At the conference titled Welcome here – Welcome home! politicians, coordinators, ICORN writers and artists come together in Uppsala to exchange knowledge and experiences to learn more about how to run a city of refuge.
- Uppsala has been an ICORN City of Refuge for persecuted writers since 2008 and more and more cities are joining the network. Sweden, together with Norway, holds a pole position in the efforts to offer safe havens to persecuted writers and artists. It feels particularly enjoyable to host the national City of Refuge meeting in the peaceful town of Uppsala. Through cooperation, we create better conditions for freedom of expression in the world whilst developing our local cultural life,
says Peter Gustavsson (S), Chairman of the Culture Board, Uppsala.
- As the number of ICORN cities of refuge has increased so rapidly in Sweden, it vital to gather and exchange ideas and experiences between the cities of refuge that have been members long and the new cities that have recently joined the network,
says Annika Strömberg, coordinator for Uppsala City of Refuge and and member of the ICORN Board.
16 cities and 3 regions in Sweden are participating in the conference. Other participants are journalist Kerstin Brunnberg, former chair of the Arts Council in Sweden, and Ola Larsmo, writer and president of Swedish PEN. They will talk about the background for the ICORN programme in Sweden. Helge Lunde and Elisabeth Dyvik from ICORN give an update on their work at the secretariat and relevant international perspectives.
The conference is supported by Statens Kulturråd in cooperation with the national coordinator of the Swedish cities of refuge, Karin Hansson in Växjö. In collaboration with Uppsala International Short Film Festival, and as part of the official programme, a panel debate between Issa Touma, Syrian photographer and ICORN artist in Gävle, and Iman Al Ghafari, Syrian writer and academic hosted by Sigtuna city of refuge, will be moderated by Kerstin Brunnberg.