1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist

The 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist calls upon Member States to improve the professional, social and economic status of artists through the implementation of policies and measures related to training, social security, employment, income and tax conditions, mobility and freedom of expression. It also recognizes the right of artists to be organized in trade unions or professional organisations that can represent and defend the interests of their members.

The Recommendation was adopted by UNESCO General Conference at its twenty-first session in 1980. At the time, the need to understand and strengthen the role of the “creative worker” was already recognized by Member States as well as the need to improve the status of such workers considering both he particular conditions of their profession and their contribution to development. Decades later, the Recommendation remains as relevant today as in 1980 considering the remaining challenges worldwide in the area of social and economic rights and the impact of digital technology on the work of artists.


A monitoring mechanism

Reporting on the action taken upon UNESCO’s recommendations is one of its Member States’ obligations under Article VIII of UNESCO’s Constitution. Every four years, the Secretariat therefore collects from Member States and National Commissions and from the various partners of the Organization such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), information on the implementation of the Recommendation. The Secretariat prepares a report based on the information collected for the attention of the Executive Board, which in turn submits it to the General Conference, in accordance with the specific multi-stage procedure for the monitoring of the implementation of UNESCO conventions and recommendations for which no specific institutional mechanism is provided.

With the adoption of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, a new impetus was given to the 1980 Recommendation. By recognizing the central role of artists in the creation and production of a diversity of cultural expressions, the Convention provides a new normative framework for the implementation and monitoring of the Recommendation.

In the spring of 2018, a new consultation on actions taken to implement the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist will be launched with Member States and relevant civil society organizations. In an effort to strengthen synergies between the 1980 Recommendation and the 2005 Convention, the consultation will focus on the most relevant monitoring areas of the Convention for assessing to what extent Member States are translating the principles of the Recommendation into policies and measures that enable artists to participate fully in the development of their societies: governance for culture in the digital environment; preferential treatment (transnational mobility of artists and flow of artistic works) and human rights and fundamental freedoms (social and economic rights, artistic freedom and gender).

Third consultation (2015)

Application of the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist :

Consolidated report on the implementation of the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist :

Second consultation (2011)

Application of the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist :

Consolidated report on the implementation of the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist :

  • Report of the Legal Committee of the 36th session of the General Conference (36 C/80)
  • Report submitted to the 36th session of the General Conference (36 C/57)
  • 36 C/Resolution 103

First consultation (1983)