The Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) has launched a new resource website where artists and other cultural professionals can stay up to date on its latest activities, which include research, capacity building, lobbying, and advocacy for the advancement of artistic rights.
The website, which is available at www.panaf.org, is a digital platform for African artists to participate in social-political discussions without fear of repression as well as to network and exchange ideas. PANAF will also use the platform to share information, including violations of artistic rights, and to promote socially conscious artists and content that is unlikely to be supported by mainstream media.
The website has a user-friendly browsing experience and includes five key sections:
- The About section, which provides a summary of the PANAF project and its partners.
- The Project section, which contains detailed information about activities and publications that have been carried out in all of the focus countries. This section will also support studies and research from other organisations with a similar interest in the subject matter.
- The Chatroom section , which is a space for creatives to hold discussions about artistic rights, good governance, and other social political issues without fear of being profiled..
- The In-focus section, which features interviews with artists on topics ranging from their work to the state of affairs in their respective countries.
- The Membership section, which through free registration, will grow into a pan-African network of artists, civil society organisations and culture producers across all art forms and organisations. More information is available on the “Join” page.
“The network that we are building through membership is a solidarity movement that is much needed on the continent – once we have strong membership on the platform from the national level, it will be very easy to mobilise lobbying and advocacy campaigns,” Selam founder and executive director Teshome Wondimu said.
Adding that: “The network may appear to be a simple act of solidarity however, the impact can be enormous. We are confident that we can take this lobbying to the regional level, and that in the future, any artist who becomes a victim will not have to fight for their rights alone, thanks to the network.”
PANAF was unveiled in November 2021 by Selam with the support of the Swedish Arts Council in response to the need of an active and inclusive regional voice in the creative sector that could raise awareness of incidents of artistic freedom violations and collaborate with artistic rights advocates in regional and national advocacy efforts. The project is being implemented with the help of partner organisations working in the culture and civil society space from Nigeria, Gambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia, with plans to expand to more countries and regions in the future.