1. About AI Firefly Project | 2. About the Commission | 3. About Human Rights | 4. Information Session
5. Eligibility Requirements | 6. Review Process | 7. Production and Evaluation Process | 8. Apply | 9. FAQs

About AI Firefly Project

Amnesty International Firefly Project works to raise awareness of human rights issues by fostering the exchange of ideas, strategies, motives, and methods for creating art that is politically and socially engaged. To that end, AI Firefly produces public events including: workshops, gallery exhibitions, screenings, dialogues and discussions, conferences, festivals, and concerts.

Recent AI Firefly activities include:

  • The curation and production of visual and performing public art projects featuring TRYST an Rachel Budde presented as part of the Peekskill Project 2005 and participating in a related panel at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art.
  • Presentation of artist talks and performances at Chelsea Art Museum, Exit Art, Tonic, and other venues. Recently featured artists include featuring Bradley McCallum and Jacquelyn Tarry, Debra Pearlman, and Cocorosie.
  • Presentation of a 2-day training weekend for high school students working at the intersections of arts and activism. Featured speakers will include Chitra Ganesh, Shira Golding, Empty Vessel Project, and Nicole Opper.

Amnesty International Firefly Project is affiliated with Amnesty International USA as local group #704. You may contact AI Firefly at

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About the Commission

The concept of “human rights” refers to the minimum standard of legal, civil, and political freedoms guaranteed to all individuals regardless of nationality, ethnicity, and other localizing factors. The clear articulation of these rights in international political conventions and the ongoing discourse around their legislation and enforcement provide a global frame of reference and concrete starting point around which political action—artistic or otherwise—can be organized.

Amnesty International Firefly Project (AI Firefly) is a New York City-based collective of artists and activists affiliated with Amnesty International USA as local group #704. In an effort to support Amnesty International’s global advocacy and educational work and provide a forum for critically considering the intersection of the human rights framework and contemporary artistic practices, AI Firefly has announced a juried $3,000 commission for the creation of a new art work to be presented on or around International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2006.

The objectives of the International Human Rights Day Commission are to (a) raise awareness of Amnesty International USA through the presentation of innovative, creative artwork in conjunction with other Amnesty International-sponsored International Human Rights Day programming; (b) generate new, creative, critical thinking about the intersection of contemporary artistic practices and the human rights framework; (c) encourage collaborations among artists and human rights and social justice organizations during the production and presentation of the selected project; and (d) raise awareness of specific human rights concerns via the presentation of the selected project.

AI Firefly will support its selected project throughout the production and presentation process from September to December 2006. In coordination with other Amnesty International groups in the New York City area, AI Firefly will work with the artist to produce related programming, such as artist talks and presentations to relevant community, activist, and arts groups, during and around International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2006.

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About Human Rights

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in response to the events of World War II. Its precepts have been encoded into legally-binding international treaties and are considered to provide a set of global moral norms that guide political behavior.

Amnesty International’s advocacy focuses on subsets of rights referred to as “civil and political rights” and “economic, social, and cultural rights.”

Civil and political rights relate to the freedom of an individual to act as he or she pleases as long as that action does not infringe on the rights and freedoms of others (for example, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial, and the right to be free from torture and arbitrary arrest).

Economic, social, and cultural rights relate to the conditions necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care, and gainful employment. Economic, social, and cultural rights include the right to education; adequate housing, food, and water; the highest attainable standard of health; the right to work and rights at work; as well as the cultural rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.

All human rights are defined as interdependent and integrally related—for example, an individual’s ability to participate in government (considered a civil and political right) is directly affected by the right to express oneself and access to education (considered economic, social, and cultural rights).

The Amnesty International Firefly Project International Human Rights Day Commission will support work that substantially addresses one or several human rights priorities of Amnesty International.

For information about Amnesty InternationalŐs human rights priorities, please refer to Amnesty International's website. If you have a question about the appropriateness of your project for the commission, you may contact AI Firefly staff.

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