drew international attention after she was placed under house arrest in 2019 . Amnesty International declared her a prisoner of conscience and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam acquired her works. In June, Tsvetkova was added to the Russian justice ministry’s list of “foreign agents.”
“With regard to the future of the drawings, the court has clearly expressed its findings that the original position and context in which these drawings were included do not allow them to be considered pornographic,” he said. This is important not only for Yulia, but also for the entire artistic, museum, and academic community, which, in the event of a guilty verdict (and given the possibility of an appeal, this risk still remains) may be forced to put underwear on ancient sculptures.” (Aleksandr Pikhovkin, Yulia Tsvetkova’s lawyer)