Svetlana Mintcheva is a writer, academic and free speech controversies consultant. She is based in Europe (Bulgaria and Greece) and works internationally. Before becoming a freelance consultant, she was a long time staff member and director of programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship, an alliance of U.S. national organizations protecting freedom of speech. She developed the NCAC Arts Advocacy Program (now Arts and Culture Program), the only U.S. national initiative devoted to the arts and free expression. Svetlana served as a board member of Artists at Risk Connection and ARTSFEX. Before embarking on a career as a free speech defender Svetlana taught literature and critical theory at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and at Duke University, NC from which she received her Ph.D. in critical theory in 1999. She has also taught part time at New York University. Working languages: English, Bulgarian, French, Russian, Spanish
Examples of Svetlana’s work
Consulting for art organisations on handling controversy: SM has worked with museum directors, curators, and others regarding preparation for controversial exhibits, as well as assisting them in drafting exhibition policies and procedures for responding to complaints. She has also worked with media to expose censorship and manage the public face of arts controversies.
Consulting on resources available to artists, curators or art institutions. SM has worked for 17 years directly with individual artists and institutions in the U.S. to counter both government and private censorship.
Public Speaking and Events
SM is a frequently sought speaker on a broad range of issues relating to artistic freedom. She has spoken on trends in US and global censorship, cancel culture, self-censorship and many other subjects. She greatly prefers in person events to zoom presentations.
Training on protection of artistic freedom for cultural centers, countering censorship and self-censorship and preparing for and handling controversy. SM has developed and implemented a series of workshops for curators and other cultural producers on techniques for negotiating pressures in the process of developing programming.
Connecting and Mapping
Connecting with networks with peers across borders. SM has mobilized broad U.S. and international networks to issue statements on creative freedom.
Research, Evaluation and Writing
Research on trends, social, legal, political pressures on artistic freedom. SM is a recognized expert on artistic freedom. Her articles on emerging trends in censorship are featured in books and periodicals. She is the co-editor of Under Pressure: International Perspectives on Negotiating Pressure and Upholding Integrity (Routledge, 2020) and of Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (New Press, 2006).
Working with Legal Frameworks
US legislation with an impact on artistic freedom. SM initiated and developed http://www.artistrights.info – a site presenting information about artists legal free speech rights in the United States.