UNESCO launches global consultation on the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist

Artists and cultural professionals are at the very heart of the cultural and creative industries. They innovate, challenge norms, inspire and entertain through their creative expressions, which are essential for inclusive and prosperous societies. Nurturing and retaining creative talent is crucial to the development of the creative economy and requires integrated policies and regulatory frameworks that ensure decent working conditions, fair remuneration and training opportunities for artists and cultural professionals.

The vigour and vitality of the arts depend, inter alia, on the well-being of artists both individually and collectively

The 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist


The Recommendation recognises the important role of national authorities, cultural institutions and organisations in protecting the freedom of artistic expression, providing the material conditions to support creative talent and safeguard the ability of artists to fully exercise their profession with dignity. It encourages Member States to implement specific measures and take legislative steps to improve the status of the artist and foster their participation in contributing to socio-economic development.

In the framework of the fifth global consultation on the implementation of the 1980 Recommendation, UNESCO has launched an online questionnaire to gather the latest information regarding measures taken in each Member State to implement the 1980 Recommendation and to translate its principles into concrete measures. Eight thematic areas are covered: (1) legal and regulatory frameworks, (2) fair remuneration and access to financing, (3) social and economic rights, (4) the digital environment, (5) preferential treatment, (6) artistic freedom, (7) equality, inclusion, and diversity, (8) responses to COVID-19.

UNESCO invites Member States as well as relevant NGOs and INGOs to participate in this monitoring exercise which will provide an updated diagnostic on the status of the artist at the national, regional and international levels. By evaluating the progress that has been made and identifying persistent challenges and emerging opportunities, each contribution will help inform policies and initiatives to strengthen the culture sector and support the work of artists and cultural professionals worldwide.

Four decades after its adoption, the Recommendation is extremely relevant today, particularly in light of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the pre-existing precariousness of working conditions among artists and cultural professionals.

Imagine what the world would miss if there were no artists, actors, musicians, or painters, no comedy, cartoons, or satire. How can we shape new narratives, explore new ideas and discover new perspectives if those who dare to express themselves differently are suppressed? Without the freedom to create, we cannot ensure that diverse expressions are heard, seen, enjoyed, and appreciated by all. Creativity nurtures diversity.

Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Re|shaping policies for creativity: Addressing culture as a global public good, UNESCO (2022).


The questionnaire can be accessed at the following links:

  • UNESCO Member States EN / FR
  • Non-Governmental Organisations EN / FR
  • International Non-Governmental Organisations EN / FR

A number of useful resources are available to assist the completion of this questionnaire which include:

  • A User’s Guide in English and in French that provides technical instructions to access the online questionnaire, guidelines for completing the questionnaire, a glossary of key terms as well as a list of publications and other useful resources.
  • The text of the 1980 Recommendation is now available in a reader-friendly format in English, French and Spanish.
  • PDF or Word versions of the questionnaire are available upon request by sending an email to status.artist@unesco.org
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