Art Law Forum

Venice, June 4-5, 2020

Global Campus of Human Rights

UPDATE: We are deeply sorry to announce that this event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression initiative, are joining Avant-Garde Lawyers to organize an Art Law Forum in Venice, Italy on June 4-5, 2020, in collaboration with the Global Campus of Human Rights. 

Initiated Initiated by Avant-Garde Lawyers, the Art Law Forum seeks to become an annual interdisciplinary gathering bringing together artists and art-interested legal professionals active in every field of legal practice, to collectively discuss how the law can be used to protect and expand the space for artistic expression. Art’s ever-evolving forms and content pose a significant challenge to the law. Art and Law appear to dwell in separate universes. However, it is in a courtroom that the obscene, the immoral, and the outrageous in a work of art are finally assessed. One of the Forum’s primary aims is the reconciliation of the two spheres, by bridging the gap between legal professionals and artists. Legal Professionals shall be in search of ways to clearly communicate how the law is used to justify restrictions of creative endeavours, while remaining a mechanism for protecting artists and strenghthening artistic freedom of expression.
Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, will give a lecture at the Forum, and the program will also include a performance from Ramy Essam, whose songs served as anthems of resistance during the Arab Spring movement of 2011.
Participants will be selected according to their professional profile and their relevant work experience with artists and/or in the field of freedom of expression. The number of places is limited and priority will be given to those who register first. Therefore, pre-registration is strongly recommended, before the official registration is open as of March 5th 2020. You may pre-register using the link below.

The participation fees will be of 250 EUR/275 USD including all meals and activities. A limited amount of partial and full participation fee waivers is available for NGO representatives and individual lawyers and artists. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for a waiver in the pre-registration link here.

Avant-Garde Lawyers, Artists at Risk Connection, and Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression initiative are actively seeking sponsors and partners to collaborate with on this crucial project. If you would like to partner with us, please fill out this form.

Safe Passage Europe

The aim of Safe Passage Europe is to ensure the provision of legal advice and representation to artists at-risk, seeking safe passage to Europe. At-risk artists qualifying for assistance from Safe Passage Europe are referred to a pro bono attorney and accompanied throughout the pendency of the case by our team in Europe. 

AGL has partnered with the Artists at Risk Connection, at PEN America, to improve access to legal services for at-risk artists. This novel project attempts to facilitate access to legal help for at-risk artists, by connecting them directly to specialized lawyers in their own country. Therefore, accomplished lawyers are mapped across the globe, to create a pool of legal experts worldwide. We focus on countries where artists run a high risk of being submitted to censorship, intimidation, and arrest for their creative and expressive activities.

If you’re an artist fleeing persecution or censorship and would like to know if you qualify for assistance from Safe Passage Europe, contact us at contact@avantgardelawyers.org. Be assured that we respect your privacy and are committed to treating your information confidentially.

Training of lawyers

There can be no greater difference than between a judge and an artist and yet it is the duty of the judge to reconcile law with unconventional art. 
The way art is judged in a courtroom, shapes the way it is largely perceived and appreciated by the society. And yet, how informed are judges and lawyers in art theory and form? On what grounds do they speculate about artistic merit and motive?
“Art on trial” is a series of workshops for lawyers designed and delivered by the AGL Director. The next course takes place in March 2020 at the European Court of Human Rights. Read what former participants say here.

Read Andra’s article about the significance the European Court of Human Rights attaches to the protection of artistic expression and the ways in which its case-law regulates the dynamics between artistic freedom, public morals and “the feelings of others”

Would you be interested in an audience-specific course on freedom of artistic expression, designed and delivered by AGL? You are welcome to contact Andra andra.matei@avantgardelawyers.org.

Digital Lawyer

The “Digital Lawyer Project” is a joint initiative of AGL along with the Oslo University. Watch this space for more info soon.