What advocacy role does Res Artis play?
Res Artis membership to Culture Action Europe
Res Artis was voted onto the Board of Culture Action Europe (CAE) in October 2013 in order to represent the issues of the artist residency field, and our membership specifically. We now remain ongoing members of CAE, and fully support the powerful 5 year strategic plan that encorages cross-sectorial collaborations to invest in a common future.
Here is an excerpt from CAE’s 5 year Strategic Plan:
Advocacy Topics supported by Res Artis
Visa & Mobility
Today, the work of artists and cultural workers is still considered nontraditional and precarious within the context of transnational movement. Problems mainly arise from a set of features: frequent travelling, short notice (and difficulties in preparing the applications in advance so as to have a response on time), precarious working conditions and irregular and/or low revenues, which make it difficult to comply with the ‘proof of financial means’ required for the applications as part of the risk assessment procedure.
Very often all of these categories apply to the potential residents, as well as they can apply to the residency organisers themselves. In many cases, the support given to the artists by residency organisations is vital to smooth the visa application procedure, especially in situations where the artists cannot personally travel to the Embassy, Consulate or agency dealing with their application. In some cases, the Embassy concerned is located in another country itself, and to get there already involves a visa application process.
Residencies as ‘Safe havens’
These cultural workers need not only the crucial local and international connections to leave their home but also a place to stay abroad or in their own country, sometimes only for a few days, sometimes for a longer period of time, to recover and create a sustainable situation for themselves.
- ICORN Sweden is closely monitoring the residencies that create safe havens for persecuted artists, and has contributed to an EC report called: Mapping of temporary shelter initiatives for Human Rights Defenders in danger in and outside the EU, 2012.
- freeDimensional (fD) has devised a collaborative approach that builds partnerships between arts residencies and human rights organizations worldwide to provide a wide variety of Distress Services to those in need including Creative Safe Haven. The Creative Safe Haven initiative brings about a ground-breaking idea: using surplus bedrooms of artist residency programs to counter the accommodation dilemma faced by the human rights community who know, and are connected to, oppressed activists in need of a safe place to live when fleeing danger.
- The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an association of cities around the world dedicated to the value of Freedom of Expression. Writers have consistently been targets of politically motivated threats and persecution, and the network believes it is necessary for the international community to formulate and implement an appropriate response.By providing a Guest Writer with a safe place to stay and economic security for a standard term of two years, ICORN cities make an important, practical contribution to the promotion of Freedom of Expression.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists: The Journalist Assistance program helps journalists through a combination of financial and non-financial assistance. CPJ maintains a small distress fund through which it dispenses emergency grants to journalists. The program also raises funds for journalists from outside sources and collaborates with other freedom of expression organizations. When necessary, CPJ lobbies governments or international agencies to help secure refugee or asylum status for journalists. We provide logistical support to journalists when they resettle in exile. CPJ also refers journalists to resources, including information on grants, fellowships, and awards.
- FREEMUSE: The objectives of Freemuse are to document violations and discuss their effects on music life, inform media, human rights organisations and the public, support musicians in need and observe at their trials, develop a global network in support of threatened musicians and composers.
PEN: Pen is promoting Literature and defending Freedom of Expression. They collaborate with human rights organisations to support repressed and exiled writers in various ways.
- Front Line Defenders: Front Line Defenders was founded in Dublin in 2001 with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Front Line Defenders aims to address the protection needs identified by defenders themselves. Front Line Defenders seeks to provide rapid and practical support to at-risk human rights defenders.
- Artists at Risk Connection (ARC): is a collaborative project led by PEN America, which has been committed to protecting open expression in the United States and worldwide since 1922. ARC serves as a hub for freedom of expression and artistic freedom organizations worldwide, networking together to support artists at risk. The ARC network supports artists everywhere so they can live and work without fear.
• Scholars at Risk (SAR): invites Network member universities and colleges to help threatened scholars by hosting them during temporary visits as professors, researchers, and lecturers, visiting scholars, post-docs, graduate fellows or students.
• Art Moves Africa (AMA):is an international not for profit organisation aiming to facilitate cultural and artistic exchanges within the African continent. AMA offers travel funds to artists, arts professionals and cultural operators living and working in Africa to travel within the African continent in order to engage in the exchange of information, the enhancement of skills, the development of informal networks and the pursuit of cooperation.
• Fractured Atlas: Getting a visa to work as an artist in the United States is a time-consuming and frustrating process. As part of this lengthy process, artists applying for these visas often need letters of consultation/no objection that vouch for their artistic excellence. These can be hard to get if you’re not already in a union or other professional association (and sometimes even if you are). Fractured Atlas can help, but they are not lawyers.