So far, 200 poets, authors, publishers, bloggers, journalists, visual artists, film makers, screenwriters, and musicians have sought refuge in more than 60 ICORN member cities. Helge Lunde, Executive Director of ICORN says:
– In times like ours, when human rights and freedom of expression is coming under higher and higher pressure around the world, it is both very important and gratifying that the City of Berlin is becoming an ICORN City of Refuge persecuted writers and artists.
It is Berlin’s task as cultural metropolis and capital of Germany to be not only open-minded but to actively support human rights - especially in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By joining ICORN, Berlin is stepping up to this task.
The membership will be coordinated by the Senate Department of Culture and Europe. Senator Dr. Lederer:
– If the federal government of Berlin stands up against misanthropy and hatred, we cannot restrict ourselves to the city of Berlin, we have to take a stance across borders for freedom of arts and free speech as cornerstones of democracy. With the long due membership of Berlin, we do not only set an example internationally, we also act accordingly and provide a safe home for one persecuted artist. This might just be a small step for now, but hopefully more will follow.
The membership includes a grant to one ICORN fellow who will be invited to Berlin. For this task, Berlin was able to get a long known, trusted, and experienced partner on board: the Artist-in-Berlin program, which becomes the hosting partner institution for the ICORN fellowship from May 1st 2018.
The Artist-in-Berlin programme was established in 1963 to offer a place of creative liberty for excellent artists from all over the world.
– In Germany, freedom of art is manifested in the constitution. This is an obligation for all of us. Thanks to the partnership with ICORN and the city of Berlin, we can offer a place of refuge and support for persecuted artists and writers. With our networking activities we will make sure that the ICORN fellow can play an active part and participate in the Berlin cultural scene.
States Silvia Fehrmann, Head of the Artist-in-Berlin programme of the German Academic Exchange Service.
Berlin representative Pauline Püschel joined the annual ICORN General Assembly, which took place in Malmö at the beginning of May, and addressed the assembly with the good news of Berlin entering the network. She says that the assembly allowed for an inspiring start following the slogan “Safe not silent”. And to connect with other member cities and to listen to artists who shared their experiences and gave a voice to those who are still in danger, being observed, and being imprisoned, and to remember those who were tortured and murdered fighting for freedom of speech and human rights.
The Senate Department for Culture and Europe is looking forward to welcoming the first ICORN fellow in Berlin soon and will announce a public kick-off event shortly.
More information: www.icorn.org and www.berlin.de/sen/kultur/kulturpolitik/kulturelle-teilhabe/kulturelle-vi...