Workshop 5: Protecting freedom of expression in culture and education

Thursday, 13 June 2019, 9:30 – 13:00/ JDE 60

Organised by: Culture Action Europe (CAE), European Students' Union (ESU), Lifelong Learning Platform (LLL)


9.30h - Welcome of participants and Setting the Scene

  • Rosa Perez-Monclus, chair of the workshop, Advocacy and Policy Director, Culture Action Europe
  • Oonagh Aitken, Lifelong Learning Platform’s Pool of Experts

10.00h - Introduction to Freedom of Artistic Expression    

  • Yamam Al-Zubaidi, Equality & Diversity Manager, Riksteatern, Sweden

10.15h - Introduction to Freedom of Academic Expression

  • Peter Inkei, Chief Editor, Central European University Press, Hungary

10.30h - Full Group Discussion on Common Challenges

11.00h - Coffee Break

11.30 - Working Groups:

  • Freedom of Artistic Expression facilitated by Yamam Al-Zubaidi. Supported by:
    • Rosa Perez-Monclus, CAE
  • Freedom of Academic Expression facilitated by Peter Inkei. Supported by:
    • Robert Napier, ESU
    • Martina Darmanin, ESU

12.30 - Discussion on Recommendations from Working Groups and Conclusions



A sustainable democracy depends on the freedom of a diversity of voices to express a range of views. In contrast, societies that attempt to control freedom of thought and expression, rights protected by Articles 10 and 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, constrict the necessary space that allows for democratic debate and divergent ideas. Both in artistic and academic domains, challenges to freedom of expression are increasingly prevalent in countries across Europe. The context in which these challenges emerge, and how we can therefore go about addressing them, will form the basis for discussion of this session.


Freedom of Artistic Expression

In a time of growing populism and polarisation across Europe, freedom of artistic expression and cultural rights are increasingly coming under pressure. Arts and culture play a crucial role in strengthening the European project, but now numerous examples across the EU indicate that populist approaches are weakening the cultural and creative sectors in general, and artistic freedom specifically. The IFCD of the Council of Europe found a strong correlation between culture and democracy, underpinning the fundamental link between freedom of artistic expression and a healthy democracy. Culture can therefore act as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for wider societal trends, highlighting the universal importance of protecting freedom of artistic expression.

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is at the core of the fundamental principles of the European Higher Education Area: the Magna Charta Universitatum states that: “Freedom in research and training is the fundamental principle of university life, and governments and universities, each as far as in them lies, must ensure respect for this fundamental requirement.” However, recently this principle has been under attack in several European countries. The freedom of academia and independence of universities from any political pressures or threats is of utmost importance in order to have thriving societies in the EHEA. In this session we hope to be able to discuss the importance of retaining academic freedom as a core value of education, and how only this can ensure a sustainable future for society.




Work organisation


Protecting freedom of expression in culture and education