Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) Protection Programs Internship

PEN America seeks an intern who is passionate about human rights, artistic expression, and serving artists at risk and the organizations that support them to work with our Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) team.

At PEN America, ARC safeguards the right to artistic freedom of expression around the world and works to ensure that artists of all disciplines everywhere can live and work without fear. With a global network of 800 organizations providing crucial resources for artists and cultural practitioners at risk, ARC plays the critical role of liaising between threatened artists and the organizations that support them. Since its inception, ARC has assisted more than 500 artists from over 63 countries in receiving direct support, including fellowships and residencies, emergency funding, legal assistance, and advocacy, among other forms of assistance, from partner organizations. 

ARC’s interns gain firsthand experience in artist protection work, as well as network building, communications, writing, fundraising, and research in a nonprofit environment, among other skills. Interns assist with reviewing requests for assistance from at-risk artists, communicate with artists as needed to gather more information and vet their case, and work with the threatened artist and with staff to meet the needs of the artist, whether it be helping them to refine applications for fellowships, find emergency funds to apply for, find legal or psychosocial support, or a range of other activities.

This internship will operate from our headquarters in New York City on a hybrid schedule during normal business hours. Applicants needing a fully virtual arrangement are also welcome to apply and should indicate this requirement in their application. A limited number of paid internships are available through our Centenary Internship program and would require a commitment of 15-20 hours/week over 26 weeks. All internships are also eligible for college credit.


  • Assist with research and outreach to identify and expand the network of organizations supporting artists at risk
  • Be involved in communications with individual artists at risk and the network of organizations that provide them with support, including reviewing artist applications to organizations providing direct assistance
  • Support work to identify sources of assistance for artists and development and maintenance of a database inventory of these resources
  • Draft profiles of artists and partner organizations for
  • Draft press releases on violations of artistic freedom around the world
  • Perform prospect research and support other fundraising efforts
  • Assist with efforts to expand support for the initiative, including media communications
  • Research and monitor issues and cases concerning the repression of artistic expression worldwide
  • Other tasks as needed


  • Assist team with providing research for the curation and production of 2023 World Voices Festival programs
  • Devise systems for analyzing and archiving data around past ticket buyers, participant demographics, and events
  • Communicate with publishers, literary agents, editors, writers, and translators about literary programs and PEN America’s work at large
  • Monitor the department email accounts and respond to general queries
  • Contribute to the department’s online presence on social media, including drafting social media text and graphics for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Research target audiences and partners who can help generate audiences for the World Voices Festival
  • Research new opportunities for program development based on innovations, fundraising prospects, and more from related nonprofits, awards programs, and book festivals
  • Design marketing collateral, such as postcards, flyers, and social media assets

Desired Attributes:

  • Must be able to provide proof of authorization to intern in the United States
  • Must be available 20 hours/three days per week during regular business hours
  • Knowledge of and interest in global free expression and artistic freedom issues
  • Strong research, writing, organizational, and administrative skills
  • Ability to work quickly, stay highly organized, and multitask in a fast-paced environment
  • Comfortable with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and G Suite
  • Experience managing social media accounts and drafting social media content desirable
  • Experience with online databases and website management desirable
  • Experience doing prospect research and grant writing
  • Experience working with populations at risk and/or refugees a plus
  • Proficiency in Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, Ukrainian, or other languages a big plus

Application Periods:

Be sure to include the dates of your availability with your application.

  • Fall Internship: Please submit your application between July and September
  • Winter/Spring Internship: Please submit your application between October and January
  • Summer Internship: Please submit your application between February and May

To Apply:

Please email a resume and cover letter (both one-page maximum), along with a writing sample to [email protected]. Please include the cycle you’re applying for, and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Summer ARC Protection Programs Internship – Jane Doe”).

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.