ArtistSafety.net is a hybrid consultancy and volunteer network that provides case management for artists and culture workers at risk due to their work, as well as information services to projects and organisations in the arts, free expression, journalism, and human rights fields. While utilizing the freeDimensional methodology, resource and knowledge bases developed over ten years of direct service and advocacy, ArtistSafety.net acknowledges that no single organization can adequately respond to the high volume of cases that continually emerge. As such Artistsafety.net employs a horizontal, rhizomatic approach to harnessing the existing resources and expertise of partner networks and organizations – locally, regionally and internationally – creating a volunteer-based, professional system of peer advocacy and emergency response, thereby increasing the efficacy of support for individuals at risk and, ultimately, maximizing their impact as catalysts for social change.
ArtsEverywhere, the artistic thought, process and news platform has supported the building of ArtistSafety.net, a website for showing and sharing prototypical learning from the aforementioned process. ArtsEverywhere has a dedicated channel on Artist Rights to consider the critical roles artists play in society in relation to their mobility, free expression, safety and labor conditions. It includes articles, discussions, and examples of fieldwork at the intersection of arts, journalism, and human rights derived from ArtistSafety.net.
WHO WE ARE:
Nicolle Bennett is an administrator, educator, consultant and artist with over 10 years of experience building capacity with arts, health, and educational organizations and those they serve. A former health educator and trainer with the National Cancer Institute, she works as Program Director for Feel the Music!, a New York City-based organization that connects teaching artists with hospitals, non-profits, and other community-based partners, and consults with a variety of organizations to build technical and communicative capacity. Nicolle completed her cross-disciplinary graduate studies at the Gallatin School at New York University, where she focused on arts, technology and philanthropy in facilitating community and policy change. A former National Art Strategies Creative Communities Fellow and natural connector, she is passionate about creating opportunities for co-creation and collaboration.
Sidd Joag is a New York based visual artist, journalist and community organizer, who has worked in the fields of arts and culture, social justice and human rights for 15 years. From 2011-2015, Sidd worked with freeDimensional, developing programs globally to support artists, culture workers and communicators facing persecution for their work. Prior to his work with fD, Sidd ran community arts projects in India and China, focusing on development, displacement, HIV/AIDS, drug and human trafficking and ethnic minority cultural preservation. Presently, he is a program consultant for the National Coalition Against Censorship, researching controversy and censorship and a consultant for ArtistSafety.net. Sidd has a B.A. in Sociology from New York University, an M.Sc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia University – School of Journalism in 2016. Sidd was a Rockwood Leadership Fellow in 2012 and Creative Change Fellow in 2013. His paintings, installations and experimental films have been seen in the U.S., Canada, India, China, the Philippines, Northern Ireland, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Todd Lanier Lester is an artist, writer, and cultural producer. He lives and works in São Paulo, where he is developing Lanchonete.org—a project focused on the right to the city—with a group of fellow city dwellers. He has worked in leadership, advocacy, and strategic planning roles at Global Arts Corps, Reporters sans frontiers, and Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation. He founded freeDimensional, a network that helps artists in danger by providing safe haven in participating artist residencies. Todd is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute where he directs the Arts-Policy Nexus; editor and partnerships director for ArtsEverywhere in Canada; and serves as a board member for arts, rights and literary organizations in India, Mexico, Brazil, and the US. Todd is currently writing the biennial update on ‘Artistic Freedom’ for the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. He co-ordinates ArtistSafety.net, a hybrid consultancy and volunteer network that provides case management for artists and culture workers at risk, as well as information services to projects and organizations in the arts, free expression, journalism, and human rights sectors.