Syrian Entity for arts and culture News:

SANAD: A Legal Support Programme for Artists and Cultural Practitioners

The aim of Sanad is to provide legal and information-based services to artists and cultural actors in different creative fields who have been forced to leave their countries of origin and move to new work environments. The programme also aims to increase artists’ knowledge of their legal rights and to provide them with better opportunities for protection in their current places of residence.

Sanad was inspired by the need for greater humanity and liberty, particularly in the context of residency and work, as well as the need to enhance solidarity between all members of the creative community without discrimination. The programme serves as a tool for providing legal aid and supporting freedom of expression and solidarity in an attempt to combat all forms of oppression that artists may encounter, from exploitation and ignorance to intimidation and marginalisation. Sanad focuses on up-and-coming artists and those who work in the field of culture and the arts.


The past years have witnessed the forced migration of hundreds of artists, cultural and creative workers from the Arab region. Over this time, they have faced innumerable challenges related to their work environments and safety. Artists and cultural practitioners moving from Syria are among the most vulnerable groups, exposed to different forms of marginalisation, facing various types and levels of risk in the Arab region and Europe. This reality makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to pursue their artistic work. In some cases, these challenges evolve into physical and/or emotional risks.

Furthermore, uprooting from one’s local context and moving to other locations all around the world, doing so in haphazard and often harsh conditions, results in serious traumatic shock. On top of this, these people often lack knowledge in the laws that govern their work, which limits their ability to overcome obstacles in their new countries of residence. Ultimately, this often causes them to abandon their artistic careers altogether.

SِANAD's activities comes in collaboration with Legal Agenda, and with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and Fanak Funds, and focuses on three aspects: 

  • Provide knowledge to artists and cultural actors, enable them to understand current laws, legislations, and frameworks governing their work, and facilitate their connection with the work and production opportunities available to them
  • Support artists and cultural actors to resolve problems, issues and situations they might face, and enhance their stability in terms of artistic practice
  • Study the basic rights legislating the work of artists and cultural actors, lobby for the development of policies and procedures that contribute to improving their work conditions, and empower them within the artistic and cultural sector

All Sanad activities are carried out with complete confidentiality. All cases are handled in ways that guarantee the safety and privacy of beneficiaries as an absolute priority. Support is available all year round. To apply or to submit inquiries, please email us at and read Sanad’s general guidelines.

Sanad in Lebanon

In Lebanon, the programme has begun by addressing the basic problems that have been faced by artists who have been displaced from Syria, such as legal and administrative obstacles that restrict movement and the documents and fees required to obtain necessary visas. It was also inspired by the restrictions imposed on the exercise of their profession in Lebanon and the difficulties that so many people face in understanding the frameworks and mechanisms that ensure the protection of their artistic, creative and material rights.

Sanad activities are carried out in Lebanon in cooperation with Legal Agenda and with the support of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. Sanad provides three kinds of service:

  • Legal Advice

Sanad provides year-round legal consultation services in order to help artists and cultural practitioners respond to and address the problems, issues and queries that they encounter in Lebanon. This aspect of the programme is delivered by legal experts who will provide answers to queries and help follow-up on some challenges in different fields, such as in the presentation of artistic performances, professional contracts, residency and work opportunities.

  • Administrative Expense Support

Sanad provides administrative expense support to rectify artists’ and cultural actors’ situations by covering part or all of the expenses of official paperwork that they require (e.g. translating documents, renewing passports, resolving residency issues, etc.).

  • Information Distribution

The aim of this aspect of the programme is to review the fundamental laws that govern the work of artists and art producers and to provide trustworthy information that helps people identify the main opportunities and frameworks through which they can take action and organise their work. It also aims to explore the possible ways for artists and cultural practitioners to overcome the difficulties they are facing.

How Does it Work?

  • Receiving Applications

Ettijahat receives applications through a dedicated email address all year long. The Sanad team sorts applications according to the type of support that is requested and then identifies the most suitable form of response. Based on this, applicants are either contacted directly by the programme team or they are linked to a specialist lawyer. The lawyer will study the case and prepare a report for the beneficiary accordingly.

  • Choosing the Right Cases

Based on the results of this report, a consultation will be organised between a specialist lawyer and the beneficiary. Communication between the two parties and is carried out according to established criteria and with complete privacy.

  • Case Follow-up

The Sanad team monitors the consultation process and takes necessary measures in this context, such as covering the costs of legal papers, answering specific questions, offering legal counselling, or providing in-kind or administrative expense support for cases that take longer periods to resolve. Cases will be closed once an official letter is sent by the lawyer to Ettijahat in which the lawyer explains the outcome and status of the case.


Sanad in Germany

Germany, and particularly Berlin, represents a centre of gravity for artists around the world. A large number of artists from Syria and the rest of the Arab region have therefore moved to Germany to escape the difficult working and living conditions in their countries of origin. However, this has forced them to confront many difficulties in terms of organising their residency and work permissions. In most instances, these difficulties arise when artists and cultural practitioners lack knowledge about their rights and duties regarding language requirements and bureaucratic or organisational complications. As such, the aim of Sanad in Germany is to enable artists to adapt to the new environments in which they live and to increase their ability to self-organise. As such, the programme focuses on the legal and informational work, communicating relevant information as clearly and accurately as possible.

Sanad activities in Germany are carried out in partnership with the Nawras Foundation and are supported by the IAC (International Alumni Center), focusing on two aspects:

  • Sanad Meet-ups

The Sanad team organises regular meet-ups in Berlin as a means of distributing information to artists and cultural actors who have come (or plan to come) to Germany from the Arab region. The meet-ups present offer practical guidance about the rights of art producers in Germany and a presentation of the profession art environment in Germany with the participation of legal experts and specialist institutions. These sessions constitute a participatory platform to discuss, learn and share common concerns and challenges, and provide opportunities for participants to collaborate. Sanad meet-ups are open to any artists willing to attend. Interpretation to and from German and Arabic is provided.

  • Information Distribution

For the research aspect of this initiative, Ettijahat and its partners aim to review the fundamental laws that govern the work of foreign artists in Germany in addition to the forms of practice of artistic and cultural jobs in the country. Ettijahat will then be able to provide information about the nature of artistic practices in Germany and possibilities for foreign artists, and highlight the most important difficulties and how to deal with them. Finally, Ettijahat will identify possibilities for cooperation and networking in addressing legal gaps that affect the work of artists.

SANAD in collaboration of Legal Agenda, Nawras, and Robert Bosch Stiftung and with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Additional support is given in the framework of the Ana Houna programme provided by Fanak Fund, which is supporting artists in exile in other cities and towns in the Arab and Middle Eastern region. The funding provided will serve to pay  legal and administrative expenses in response to the situation of artists in exile.


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