The idea. The project. The team. | Art of Freedom. Freedom of Art. | DW | 02.01.2016
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Art of Freedom. Freedom of Art.

The idea. The project. The team.

People all around the world champion freedom of speech and defend individual rights. Artists are often at the vanguard of the struggle to achieve such liberties. This project honors their efforts.

The concept behind "Freedom of Art. Art of Freedom"

One year after the assault on the satirical French magazine "Charlie Hebdo" and only several weeks after the second string of Islamist attacks on Paris in November, Deutsche Welle tackles the state of intellectual freedom across the globe with the launch of its multimedia project "Art of Freedom. Freedom of Art."

The idea of freedom dates back to ancient Greece. The same idea of freedom is also reflected in the American Declaration of Independence as well as in the spirit of the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, eventually spreading across the entire Western hemisphere. The notion of artistic freedom has grown to embody a commonly recognized and indisputable value. But when it comes to applying that freedom, people around the globe still struggle to have it recognized as a universal right.

In the battle for freedoms, artists and intellectuals often lead the way: pushing back boundaries, setting examples and finding individual ways to express and emphasize their personal views. Sometimes, enhancing their work with powerful political messages, they can hit a nerve and, amid upheaval and societal change, even become the voice of a generation. Some artists have even become the social conscience of a nation. Raising their voices not just for themselves but for many, these people tirelessly fight institutions and the powers that would rather have them repressed or silenced; a fate they face all too often.

This multimedia project seeks to address many of the questions that arise when it comes to freedom of art. What does freedom mean to artists? How do artists, bloggers, and journalists defend the Western ideal of freedom of expression? What threats to freedom of art exist? How can artists influence their leaders and politicians? Should limits be set to the freedom of art?

A far-reaching project

"Art of Freedom. Freedom of Art." is a reflection of the special protections that art and expression enjoy in Germany. But beyond showcasing the German position, the project also scrutinizes how people in other countries deal with their own circumstances. In these hard-hitting features, artists from various countries share their views on their ongoing campaign for liberty. Our audio gallery focuses on the history of protest songs - from the United States to South Africa and back to Germany. Our year-end review recalls, among other things, the international solidarity for the murdered cartoonists at "Charlie Hebdo," the ongoing commitment to the release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the destruction of the world heritage site at Palmyra, the November 13 attacks on Paris and the awarding of the Nobel prize in Literature to Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich.

Our team:

Susanne Lenz-Gleißner

Concept, editorial and project management
Gaby Reucher and Susanne Lenz-Gleißner

Aya Bach, Anastassia Boutsko, Adelheid Feilcke, Debarati Guha, Gwendolin Hilse, Sarah Hofmann, Sabine Kieselbach, Sarah Mersch, Thomas Mösch, Ceyda Nurtsch, Susannne Lenz-Gleißner, Gaby Reucher, Peter Sonnenberg, Detlef Urban, Silke Wünsch

Online implementation
Claudia Unseld

Barbara Orth, Eva Kwade, Golnar Katrahmani

Programming / Animations
Olof Pock, Simone Hüls

Operations manager for design
Manuela Buttgereit

English language editors
Rick Fulker, Kate Müser

Sertan Sanderson, Angelika Ditscheid

Media partnership with "Politik & Kultur" for country profiles
Adelheid Feilcke

Overall management
Rolf Rische


Multimedia project


Artists advocate for the value of freedom

Artists all around the world fight for freedom of speech and individual rights. This project honors their efforts.