Protecting the diversity of cultural expressions is more important than ever
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and magnified the creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Due to the complex nature of their work, artists and cultural professionals are particularly affected and lockdown measures around the world directly impact the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access. To protect and promote a diversity of cultural expressions in these challenging times, governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector have been quick to react with new policies and measures. This page intends to become a reference for those seeking to draw inspiration from best practices in the development of appropriate responses adapted to national contexts.
This platform is intended to be a collaborative and evolving instrument. We also invite stakeholders to inform us (firstname.lastname@example.org) of any errors or omissions, or to share information that will contribute to a better understanding of the listed policy or measure. We also invite representatives of government and civil society to share new measures with us to contribute to keeping alive this dynamic platform.
The crisis has accelerated the digitization and online consumption of cultural content, creating new and unprecedented challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions. Now, more than ever, the status of artists must be upheld, strengthened, and reinforced through legislative and material means. As decisions taken now are likely to shape our world for years to come, it is imperative to be strategic, drawing on principles from the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and the Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist (1980).
The vast majority of measures taken during the emergency have been designed to provide financial relief. Few policies or measures have addressed the underlying issue: the social and economic rights that artists and cultural professionals should enjoy, like so many other workers, including unemployment benefits, health insurance and social security.
This dynamic webpage also builds upon the 2005 Conventio’s Policy Monitoring Platform , currently featuring over 2000 policies and measures reported by States Parties to the 2005 Convention, that will be progressively enriched with additional reported measures that address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policies and measure listed on this dynamic page will be classified into three main categories:
- Direct support for artists and cultural professionals
- Support for sectors of the cultural and creative industries
- Strengthening the competitiveness of the cultural and creative industries
Drawing on these policies and measures, UNESCO published Culture in Crisis: Policy guide for a resilient creative sector in October 2020 to provide practical advice to help policymakers position the cultural and creative industries in social and economic recovery plans. This guide highlights emergency measures that have been deemed effective and beneficial, assesses emerging trends, identifies new and existing gaps and offers advice on how to respond to the most pressing needs and how to induce the structural changes needed to strengthen the resilience of the cultural and creative industries and prepare for the “new normal”.
It will be crucial for States that do not have policies to protect the social and economic rights of artists and cultural professionals to consider adopting appropriate measures, as advocated by the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist. For more information on the state of working conditions for artists, please consult our most recent publication Culture & working conditions for artists, and Freedom & Creativity: Defending art, defending diversity.
** The policies and measures identified on this page are a small sample of the various policies and measured adopted. The ideas and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization. All currency conversions are based on the daily U.N. exchange rate at time of publishing.