Arterial Network's Aim:

"To improve the working and living conditions, and to defend the rights of artists and creative practitioners on the African continent."

Artwatch Africa aims to assert, promote and defend artist rights and freedom of creative expression for artists and cultural practitioners in Africa. Artwatch Africa is premised on the understanding that freedom of expression is an essential condition for creative practice in the arts, and that to promote freedom of expression is to advance democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms on the continent. Within a broad definition of artist rights Artwatch Africa will also address equitable access to resources and opportunity, provision of infrastructure, legal support mechanisms, copyright and intellectual property, cultural diversity, and culture in formal and informal education systems.


Artwatch Africa seeks to: (1) empower artists and cultural practitioners and (2) influence government thinking and society perceptions around artist rights, firstly as an extrapolation of human rights and in terms of relevant conventions, and secondly, for the establishing of an enabling environment for democratic arts practice in Africa. Working through the following programmatic areas: training; research; advocacy and communication activities at local, national, regional and continental levels Artwatch Africa accomplishments include:

  • Publication of the Artwatch Africa report on the State of Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa
  • Training workshops on human rights, cultural rights and artist rights delivered in 17 countries during 2014. Participants drawn from the arts and cultural, human rights, media and government sectors
  • Publication of essays relating to freedom of expression by African writers
  • Artist rights focus in poetry/ music/ discussion events held in Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of the World Poetry Movement’s global action in July 2014
  • Public seminars discussing and debating the topic: artist rights and their value in society, held in 5 countries
  • Inaugural Artwatch Africa Life Achievement award for individuals making a significant contribution to the arts sector in their country or region. Awarded to the late Paul Brickhill in Zimbabwe during the Shoko Festival

Find out more about Artwatch Africa, its latest news and trainings here!