Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist
The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, meeting in Belgrade from 23 September to 28 October 1980 at its twenty-first session,
Recalling that, under the terms of Article I of its Constitution, the purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or relation, by the Charter of the United Nations,
Recalling the terms of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, particularly its Articles 6 and 15, quoted in the annex to this Recommendation, and the need to adopt the necessary measures for the preservation, development and dissemination of culture, with a view to ensuring the full exercise of these rights,
Recalling the Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its fourteenth session, particularly its Articles III and IV, which are quoted in the annex to this Recommendation, as well as the Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to it, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its nineteenth session,
Recognizing that the arts in their fullest and broadest definition are and should be an integral part of life and that it is necessary and appropriate for governments to help create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of artistic expression but also the material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent,
Recognizing that every artist is entitled to benefit effectively from the social security and insurance provisions contained in the basic texts, Declarations, Covenant and Recommendation mentioned above,
Considering that the artist plays an important role in the life and evolution of society and that he should be given the opportunity to contribute to society's development and, as any other citizen, to exercise his responsibilities therein, while preserving his creative inspiration and freedom of expression,
Further recognizing that the cultural, technological, economic, social and political development of society influences the status of the artist and that it is consequently necessary to review his status, taking account of social progress in the world,
Affirming the right of the artist to be considered, if he so wishes, as a person actively engaged in cultural work and consequently to benefit, taking account of the particular conditions of his artistic profession, from all the legal, social and economic advantages pertaining to the status of workers,
Affirming further the need to improve the social security, labour and tax conditions of the artist, whether employed or self-employed, taking into account the contribution to cultural development which the artist makes,
Recalling the importance, universally acknowledged both nationally and internationally, of the preservation and promotion of cultural identity and of the role in this field of artists who perpetuate the practice of traditional arts and also interpret a nation's folklore,
Recognizing that the vigour and vitality of the arts depend, inter alia, on the well-being of artists both individually and collectively,
Recalling the conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which have recognized the rights of workers in general and, hence, the rights of artists and, in particular, the conventions and recommendations listed in the appendix to this Recommendation,
Taking note, however, that some of the International Labour Organization standards allow for derogations or even expressly exclude artists, or certain categories of them, owing to the special conditions in which artistic activity takes place, and that it is consequently necessary to extend their field of application and to supplement them by other standards,
Considering further that this recognition of their status as persons actively engaged in cultural work should in no way compromise their freedom of creativity, expression and communication but should, on the contrary, confirm their dignity and integrity,
Convinced that action by the public authorities is becoming necessary and urgent in order to remedy the disquieting situation of artists in a large number of Member States, particularly with regard to human rights, economic and social circumstances and their conditions of employment, with a view to providing artists with the conditions necessary for the development and flowering of their talents and appropriate to the role that they are able to play in the planning and implementation of cultural policies and cultural development activities of communities and countries and in the improvement of the quality of life,
Considering that art plays an important part in education and that artists, by their works, may influence the conception of the world held by all people, and particularly by youth,
Considering that artists must be able collectively to consider and, if necessary, defend their common interests, and therefore must have the right to be recognized as a professional category and to constitute trade union or professional organizations,
Considering that the development of the arts, the esteem in which they are held and the promotion of arts education depend in large measure on the creativity of artists,
Aware of the complex nature of artistic activity and of the diverse forms it takes and, in particular, of the importance, for the living conditions and the development of the talents of artists, of the protection of their moral and material rights in their works, or performances, or the use made of them, and of the need to extend and reinforce such protection,
Considering the need to endeavour to take account as far as possible of the opinion both of artists and of the people at large in the formulation and implementation of cultural policies and for that purpose to provide them with the means for effective action,
Considering that contemporary artistic expression is presented in public places and that these should be laid out so as to take account of the opinions of the artists concerned, therefore that there should be close co-operation between architects, contractors and artists in order to lay down aesthetic guidelines for public places which will respond to the requirements of communication and make an effective contribution to the establishment of new and meaningful relationships between the public and its environment,
Taking into account the diversity of circumstances of artists in different countries and within the communities in which they are expected to develop their talents, and the varying significance attributed to their works by the societies in which they are produced,
Convinced, nevertheless, that despite such differences, questions of similar concern arise in all countries with regard to the status of the artist, and that a common will and inspiration are called for if a solution is to be found and if the status of the artist is to be improved, which is the intention of this Recommendation,
Taking note of the provisions of the international conventions in force relating, more particularly, to literary and artistic property, and in particular of the Universal Convention and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and of those relating to the protection of the rights of performers, of the resolutions of the General Conference, of the recommendations made by UNESCO's intergovernmental conferences on cultural policies, and of the conventions and recommendations adopted by the International Labour Organization, listed in the appendix to this Recommendation,
Having before it, as item 31 of the agenda of the session, proposals concerning the status of the artist,
Having decided, at its twentieth session, that this question should be the subject of a recommendation to Member States,
Adopts this Recommendation this twenty-seventh day of October 1980:
The General Conference recommends that Member States implement the following provisions, taking whatever legislative or other steps may be required - in conformity with the constitutional practice of each State and the nature of the questions under consideration to apply the principles and norms set forth in this Recommendation within their respective territories.
For those States which have a federal or non-unitary constitutional system, the General Conference recommends that, with regard to the provisions of this Recommendation the implementation of which comes under the legal jurisdiction of individual constituent States, countries, provinces, cantons or any other territorial and political subdivisions that are not obliged by the constitutional system of the federation to take legislative measures, the federal government be invited to inform the competent authorities of such States, countries, provinces or cantons of the said provisions, with its recommendation for their adoption.
The General Conference recommends that Member States bring this Recommendation to the attention of authorities, institutions and organizations in a position to contribute to improvement of the status of the artist and to foster the participation of artists in cultural life and development.
The General Conference recommends that Member States report to it, on dates and in a manner to be determined by it, on the action they have taken to give effect to this Recommendation.
For the purposes of this Recommendation:
1. `Artist' is taken to mean any person who creates or gives creative expression to, or re-creates works of art, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be recognized as an artist, whether or not he is bound by any relations of employment or association.
2. The world `status' signifies, on the one, hand, the regard accorded to artists, defined as above, in a society, on the basis of the importance attributed to the part they are called upon to play therein and, on the other hand, recognition of the liberties and rights, including moral, economic and social rights, with particular reference to income and social security, which artists should enjoy.
II. Scope of application
This Recommendation applies to all artists as defined in paragraph 1.1, irrespective of the discipline or form of art practiced by such artists. These include inter alia all creative artists and authors within the meaning of the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, as well as performers and interpreters within the meaning of the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations.
III. Guiding principles
1. Member States, recognizing that art reflects, preserves and enriches the cultural identity and spiritual heritage of the various societies, constitutes a universal form of expression and communication and, as a common denominator in ethnic, cultural or religious differences, brings home to everyone the sense of belonging to the human community, should accordingly, and for these purposes, ensure that the population as a whole has access to art.
2. Member States should encourage all activities designed to highlight the action of artists for cultural development, including in particular 'activities carried out by the mass media and the educational system, and for the employment of leisure for cultural purposes.
3. Member States, recognizing the essential role of art in the life and development of the individual and of society, accordingly have a duty to protect, defend and assist artists and their freedom of creation. For this purpose, they should take all necessary steps to stimulate artistic creativity and the flowering of talent, in particular by adopting measures to secure greater freedom for artists, without which they cannot fulfill their mission, and to improve their status by acknowledging their right to enjoy the fruits of their work. Member States should endeavour by all appropriate means to secure increased participation by artists in decisions concerning the quality of life. By all means at their disposal, Member States should demonstrate and confirm that artistic activities have a part to play in the nations' global development effort to build a juster and more humane society and to live together in circumstances of peace and spiritual enrichment.
4. Member States should ensure, through appropriate legislative means when necessary, that artists have the freedom and the right to establish trade unions and professional organizations of their choosing and to become members of such organizations, if they so wish, and should make it possible for organizations representing artists to participate in the formulation of cultural policies and employment policies, including the professional training of artists, and in the determination of artists' conditions of work.
5. At all appropriate levels of national planning, in general, 'and of planning in the cultural field, in particular, Member States should make arrangements, by close co-ordination of their policies relating to culture, education and employment among other things, to define a policy for providing assistance and material and moral support for artists and should ensure that public opinion is informed of the justification and the need for such a policy. To that end, education should place due emphasis on the encouragement of artistic awareness, so as to create a public capable of appreciating the work of the artist. Without prejudice to the rights that should be accorded to them under copyright legislation, including resale rights (droit de suite) when this is not part of copyright, and under neighboring rights legislation, artists should enjoy equitable conditions and their profession should be given the public consideration that it merits. Their conditions of work and of employment should be such as to provide opportunities for artists who so wish to devote themselves fully to their artistic activities.
6. Since freedom of expression and communication is the essential prerequisite for all artistic activities, Member States should see that artists are unequivocally accorded the protection provided for in this respect by international and national legislation concerning human rights.
7. In view of the role of artistic activity and creation in the cultural and overall development of nations, Member States should create conditions enabling artists fully to participate, either individually or through their associations or trade unions, in the life of the communities in which they practice their art. They should associate them in the formulation of local and national cultural policies, thus stressing their important contribution in their own society as well as towards world progress in general.
8. Member States should ensure that all individuals, irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status or birth, have the same opportunities to acquire and develop the skills necessary for the complete development and exercise of their artistic talents, to obtain employment, and to exercise their profession without discrimination.
IV. The vocation and training of the artist
1. Member States should encourage, at school and from an early age, all measures tending to strengthen respect for artistic creation and the discovery and development of artistic vocations, and should bear in mind that, if it is to be effective, the stimulation of artistic creativity calls for provision of the necessary professional training of talent to produce works of outstanding quality. For this purpose, Member States should:
2. As far as possible and without prejudice to the freedom and independence of both artists and educators, Member States should undertake and support initiatives to ensure that artists, during their training, are made aware of their community's cultural identity, including traditional and folk cultures, thereby contributing to the affirmation or revival of that identity and those cultures.
V. Social status
Member States should promote and protect the status of artists by considering artistic activity, including innovation and research, as a service to the community. They should make it possible for them to enjoy the esteem necessary for the full development of their work and provide the economic safeguards to which artists are entitled as people actively engaged in cultural work. Member States should :
1. Grant artists public recognition in the form best suited to their respective cultural environments and establish a system, where it does not already exist or is inadequately designed, to give artists the prestige to which they are entitled.
2. See that the artist benefits from the rights and protection provided for in international and national legislation relating to human 'rights.
3. Endeavour to take the necessary steps to see that artists enjoy the same rights as are conferred on a comparable group of the active population by national and international legislation in respect of employment and living and working conditions, and see that self-employed artists enjoy, within reasonable limits, protection as regards income and social security.
4. Recognize the importance of international protection of the rights of artists under the terms of existing conventions and in particular of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, and take all necessary steps to extend the field of application, scope and effectiveness of those instruments, particularly - in the case of Member States which have not already done so - by considering the possibility of adhering to them.
5. Recognize the right of trade union and professional organizations of artists to represent and defend the interests of their members and give them the opportunity to advise the public authorities on suitable measures for stimulating artistic activity and ensuring its protection and development.
VI. Employment, working and living conditions of the artist; professional and trade union organizations
1. Being aware of the need to improve the social recognition of artists by according them the moral and material support required to remedy their difficulties, Member States are invited to:
2. Within the context of a general policy to encourage artistic creativity, cultural development and the promotion and improvement of conditions of employment, Member States are invited, wherever possible, practical and in the interest of the artist, to :
3. With the object of giving specific consideration to the child artist, Member States are invited to take account of the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
4. Recognizing the part played by professional and trade union organizations in the protection of employment and working conditions, Member States are invited to take appropriate steps to:
5. Member States are invited to endeavour within their respective cultural environments to provide the same social protection for employed and self-employed artists as that usually granted respectively to other employed and self-employed groups. Provision should likewise be made for measures to extend appropriate social protection to dependent members of the family. The social security system which Member States may find it well to adopt, improve or supplement should take into consideration the special features of artistic activity, characterized by the intermittent nature of employment and the sharp variations in the incomes of many artists without, however, this entailing a limitation of the artist's freedom to create, publish and disseminate his work. In this context, Member States are invited to consider the adoption of special means of financing social security for artists, for example by resorting to new forms of financial participation either by the public authorities or by the business undertakings which market or which use the services or works of artists.
6. Recognizing in general that national and international legislation concerning the status of artists is lagging behind the general advances in technology, the development of the media of mass communication, the means of mechanical reproduction of works of art and of performances, the education of the public, and the decisive part played by the cultural industries, Member States are invited to take, wherever necessary, appropriate measures to:
8. In view of the growing importance of international exchanges of works of art, and contacts between artists, and the need to encourage, them, Member States separately or collectively, without prejudice to the development of national cultures, are invited to :
VII. Cultural policies and participation
Member States should endeavour, in accordance with paragraphs 111.7 and V.5 of this Recommendation, to take appropriate measures to have the opinions of artists and the professional and trade union organizations representing them, as well as of the people at large, in the spirit of UNESCO's Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural life and their Contribution to It, taken carefully into account in the formulation and execution of their cultural policies. To this end, they are invited to make the necessary arrangements for artists and their organizations to participate in discussions, decision-making processes and the subsequent implementation of measures aimed, inter alia, at:
VIII. Utilization and implementation of this Recommendation
1. Member States should strive to extend and supplement their own action in respect of the status of the artist by co-operating with all the national or international organizations whose activities are related to the objectives of this Recommendation, in particular with National Commissions for UNESCO, national and international artists' organizations, the International Labour Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
2. Member States should, by the most appropriate means, support the work of the above-mentioned bodies representing artists and enlist their professional co-operation to enable artists to benefit from the provisions set forth in this Recommendation and to obtain recognition of the status described herein.
IX. Existing advantages
Where artists enjoy, in certain respects, a status which is more favourable than that provided for in this Recommendation, its terms shall not in any case be invoked to diminish the advantages already acquired or directly or indirectly to affect them.
A. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right tosocial security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has theright to equal pay for equal work.
3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
B. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.
2. The steps to be taken by a State Party to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:
2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.
C. Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation
International cultural co-operation shall cover all aspects of intellectual and creative activities relating to education, science and culture.
The aims of international cultural co-operation in its various forms, bilateral or multilateral, regional or universal, shall be:
1. To spread knowledge, to stimulate talent and to enrich cultures;
2. To develop peaceful relations and friendship among the peoples and bring about a better understanding of each other's way of life;
3. To contribute to the application of the principles set out in the United Nations Declarations that are recalled in the Preamble to this Declaration;
4. To enable everyone to have access to knowledge, to enjoy the arts and literature of all peoples, to share in advances made in science in all parts of the world and in the resulting benefits, and to contribute to the enrichment of cultural life;
5. To raise the level of the spiritual and material life of man in all parts of the world.
Appendix. International instruments and other texts concerning workers in general or artists in particular
A. Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to It, adopted by the General Conference at its nineteenth session (Nairobi, 26 November 1976)
B. United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (United Nations, New York, 16 December 1966)
C. United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child(United Nations, New York, 20 November 1959)
D. Conventions and Recommendations adopted by the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organisation
1. Instruments applicable to all workers, including artists:
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention (No. 87), 1948;
Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98), 1949;
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. Ill), 1958.
2. 'Instruments on social security with a general application but allowing States to limit their scope of application:
Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (No. 102), 1952;
Maternity Protection Convention (Revised) (No. 103), 1952;
Equality of Treatment (Social Security) Convention (No. 118), 1962;
Employment Injury Benefits Convention (No. 121), 1964;
Invalidity, Old-Age and Survivors' Benefits Convention (No. 128), 1967;
Medical Care and Sickness Benefits Convention (No. 130), 1969.
3. Instruments applicable to employed workers in general, or to certain sectors or categories of workers, and applicable in principle to employed artists (subject in certain cases to a limitation of the scope of the Convention by a State at the time of ratification):
E. International Labour Organisation/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization/World Intellectual Property Organization
The International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961).
The Model Law on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1974).
Recommendation concerning the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, adopted by the Intergovernmental Committee of the Rome Convention at its seventh session (1979)
F. Copyright Conventions administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Property Organization
Universal Copyright Convention (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (1952, revised in 1971).
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (World Intellectual Property Organization) (1971).