Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) Regional Representative for Middle East (Consultancy)

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a talented, energetic, and highly organized regional representative in the Middle East for its Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program. The regional representative will lend critical regional expertise to the ARC team and develop an active hub in the region, deepen existing regional partnerships and build new ones, and assist in cases of at-risk artists where needed. The ideal candidate will have strong independent project management skills, experience in coalition or network building, and be eager to take on new projects and tackle challenges. This is a consultant position based in the region.

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. 

The successful candidate will expand ARC’s regional network in the Middle East, establishing new partners that are diverse, representative, and responsive in the region and deepening our collaboration with existing partners at the local, regional, and international level. The regional representative will provide localized expertise, devise strategies, and lead local and regional outreach and capacity-building initiatives; engage with regional bodies as needed to push forward ARC’s advocacy goals; support urgent assistance efforts by the ARC team; and increase awareness for ARC within the region while also promoting regional and local opportunities to ARC’s wider network. The regional representative will work closely with the team’s other regional representatives in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, as well as the wider ARC team. This position will report to the Senior Manager, International Programs.

This is a consultant role that would be suitable for an individual who is already quite active in their own artistic or human rights community, has a foothold in the arts and cultural sector and/or human rights sector within the region, is interested in developing their own regional network, and is excited about the idea of shaping and initiating a diverse range of important international projects and collaborations. The position requires a minimum one-year commitment.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop an active hub in the region by assisting ARC in building our network of partners, modeled after ARC’s existing regional protective networks, the Amani: Africa Creative Defence Network and PAR (Protección de Artistas en Riesgo) – América Latina y el Caribe
  • Strengthen existing support for at-risk artists by connecting ARC and artists at risk to local human right organizations and the arts community locally and regionally
  • Support ARC’s referral work locally and regionally by connecting artists in need with  local and regional organizations that can support them
  • Identify new resources for artists at risk and initiate coordination and information sharing between organizations that support artists at risk in the region
  • Serve as a resource for the local cultural community by sharing information, advice, and networks that can help persecuted artists access regional resources
  • Provide local and regional expertise to the ARC team, and to ARC and PEN America’s protection teams as needed
  • Design a set of region-specific artist and organizational safety trainings based on ARC’s Safety Guide for Artists and existing trainings, as well as develop other capacity-building initiatives, such as new specialized trainings and regionally specific tip sheets
  • Help to expand ARC’s presence in the region through public programming and targeted outreach, among other strategies
  • Plan and execute a regional workshop that brings together artists, activists, cultural practitioners, lawyers, and others from the region to discuss and strategize around the issue of artistic freedom within the region
  • Support ARC’s outreach and communications efforts relevant to the region
  • Prepare press releases and updates for grant reports pertaining to ARC’s work in the region
  • Represent ARC and PEN America in meetings, panels, and advocacy as needed
  • Provide other assistance to the ARC team as needed

Qualifications:

  • At least five years of active experience in the arts and human rights fields in the Middle East 
  • A diverse and established network in their field in the region
  • Experienced or interested in building collaborations and connections within the countries in the region, as well as globally
  • Relevant experience in creating collaborative opportunities
  • Native or professional fluency in Arabic required
  • Proficiency in Farsi, Dari, and/or Pashto a plus
  • Professional level of English, enabling clear and descriptive communication with ARC team by email and in-person discussion
  • Strong facility with interpersonal communication and relationship building
  • Track record for independent project management, problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and effectiveness
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, especially when communicating across different cultures
  • Outstanding organization skills and superb attention to detail
  • Demonstrated analytical skills and report writing experience a plus
  • Experience in outreach and communications or project management a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Priority will be given to applicants who apply before July 20. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “ARC Middle East Regional Representative” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “ARC Middle East Regional Representative  – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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.