Artists at Risk Connection Senior Manager, Protection Programs

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an enterprising and determined senior manager to drive forward our work protecting artists at risk around the world. The role will develop a new emergency grantmaking initiative through the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program and expand PEN America’s protection programs for individuals in peril because of their creative expression. The ideal candidate will have the vision, expertise, and program management skills to shape ARC’s protection efforts, collaborating with the ARC team and the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center. The role requires experience working with individuals at risk or otherwise vulnerable communities, and a demonstrated commitment to the arts and human rights internationally. This is a full-time position expected to be based at PEN America’s New York office and reports to the Director, Artists at Risk Connection.

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. In April 2022, in response to the war in Ukraine, ARC launched an emergency fund dedicated to Ukrainian visual artists.

The Artists at Risk Connection’s senior manager will develop and manage ARC’s protection work to successfully connect artists with the support they need, including through ARC’s new emergency fund. In this capacity, the individual will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision and oversight of one assistant and various protection activities, along with program administration and budget management. The senior manager will work closely with the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center team and the ARC’s regional representatives, as well as our regional protection networks, such as Amani: Africa Creative Defence Network and PAR (Protección de Artists en Riesgo), the protection network for artists-at-risk in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Work with individuals at risk is often demanding and requires resilience, determination, and resourcefulness. This role is a strong fit for professionals whose commitment to human rights and free expression leads them to derive satisfaction from surmounting hurdles, celebrating wins, and persevering through the inevitable stresses in a complex and intense field. This work can also be exceptionally rewarding, offering the opportunity to have a real and tangible impact on the lives of at-risk artists, and the incumbent will have the opportunity to build professional expertise and networks while expanding and developing our protection initiatives, including a substantial emergency grant program; engaging in and spearheading coalitions among partner organizations; and conducting national and international outreach to artists and partner organizations.

– Strengthen and develop ARC’s protection work to connect at-risk artists to the support they need
– Monitor, assess, and assist in the intervention of cases and situations where artist safety, security, and wellbeing is at risk, including through engaging with partner organizations
– Create and implement a strategy for the emergency grant program and its international expansion, including overseeing day-to-day management of the emergency grant portfolio, such as the tracking of fund requests, coordination of grant dispersal, and financial reconciliation
– Define and execute an outreach plan to spread the word about the emergency funds and encourage applications from trusted partners
– Develop strategy and operational plans to build artists’ capacity to respond to or mitigate threats or risks
– Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to internal and external partners; ensure legal assistance is accessible to artists; liaise with competent authorities to ensure safety, security and wellbeing of artists
– Prepare grant reports, proposals, press releases, and budgets pertaining to ARC’s artist protection work, including overseeing the monitoring and evaluation of ARC’s work by tracking and reporting on project-based metrics
– Create and execute a work plan, spending plan, and related systems to ensure that project deadlines are met and targets achieved
– Manage the project budget and oversee all budget and expenditures reports in collaboration with the finance department to ensure accurate expenditures and reporting
– Manage two protection assistants, and fellows and interns as needed
– Provide leadership, guidance, and support to the protection team through regular supervision and feedback on performance
– Recruit staff in conjunction with the human resources department
– Build the capacity of the protection assistants to improve their range of capabilities related to the protection program and its activities

– Minimum of five to eight years of professional experience in protection programming for individuals at risk
– Minimum of three years of professional program implementation experience
– Advanced degree in Law, International Law, Human Rights, or International Affairs preferred
– Understanding of and interest in artistic freedom, free expression, and the role of artists in our society
– Solid experience in staff management in a cross-cultural environment required
– Proactive and able to work under pressure and without daily supervision, to prioritize work assignments, and to balance multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment
– Demonstrated analytical skills and report writing experience required
– Strong facility with interpersonal communication and relationship building
– Track record for independent project management, problem-solving, innovation, creativity, and effectiveness
– Mastery of written and spoken English, including ability to create sophisticated written materials and edit the work of others
– Proficiency in at least one other language is required (target languages: Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, and/or Mandarin)
– Expertise in digital outreach, database development, and international coalition-building a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $75k-80k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to Use “ARC Senior Manager, Protection Programs” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “ARC Senior Manager, Protection Programs – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. 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.

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.