Art and artists have a unique ability to challenge majoritarian norms, encourage public debate and strengthen democratic institutions. Because of this – artists are often persecuted, censored, intimidated, harassed and prosecuted for exercising their human rights. Across the world, artists are facing a growing clampdown on their rights and civil liberties. In 2020, 978 violations of artistic freedom were documented by Freemuse [State of Artistic Freedom 2021, Freemuse], an increase as compared to previous years. These incidents have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as political upheaval and crises in different parts of the world, such as the crises in Afghanistan in 2021 and the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022. Artists without legal protection are often exposed to situations of risks, which may also have humanitarian consequences on them and their families. This may deprive them of their right to live in a safe space and expose them to situations of violence or torture, severely impacting their physical and mental health as well as their right to a dignified life.

‘The ‘Art’ of Defending Artists’ is an online course that seeks to build capacity amongst key stakeholders in the domain of artistic freedom, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and tools to competently engage with international and regional mechanisms in order to defend artists. The experts will guide participants in developing practice-based strategies and skills in order to effectively defend artists-at-risk and provide robust legal assistance to ensure the realisation of their rights. 

The online sessions will be led by international experts with significant practical experience of working within the international and regional mechanisms and include senior staff from regional courts, senior staff from the UN as well as independent experts. The course will focus on theoretical as well as practical learning, through the delivery of presentations, group exercises and discussions, encouraging self-directed reading as well as analysis of case studies. A reading list will be shared with the participants

The sessions will take place on zoom, and it is recommended that participants have access to a high speed internet connection.


Navigate international mechanisms and regional bodies and design litigation strategies for artists at risk. Gain a deeper understanding of procedural specificities of international mechanisms and regional bodies. Use legal and advocacy based tools to successfully defend artists in situations of increased vulnerability. 

We welcome individuals who have previously collaborated with AGL to access the course free-of-cost! Please fill in the form below to register yourself for the course.


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Q. What is the language of instruction?

The course shall be taught in English.


Q. I am still a student, can I apply for this course?

We welcome applications from students interested in learning more about artistic freedom. Students who have taken up coursework in human rights, political science, international relations, law or related fields are encouraged to apply. 


Q. Will there be an examination at the end of the course?

There will not be an examination at the end of the course. Participants will be expected to complete exercises shared by the experts of each individual session. Participants shall receive a Certificate of Completion and a Transcript of Records at the end of the course.


Q. Are the preliminary readings for the course mandatory?

Participants are strongly encouraged to peruse the readings recommended for the sessions as they will help them in participating in the discussions. 


Q. Do I need to keep my camera on for the duration of the course?

While it is not mandatory for participants to keep their camera on during the sessions, it is highly encouraged.