AGL puts forward the idea of an Art Law Forum, a yearly interdisciplinary gathering bringing together artists and art-concerned, human rights lawyers, academics and lawyers in general, to collectively discuss how the law can be used to protect and expand the space for artistic expression by challenging the status quo. The Forum will be convening in Venice at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in 2019. It will comprise several working groups which will map the next steps and new strategies to defend artistic freedom in courtrooms and formulate a number of concrete plans in this regard.
The idea of the Forum grew out of our work experience as lawyers in the art field and the realization of disconnect and false divide that exist between artists and lawyers, lato sensu. The Forum intends to end this divide by clearly communicating that while the law is often used to justify the restriction and regulation of creative endeavors, it can also be viewed as a mechanism for protecting artists and strengthening the arts as well as freedom of artistic expression.
The novelty of this project lies precisely in its attempt to find a common language, a congruent space where those from the legal and artistic fields can meet, collaborate and exchange their first-hand knowledge, expertise and individual experiences. Today’s art is confined not only to museums. To the contrary, it increasingly co-exists in the public space, becoming a genuine common good accessible to all. Yet, this shift is not adequately recognized in the existing legal frameworks, which makes the Forum a particularly timely event.
The Forum’s purpose is twofold. On the one hand, it intends to translate the law for the art-concerned, i.e. to make it more transparent and accessible to artists. As such, by inviting artists to the discussion table, the Forum’spurpose is to “democratize” the legal processes relating to art. On the other hand, it aims at making art more accessible to those working with the law; thus, encouraging judges, lawmakers and legal researchers to look at art from a different perspective: that of the artist.
Finally, last but not least, designed as an informative as well as practical and thought-provoking event, the Forum intends to raise awareness of the importance of a common shared space for the arts and the law among its participants, and beyond.
Our partners for the 2019 Forum are Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University, Artists at Risk Connection, a project of PEN America, Oslo University and the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation.