Safemuse kicks off 2022 with an open call for artists in need of a safe residency to develop their art

January 28, 2022

On the 28th of January, an open call for artists in need of a safe residency to develop their art was published on Safemuse’s homepage. The online application form will be open from the 1st of February until the application deadline on the 15th of February 2022. 

One of Safemuse’s most important objectives is to create Safe Residencies for artists, promote artistic freedom of expression, artistic solidarity and collaboration. After receiving funding from the Municipality of Oslo, Safemuse is, together with Nordic Black Theatre, establishing a residency program in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The residencies aim to support artists who are experiencing persecution, censorship or are otherwise living under threat and that for various reasons cannot work freely in their place of living. 

“This is a great leap forward in Safemuse’s work for artists at risk!” says Jan Lothe Eriksen, the director of Safemuse. Eriksen and his colleagues has for years strived to make the residency program a reality and he is now looking forward to inviting the two first artists: 

“Until now we have had to seek funding for every residency project, a rather complicated process,” he explains. “However, with this new funding from the Oslo City Council we will have a foreseeable financial situation for this work. It will allow us to plan the residencies in a much better way, and not the least, build a sustainable residency program over time within a predictable framework. Over time this initiative will contribute to Oslo as an important Safe Haven, in addition it already being an ICORN-city.”

“It has been a long process getting to where we are today,” Eriksen adds. “And we are grateful for the support and assistance from Jarl Solberg and Cliff Mustache at Nordic Black Theatre, as well as Sverre Pedersen at the former Freemuse Oslo office and Hans Ole Rian at Creo-union.”

In 2022, Safemuse will offer two six-month residencies that focus on artistic development and cooperation for artists within all artistic disciplines. The residence program places the artists at the centre stage, providing them a safe and free space to create, develop and present art, collaborate with other artists, and expand their networks. 

The residency program is funded by the Municipality of Oslo. At the closing event of the Safe Havens Conference 2021 that took place at Sentralen in Oslo on the 4th of December, Vice Mayor for Culture and Sports, Omar Samy Gamal, spoke about the duty of politicians to “facilitate and to protect an open and informed conversation”, and underlined the City of Oslo’s support for initiatives that promote freedom of expression and artistic independence: 

“Oslo is a diverse city, home to more than 200 nationalities. The city government’s vision is making Oslo a warmer and more creative city, with room for everyone. The objective is for everyone to experience Oslo as an open and inclusive and tolerant city. This is why Oslo has been a city of refuge for writers since 2001.” 

“We are working now on expanding our city of refuge scheme to also be a safe haven for artists at risk and human rights activists,” Gamal adds. “We are doing this to support independent voices, and because diversity in the arts is what keeps it vibrant and alive. And we are doing it because freedom of expression is under pressure in many parts of the world.”

Oslo’s Vice Mayor of Culture and Sports, Omar Samy Gamal, spoke at the Safe Havens Conference in December 2021. (Photo: Cronje Strøm)

On the 28th of January, an open call for artists in need of a safe residency to develop their art was published on Safemuse’s homepage. The online application form will be open from the 1st of February until the application deadline on the 15th of February 2022. 

One of Safemuse’s most important objectives is to create Safe Residencies for artists, promote artistic freedom of expression, artistic solidarity and collaboration. After receiving funding from the Municipality of Oslo, Safemuse is, together with Nordic Black Theatre, establishing a residence program in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The residencies aim to support artists who are experiencing persecution, censorship or are otherwise living under threat and that for various reasons cannot work freely in their place of living. 

“This is a great leap forward in Safemuse’s work for artists at risk!” says Jan Lothe Eriksen, the director of Safemuse. Eriksen and his colleagues has for years strived to make the residence program a reality and he is now looking forward to inviting the two first artists: 

“Until now we have had to seek funding for every residency project, a rather complicated process,” he explains. “However, with this new funding from the Oslo City Council we will have a foreseeable financial situation for this work. It will allow us to plan the residencies in a much better way, and not the least, build a sustainable residence program over time within a predictable framework. Over time this initiative will contribute to Oslo as an important Safe Haven, in addition it already being an ICORN-city.”

“It has been a long process getting to where we are today,” Eriksen adds. “And we are grateful for the support and assistance from Jarl Solberg and Cliff Mustache at Nordic Black Theatre, as well as Sverre Pedersen at the former Freemuse Oslo office and Hans Ole Rian at Creo-union.”

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