The application guide for writers and artsits at risk informs about criteria for residency consideration, how to apply, application form and important information if application is approved or not.
Below is a guide to how to apply for an ICORN residency. It includes information about our requirements for a residency and the evaluation process. Please read carefully before applying.
Who can apply?
Any writer or artist who is threatened or persecuted for expressing their opinions or ideas, through their professional work or/and their art, is invited to apply for an ICORN residency.
Defining the scope of writers/artists
ICORN uses the terms writer/artist broadly, including:
- Creative writers
(novels, poems, epics, short stories, screenplays, lyrics, television scripts, films, theatre plays and cartoons)
- Non-fiction writers
(academic writing, essays, textbooks, journalism, prose, technical writing and blogging)
- Editors, publishers and translators
(photography, cartoons, painting, performance, new media art etc.)
(composers and musicians of all genres)
To apply for an ICORN residency, you must be able to document a certain amount of literary or artistic production. This typically means having published books, articles, cartoons, albums, or the equivalent, deemed worthy of printing/producing by others: i.e. not self-publication only.
You need to document that you are either:
- At risk as a direct consequence of your writing/artistic production – whether in danger of being killed, abducted, physically attacked or “disappeared”.
- Sentenced to (or at risk of being sentenced to) a prison term by the authorities in your country, as a direct consequence of your writing or artistic production.
- Unable to express yourself freely through your writing/artistic production for fear of persecution due to actual or probable actions of the government or non-government entities of the country where you reside.
How do I apply?
To apply for an ICORN residency, you are required to complete our ICORN Residency Application Form, which you can download in the right column on this page. ICORN makes an overall assessment of each applicant’s needs. To enable us to assess your application properly, to understand your case, and to determine if and how ICORN can help, it is important that you provide all the information and documentation requested in the application form. For security reasons, all information will be treated confidentially.
- If you are unable to fill in the form yourself, a contact person may submit the application on your behalf.
- If ICORN’S Administration Centre should not contact you directly, please state this clearly in the application form.
- If you are unable to communicate with us in English, or if someone else has translated the information on your application form for you, please let us know.
- Applying to ICORN is free.
- We cannot receive zip-files. If you have heavy files, please send in multiple e-mails instead of compressing the files
- The application form is currently available in English. Applications may be scanned and submitted to ICORN at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by surface mail to:
P.O. Box: 310
1. ICORN reviews the application.
2. We use PEN International’s WiPC for reference checks, and for research on declared danger and professional activity. PEN will get in touch with your references and may contact you for additional information.
3. You will be contacted and informed of the result of the assessment as soon as the application has been processed. This may take some time, and we encourage you to investigate other opportunities while waiting for ICORN to approve or decline your application. LINK Resources.
4. ICORN does not have the capacity to follow each candidate closely. Please keep ICORN updated of any changes to your situation (i.e. resettlement, moving, refugee status, new threats, new family members and so on).
How long do I have to wait for an answer to my application?
That depends on many different factors: for example, the urgency of the case, how many other applications are pending, how many others are waiting for a residency, how easy it is to verify your story, how easy to get in touch with your references, etc. You should know that we rarely have the resources to remove a writer immediately from a threatening situation.
If your application is approved
If your application is approved by ICORN, your profile will be presented to those of our member cities looking to invite a new writer. Please note that you cannot choose your city of refuge. A city invites a writer/artist according to their capacity and profile. You can, however, turn down an invitation from a city (see below).
Please note that ICORN does not have the capacity to help everyone who applies for an ICORN residency. Even if your application is approved by ICORN, you are not guaranteed a residency. An offer of a residency ultimately depends on a free space in an ICORN city and it is up to each city to invite a writer/artist.
If a city invites you for a residency, you will receive the invitation from ICORN by e-mail. You can choose either to accept or decline the offer.
- If you accept the invitation, you will be put in direct contact with a city representative. They will help you with visa and other practical matters (the process is slightly different if you are invited to a Norwegian city).
- If you decline an invitation from an ICORN city, ICORN cannot guarantee that another city will invite you. Declining an offer will not, however, affect your candidacy in any way and it will not affect, positively or negatively, the way that you are presented to other cities.
The conditions for ICORN residencies vary from city to city. All applicants invited by a city of refuge are considered ICORN writers/artists and are encouraged to continue their work and take part in both local and ICORN activities.
If your application is declined
If your application is turned down, you may apply again if your situation changes.
No guarantee for residency
ICORN rarely has the resources to remove a writer/artist immediately from a threatening situation.
Since ICORN cannot guarantee a residency, or immediate action, we urge you to do whatever you can to seek other options to ensure your safety.
ICORN cooperates with a number of organisations around the world that offer assistance in various ways. We do attempt to connect applicants with other opportunities according to their needs and the situation. We do not, however, have the capacity to help everyone and we recommend that you also seek other options.
We have made a list of Residencies, Scholarships and Grants and Human Rights and Freedom of Expression Organizations that might be helpful.
Important to know…
ICORN has no authority or influence with government organizations and must abide by the laws and regulations of each country and city inviting the writer/artist.
ICORN is not a refugee organization.
You can read more about how to become and how to be an ICORN writer/artist in the FAQ for Writers/Artists at risk.