The report, entitled “Empowering Creativity: Implementing the UNESCO 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist; 5th global consultation”, presents an overview of artists’ living and working conditions, good practices and recommendations from across regions. UNESCO is also unveiling a practical tool, Methodological Guide for the Participatory Development of a Law on the Status of the Artist, which is the result of a collaboration with the International Labour Organization.
The comprehensive analytical report is based on findings of the Fifth Global Consultation on the implementation of the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, a legal instrument focused on improving the rights of artists, along with other relevant sources of information. The global survey was carried out between July 2022 and January 2023 and gathered responses from 68 UNESCO Member States, 55 NGOs and 17 INGOs. This report also builds on a consolidated report on the implementation of this Recommendation which was examined by Member States on the occasion of UNESCO’s 42nd General Conference, a biennial meeting of representatives of countries, stakeholders and experts.
The results show that several countries have taken important steps in the last four years to bolster the professional, economic, and social rights of artists and cultural professionals. Among the respondents, 46 Member States stated that they have specific law or regulation entirely dedicated to the status of the artist. 93% of respondent Member States have adopted laws and regulations that do not specifically target artists, but which have an impact on their professional, economic, and social status. From labour and intellectual property laws to pension regulations and tax incentives, significant progress has been made. By sharing good practices from around the world, the report illustrates how, over four decades since adopted, the provisions of the 1980 Recommendation can translate into effective policies, inspiring meaningful change.
However, there is a need for more encompassing, “omnibus” laws supporting the status of the artist, as well as enforcement of the legal instruments that are in place. The increased precarity of those working in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) is compounded by the lack of comprehensive data needed to enhance support for them. The persisting threats from censorship and direct attacks to more subtle attempts at silencing artists, make it imperative to upscale efforts to guarantee artistic freedom. Faced with the accelerating digital transformation, many governments have yet to take effective action supporting professionals in the CCIs to navigate unprecedented opportunities and protecting them from increased risks. The report therefore contributes to better responding to these identified challenges faced by artists and cultural professionals.
Further to this report, the newly launched practical tool Methodological Guide for the Participatory Development of a Law on the Status of the Artist provides a roadmap for the elaboration of a legal framework through wide stakeholder participation. This document guides policymakers on suggested preliminary work, the development of effective and relevant legal solutions based on inclusive and informed dialogue, awareness-raising and training and impact assessment.
These resources aim to pave the way for an enhanced implementation of the 1980 Recommendation through stronger legal and regulatory frameworks, expanded employment and social security access, and improved opportunities for artists from all backgrounds. Their production was supported under the UNESCO-Aschberg Programme for Artists and Cultural Professionals, which is funded by the generous voluntary contribution of the Kingdom of Norway.