For nearly 100 years, the literary and human rights organization PEN America has promoted the free expression of ideas, information, and beliefs through literature from around the world and has protected the authors of these works when they are threatened with violence, censorship, legal harassment, resource denial and other forms of persecution. Launched in 2017, the PEN’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is an international network of organizations that support artists facing threats to their safety– and often their lives –as a result of their creative work. It has thus far helped more than 260 artists in 61 countries access relocation funds, legal aid, immigration counsel, public advocacy, emergency grants, fellowship and residency referrals, and housing. Over the past two years, ARC researched and produced A Safety Guide for Artists, a manual of practical strategies for understanding and navigating a wide range of repressive, retaliatory, and restrictive situations.
ARC will partner with local organizations in regions where threats to artists are highest to translate the Guide into Persian, Arabic, and Bengali. To further help artists at risk respond to threats arising from their creative work, ARC and its partners will host on-line capacity-training sessions dedicated to security management, risk assessment, digital safety, physical security, and more.