The Georgian Law on Culture defines two categories of workers:
- Creative worker – a natural person, engaged in creating, rehabilitating or interpreting cultural valuables;
- Culture worker – a natural person, engaged in an activity in the field of culture;
The rights of this category of workers are protected by the Constitution and this law:
- Citizens of Georgia shall be equal in cultural life, whatever their national or ethnic origin, religion, language, disability or another feature;
- The rights of creative workers related to cultural and creative activity shall have priority over the rights of other subjects of cultural activity – the State and a legal person. The rights of a natural person shall be realized on the basis of the legislation of Georgia in the field and the international obligations of Georgia
- Everyone shall have the right to creative activity of any kind, according to one’s own interests and skills.
Article 31 of the Law defines the labour relations and social protection of workers of culture:
- The labour relations of the workers of culture shall be regulated by the labour legislation of Georgia.
- The amount of author royalties and the procedure and time of its payment shall be defined by a contract made with the author, according to the applicable legislation.
- The State shall ensure the social protection of cultural workers, according to the legislation of Georgia.
- The minimum salary of workers of culture shall exceed the average amount of salary of workers of organizations financed from the state budget in Georgia.
The latter provision is declarative and does not apply in reality.
There is no term “free artist” in Georgian legislation and, consequently, there is no law on the status of a free artist, which would define the socioeconomic status of this category, its obligation to the state (special social security, health insurance, etc.).
Nevertheless, at the legislative level, creative freedom and equality of access to culture are generally safeguarded:
- The relevant international legal norms are shared and in force;
- The legislation on copyright and related rights is applicable and harmonized with international norms.
- The existing national legislative framework in the field of culture generally addresses the issue of protection of creative freedom, access to culture and participation in the creation and dissemination of culture in general.
- There is legislation governing creative and trade unions:
- Law on Creative Workers and Creative Unions ( 08/06/1999/ №2059). Under the Law on Creative Workers and Creative Unions, Article 8, paragraph 1, a creative worker may be a person with an independent profession, or may work on the basis of an employment contract or other kind of agreement. The social insurance and pension provision of a creative worker are based on the appropriate legislative acts of Georgia.
- Law of Georgia on Trade Unions, 2 April 1997. №617- IIs. Under this law, artists have the right to associate in art unions or in professional organizations to represent and protect their interests; social protection is enforced under the law Law on Creative Workers and Creative Unions, 02.04.1997 №617– IIs Article 8, paragraph 2, social insurance and pension provision of a creative worker are based on the appropriate legislative acts of Georgia.)
The Trade Union of Creative Workers exists under the Trade Union umbrella.
Traditional Creative Unions operating in Georgia
- Writers’ Union of Georgia (created in1932)
- Composers’ Union of Georgia (created in1932)
- Artists’ Union of Georgia (created in1933)
- Architects’ Union of Georgia (created in1934)
- Union of Theatre Workers of Georgia (created in 1945)
- Union of Journalists of Georgia (created in1959)
- Union of Cinema Workers of Georgia (created in1961)
- Designers’ Union of Georgia (created in1987)
Creative unions like other nongovernmental nonprofit associations and unions are eligible to participate in the target competition of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth. There are also practices of financing various projects by municipalities.
Despite the existence of creative and trade unions, it is not a practice in Georgia to agree on the terms of collective agreements or other types of agreements with the client through the unions. There is no system of employment, or any other supportive regulations with the unions. Also, there is no precedent for monitoring the effectiveness of trade organizations.
The state has developed support programmes and LEPLs for both direct (state awards, scholarships, travel grants) and indirect promotions.
An example of direct support is the Culture Promotion Programme, under which the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth has held various competitions in 2021.
A special programme of state awards in literature, art and architecture as well as a programme for the support of gifted children and teenagers is underway in Georgia.
Creative workers awards: Order of Honor; Medal of Honor.
These awards are given for exclusive achievements in various fields of culture and art. The candidates are nominated by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth. Decisions on awards are made by the State Committee for Honor Awards at the President’s Administration.
The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth gives awards in drama and music – for vocal ensembles, opera and pop singers and folklorists.
Notable awards are instituted by private organizations
- “Saba” – an annual literary award founded in 2003.
- “Duruji” – an annual theatre prize initiated and founded in 2008.
Two institutions have been established for the protection of the copyright of cultural workers and artists: LEPL Sakpatenti and the NNLE Georgian Copyright Association;
Mobility support, in addition to the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth, is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science, under which the International Centre for Education was established in 2014. It provides scholarships for Georgian citizens wishing to study abroad (including in the field of culture) http://iec.gov.ge/.
Creative freedom, cultural activities and the creation, production and distribution of cultural products and services are free from censorship and/or other restrictive systems.
According to a study conducted within the framework of the European Union-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme UNESCO CULTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS/Georgia’s Analytical and Technical Report, the indicator of freedom of self-determination in Georgia is quite high: “Freedom of Self-Determination – Georgia’s final result is 8.5/10, with 10 representing the situation in which individuals believe that there is ‘a great deal of freedom of choice and control’ and 1 being ‘no freedom of choice and control.“
There is no system of independent art boards that provides direct support for creative freedom. There is no registration of artists at risk in the field of culture and, consequently, no monitoring of their protection and no practice of recording precedents of restriction of creative freedom.