Theatre & Human Rights 

We at TWB are artists, volunteers and concerned global citizens.

TWB remains officially neutral politically. We are not lawyers or doctors or politicians or administrators.

Our strength comes from our worldwide network of performing artists who form a web of hospitality and comradeship.

We can only offer our support as professional artists who want to help bring as much peace, justice, and safety to the global community of artists as we can.

As far as human rights and artist safety goes, we will do our best to connect you with resources of support if possible.

If you or someone you know is facing danger, we would be happy to listen and offer compassion and whatever assistance we can.

Because we are 100 percent volunteer this email will be checked once a week and someone will reach out within 24 hours of receipt of your message.

Please write to



ARC Artists at Risk Connection has the best -maintained database of ALL links related to artists at risk. ARC has been facilitating alliances of regional orgs and associations, e.g. for Latin America, Asia and MENA.


Safe Havens/Freedom Talks   

For the conferences and working groups and talks. Not for relocation.  


El Mawred has a programme for Arab artists called Stand for Art


EUProtect Defenders which is  a consortium of the main international NGOS based in or around Europe that aid human rights defenders globally.  is an initiative that was born out of a partnership between TWB and freeDimensional. This network of volunteer practitioners provide information and support resources for performing artists at risk. Artists Safety implements a working approach for everyone who strives to support artists in difficult and dangerous situations. Artists Safety includes both case management and an arts and human rights information portal, focusing on networks and activities at the intersection of the performing arts and human rights challenges.

The Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) is comprised of human rights activists, lawyers, academics, and artists working together to promote artistic freedom and peaceful dialogue through art. It was founded on the notion that artists are uniquely situated to positively and powerfully affect change, provided their voices can be heard. To that end, AFI directly assists artists whose freedom of expression has been restricted and supports artists who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing progressive social change and fundamental human rights. We work with immigrant artists to champion art produced in exile, advance creative cultural exchange, improve conditions for artists in their home countries, and safeguard their ability to express themselves creatively throughout the world. Our legal services, resettlement, and advocacy programs are designed with these specific goals in mind.

The Artist Protection Fund is a new program funded by the Mellon Foundation and administered by the IIE / Institute for International Education. The Artist Protection Fund (APF) is a three-year pilot program at the Institute of International Education. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, APF will make life-saving fellowship grants to threatened artists from any field of artistic endeavor, and place them at host universities and arts centers in safe countries where they can continue their work.

Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) was publicly launched in New York in October 2017. The Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) aims to safeguard the right to artistic freedom of expression around the world and to ensure that artists everywhere can live and work without fear. In its online collaborative platform, ARC encompasses more than 500 global organizations that provide resources for threatened artists. Through the hub, artists and organizations alike now have a clear, easily navigable website from which to network or seek further assistance. ARC offers a supportive environment, where artists can “connect,” fostering progress towards positive change in human rights. Resources available for threatened artists include: fellowships, emergency support, housing, training, and advocacy, among others. ARC is committed to improving resources for artists at risk, enhancing connections among supporters of artistic freedom, and raising awareness about artistic freedom Most importantly, if you know any artists in need of urgent support, please encourage them to fill out the encrypted form by clicking on “Connect with us” on ARC’s website.  

FREEMUSE – THE WORLD FORUM ON MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP is an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide.

Arab Cultural Policy Group
“Cultural Policy in The Arab Region” is an open platform for individuals and organisations working directly or indirectly to bring about positive change in cultural policy in their own countries and in the region in general. Artists, cultural managers, researchers, academics, cultural activists, and young students, as well as organisations, groups, syndicates, and unions are invited to upload their profiles onto this website to connect effectively with others working in the same field.

The Arterial Network (Africa)
The vision of Arterial Network is of a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable African creative civil society sector engaged in qualitative practice in the arts in their own right, as well as in a manner that contributes to development, human rights and democracy and to the eradication of poverty on the African continent. In 2016 Arterial Network released a free e-book compilation of poems, articles and works of fiction on the subject of freedom of creative expression in Africa, titled How Free Is FREE? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa. Featuring contributions from 25 authors from 14 African countries, the e-book has been produced as part of Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa project that aims to defend freedom of creative expression on the continent – and who better than the artists themselves to share their creative environment, their questions and their experiences.

Article 19 
We design and promote laws and policies that protect free expression, holding abusers and governments to account, and advocate for legal reforms. Through our legal and policy hot desk, we also respond to urgent requests from activists needing support and expert advice worldwide.

ARTSFEX is the first international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression as well as with issues relating to human rights and freedoms generally.

Administered and operated by FreeMuse, research and information for articles and news stories is frequently provided by the members of ARTSFEX – the global network in support of artistic freedom of expression. The website was originally created for The First World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression, ‘All That is Banned is Desired’, which took place in Oslo, Norway on 25-26 October 2012.

Arts Rights Justice Working Group  

The Arts Rights Justice EU Working Group is an independent cross-sector working group (arts and human rights) set up in 2012 under the framework of the civil society dialogue platform, “Access to Culture”.  ARJ members are representing around 30 EU and international associations, NGOs and networks from arts, free speech and human rights sectors. Since 2014, ARJ is working under the framework of Culture Action Europe, and is currently powered by CAE, and the volunteering work of its members and pro-bono experts. ARJ advocates for artistic freedom and human rights within the specific field of the arts sector. ARJ’s original mandate was to make policy recommendations to the EC and the EU Member States, and to highlight new trends pertinent to their policy making. Now, together with Culture Action Europe, the focus is to strengthen the capacity of the arts sector to know and defend their rights and the rights of individual artists, within the scope of international and EU-level treaties, EU accords with Third Countries and EU and Member States’ development activities. ARJ also has a strong history of collaborating with the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, supporting and feeding various reports and review processes. In short, ARJ aims to encourage greater understanding in public spheres of the interaction between the arts, culture and human rights in upholding democratic principles. We wish to improve compliance with human rights provisions relating to culture and freedom of expression.
ARJ is concerned that:
• participation in the arts, and freedom of artistic expression is an individual human right and a collective cultural right which, despite international treaties, is frequently denied or pressed, in the EU or in countries with which the EU has special relations;
• artistic freedom is not written into the law of most European countries while public and private force that aim at stifling free expression are on the rise, and that
• artists’ and culture workers’ human rights are increasingly abused in EU and EU partner countries, as artists respond to a world in which economic control and the paradigm of fear have come to dominate over humanistic values.
Please get in touch for inquiries, and questions, Lillian Fellmann,

International Arts Rights Advisors 

IARA is a collective of experts in the arts and human rights sphere. We offer consultation services and assistance globally on artistic freedom and artists’ protection both individually and as a group.  If needed we can connect you to regional and local experts.

International Committee for Artists Freedom (British Equity)
The International Committee for Artists’ Freedom (ICAF) was formed in 1978 by Equity.  ICAF was, and continues to be, made up of individuals representing all sectors of the performing arts and entertainment industries who, while offering a diversity of knowledge and experience, share the same commitment – to campaign on behalf of overseas artists facing oppression and emergency aid situations. Since its inception, ICAF has taken up the causes of artists and groups of artists from many countries all around the world who have faced either censorship, exile, persecution, imprisonment, torture or even death. Each case is assessed individually, impartially and apolitically and all decisions taken are based purely on professional and humanitarian considerations.


IETM is a network of over 500 performing arts organizations and individual members working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide: theatre, dance, circus, interdisciplinary live art forms, new media. Members include festivals, companies, producers, theatres, research and resource centers, universities and institutional bodies.IETM commissions publications and research projects, facilitates communication and distribution of information, and advocates for the value of performing arts. Lebanese Minister of Culture Raymond Araiji has announced his adoption of a legal project pertaining to freedom of speech in Lebanon, currently being drafted by members of the Arab Cultural Policy Group in Lebanon in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. The project promises to bring the law before the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and will attempt to ensure that the proposal is passed into law. Araiji’s announcement came as the culminating result of a series of meetings, shows, and sessions at an IETM meeting in , entitled “The International Campaign for Freedom of Expression”, October 6th and 10th October 2016.

International Performers Aid Trust (founded by the late-Alan Rickman) The International Performers’ Aid Trust is a charity created for the relief of poverty amongst people involved in the performing arts in distress in all parts of the world. Our decisions are made on professional and humanitarian principles, without political bias.

International Theatre Institute ACAR (based at ITI Germany contact Thomas Engel)
The ITI Action Committee for Artist Rights was formed at the 33rd World Congress of the International Theatre Institute in Xiamen, China, September 2011. The group will watch and make the international theatre community react to treats and violence against theatre people and severe restrictions to work with theatre activities, wherever it occurs in the world. ACAR is a member of the independent trans-sectoral working group Artists Rights Justice.

Human Rights Film Network

KARAMA Human Rights Film Festival: Amman, Jordan 

National Coalition Against Censorship 
NCAC‘s mission is to promote freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and oppose censorship in all its forms.

New Tactics in Human Rights   
Mary Ann DeVlieg’s experience spans international performing arts, cultural policy, intercultural practice, arts mobility and arts and human rights. After serving as Secretary General of IETM (international network for contemporary performing arts) from 1994 – 2013, she recently took up the role of Senior Strategy Advisor to freeDimensional, an organization that helps artists and culture workers who are threatened, harmed or imprisoned by linking them with a range of pro bono services.  Her other functions have included  serving as Chair of EU Working Group on Arts, Rights, Justice (2011- present), co-founding the International Coalition for Arts, Human Rights and Social Justice. Additionally, Ms. DeVlieg co-founded the Roberto Cimetta Fund for Mobility of Mediterranean Artists and Arts Organisers and founded On The Move for artists’ mobility; Steered the EU initiative, ‘Culture and Creation as Vectors of Development in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific’. Member: European Commission’s High Level Reflection Group on Youth Mobility; Received the EU’s ‘Individual Award’ for life-long services to artists’ mobility; Chaired the Japan Foundation’s PAJ Europe Fund (2006-2010); and chaired EU Working Group on Creativity and Creation (Access to Culture Platform), 2008- 2010.


With financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UNESCO is promoting freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom. UNESCO’s wider mission is promoting the “free flow of ideas by word and image” at the global level.- See more at this link.

World Summit of Arts & Culture
Politics, activism and the arts: how do we support advocacy for freedom of expression and cultural rights