Call for projects “UNESCO-Aschberg programme for artists and cultural professionals” - CLOSED

Unlocking creative futures for all

Deadline for submission: 28 February 2023 (CLOSED)

Please note that due to the unprecedented number of applications received in response to the Call for projects under the “UNESCO-Aschberg programme for artists and cultural professionals”, the announcement of the results has been postponed to early May. All applicants will be informed of the results by e-mail. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with funding from the Kingdom of Norway, launches a call open to governments and public institutions of UNESCO Member States, as well as to civil society organizations, to support initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting artistic freedom, including the status of the artist.


The cultural and creative industries are major drivers of social and economic development. The creative sector contributes significantly to the global economy, representing 3.1% of global GDP and 6.2% of all employment. However, as was highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis, artists and cultural professionals often work in particularly precarious conditions. This is mainly due to the lack of an enabling legal environment that recognizes them as professionals and that protects and fosters their work in order to enable them to live off their creativity and deploy their potential to contribute to development processes and the economy.

In this context, UNESCO has launched several crisis responses in support of artists and cultural professionals. Based on broad stakeholder consultations, including recommendations from the ResiliArt movement, UNESCO has recalibrated the scope of implementation of its UNESCO-Aschberg programme for artists and cultural professionals to meet the needs expressed by governments, artists, cultural professionals and civil society organizations in accordance with the objectives of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as well as the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist.


This call for projects of the UNESCO-Aschberg programme aims to support initiatives by governments and civil society organizations whose objective is to protect and promote artistic freedom, including the status of the artist in the broad sense, that is to say:

  • the right to have artistic work supported, distributed, and remunerated
  • artists’ right to freedom of movement
  • artists’ right to freedom of association
  • the protection of the social and economic rights of artists
  • the right to participate in cultural life
  • the right to create without censorship

More specifically, this call for projects includes two tracks:

  • Track 1, open to governments and public institutions: technical assistance aimed at revising or designing new regulatory frameworks (laws, policies, measures, etc.) that protect and promote artistic freedom, including the status of the artist and cultural professionals.
  • Track 2, open to civil society organizations: financial assistance in the implementation of innovative projects aimed at advancing the issue of artistic freedom, including the status of the artist at the local, national, regional or international level. (e.g. capacity building, advocacy, monitoring and research activities, etc.).

To find out more about each of the two tracks, including the eligibility criteria, please read the call document carefully.

Application and selection process

In order to submit a project proposal, applicants should:

  1. Carefully read the call for projects to understand its terms.
  2. Download the appropriate electronic application form depending on your status (governments/public institutions or civil society organizations; the form is downloadable in the "Documents" section, at the top right-hand corner of this page). If you encounter difficulties in downloading the electronic application form, please contact the UNESCO Secretariat at the following address:
  3. Complete the application form in English OR French.
  4. Attach the requested supporting documents.
  5. Sign and date the form.
  6. Send the completed form by e-mail to The UNESCO Secretariat will confirm receipt of proposals by e-mail. All applicants will be informed within two months whether their application has been approved or not.

An independent panel of experts will evaluate applications and make a recommendation to UNESCO which will decide upon successful candidates, considering the eligibility and selection criteria outlined in the call document.

For more information, please contact:

The UNESCO-Aschberg programme is currently supported by the generous voluntary contribution of the Kingdom of Norway.

“Norway defends the right to express opinions and ideas through the arts and supports cooperation between international and local organizations working to promote freedom of artistic expression and cultural rights.”

Ms Wera Helstrøm, Senior adviser, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs