Laurence Cuny is a human rights lawyer with 20 years experience working with human rights defenders, in the field of cultural rights and artistic freedom. She has been an independent consultant since 2006 providing training, strategy setting, monitoring and evaluation services to the UN Human Rights Office (2013 Report on artistic freedom, 2014 Report on the impact of advertising and marketing on cultural rights and 2019 Report on Cultural Rights and Public Space), the EU (training and evaluations) as well as civil society organisations (Freemuse, FreeDimensional or Norwegian Refugee Council). Before this she taught international law at the Graduate Institute for International Studies and managed the human rights defender program at OMCT in Geneva. In 2019 she wrote the report RIGHTS, Legal frameworks for the protection of artistic freedom for the Arts Rights Justice Programme at Hildesheim University, a Unesco Chair.  She is also the author of the 2020 UNESCO’s special edition report on artistic freedom.  She is a member of the UNESCO facility on the 2005 Convention on the diversity of artistic expressions and the UNESCO Chair on the diversity of cultural expressions at Laval University. In France she is a member of the Observatoire de la liberté de création. Working languages: English, French, Spanish and Catalan.

Examples of Laurence’s work:


Freemuse – Evaluation (2016) UN advocacy programme (desk review, interviews key stakeholders, recommendations for strategic orientations to enhance the impact of UN work)

UNESCO (2019) – Art Lab Programme, art as a tool for the advancement of human rights and dialogue (concept note and proposal)

Training & facilitation

Arts Rights Justice (2012-2018) – Training material with case studies on artistic freedom for cultural actors and human rights organizations / trainings / speaker

Trainings on case submission to the UN and advocacy (since 2012) / writing funding proposals / protection of artists / hosting residencies / legislation : IETM, ARJ, ECPM, Arts Everywhere.

Trainer and facilitator at the Art Rights Justice Academy 2018 at the University of Hildesheim : one week training sessions on artistic freedom, UN mechanisms, case management and strategic litigation for 30 young professionals.

Moderator at Malmö Safe Haven Conferences (2017, 2018)

Research, Evaluation and Writing

UNESCO, 2005 Convention report series, Special edition, Defending Art, defending diversity, 2020.

Arts Rights Justice, Hildesheim University (2019), RIGHTS : Legal frameworks for artistic freedom, May 2019.

European Instrument for democracy and human rights (ongoing) – Evaluation of global and local framework contracts (culture, human rights defenders), support desk for EU partners on project cycle management, facilitator at the annual partnership forum

Artists at Risk Connection (2018) – Support to the design and analysis of a questionnaire sent to artists at risk and organizations providing services to them

Working with Legal Frameworks

UNESCO Expert facility on the 2005 Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions 

UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights (2012, 2014, 2019) – legal review, coordination and facilitation of experts’ meeting, drafting of report and recommendations, public presentation at the UN in Geneva

OMCT / Federation internationale des droits de l’Homme (2001-2003), Program manager Human Rights Defenders / Un advocacy / Cases / annual report  / fact finding missions