ICORN will most probably receive the largest number of applications ever in 2018. As of June 18th, ICORN had received 74 applications from persecuted writers and artists from around the world, a significantly higher number than previous years. The applications come from 26 different countries. 15 writers and artists, many with their families, have already arrived in an ICORN city in 2018.
There was a large increase in number of women applicants in 2017, and remarkably 9 of the 15 writers and artist who have arrived in ICORN residencies this year, are women. This is the highest percentage of invited and placed women artists and writers in ICORN’s history. The increase comes partly because of the high number of female applicants last year, and partly because ICORN cities are more aware that female writers and artist often are more vulnerable than their male colleagues.
Among the women who have arrived in ICORN cities this year are Supriti Dhar, journalist and women rights activist from Bangladesh (Norrköping); Sahar Mousa, Palestinian/Gaza Poet (Stockholm); Kholoud Charaf, Syrian poet, art critic and social activist (Krakow), and Maha Nasser, journalist and TV presenter from Yemen (Växjö).
Journalists still make up the largest group of applicants to ICORN this year (27 of 74), followed by creative writers, bloggers, film makers, visual artists and musicians. More than half of the writers and artists who have been welcomed in ICORN cities this year are creative writers.
Several cities have been able to increase the capacity from hosting only single candidates to welcoming couples or families. This is a welcomed development, as most of our applicants wish to bring either a partner, spouse and/or children. We see that a slight majority of those already arrived in an ICORN city in 2018 brought one or more dependents. Some cities have also expanded the programme to host two ICORN candidates simultaneously.
With 6 new cities on board already this year, there is more space for writers and artists in need of a safe place to continue their work. Asker, Berlin, Helsinki, Lund, Poitiers and Vestfold signed in recently, and the latest happy news is that the City of Leiden in the Netherlands committed to the agreement this week.