Safemuse has been evaluated:

VISA PROCESSING THE GREATEST CHALLENGE

September 27, 2023

Report cover photo: Ghawgha Taban, guest artist in the City of Harstad (Photo: Knut Utler)

The evaluation praises the way Safemuse work with censored, threatened and persecuted artists from all over the world, but we are criticized for not marketing ourselves as an organisation. We are therefore using this opportunity to draw attention to what we are doing by publishing this evaluation.

Safemuse has run its business for 10 years this year, and an external evaluation of the organisation’s operations has now been carried out. Here are some keywords:

– The biggest challenge for Safemuse is Norwegian Immigration’s (UDI’s) processing of visa applications for guest artists from countries outside Europe, where UDI sees a risk that the return requirement will not be met. This practice violates Norway’s obligations under the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (2005), and the secretariat is forced to spend a disproportionate amount of time on follow-up and political work to change this practice.

A few more findings:
– deliver very good results, and they more than deliver on their main goal of creating safe work opportunities for persecuted artists
– the guest artists benefit greatly from the residency
– the guest artists are integrated into Safemuse’s wide network in a way that makes it possible for the artists to find fruitful collaborations and income opportunities long after the residency is over
– in a special class, also internationally

Nicolai López, Carlos David Catun Quintano «Gato», Piero Issa: “Stories of (not) coming home” (Photo: Frode Henriksen/riddu.no)

From the Summary of the report

Safemuse celebrated its 10th anniversary of creating important safe havens for persecuted artists in May 2023 (…) Safemuse consistently delivers very good results, and that they more than deliver on their main goal of creating safe work opportunities for persecuted artists.

The routines for announcements, process for selecting guest artists and preparation of the artists’ stay before arrival work very well and are experienced by the guest artists as transparent. The secretariat is not only described as efficient and competent, but also deeply personally committed. With their own experience as artists, they bring a unique understanding of the guest artists into the dialogue and create trust among both the guest artists and the collaboration partners. In addition, Safemuse actively uses its broad networks within the art and cultural scene to provide the artists with arenas and contacts that stimulate the artistic development of the guest artists. The close follow-up before, during and after the residencies, together with the activation of relevant networks, is highlighted as Safemuse’s most important success criteria and places the organization in a class of its own, also internationally.

Safemuse delivers very well on its strategic goals (…) The biggest challenge for Safemuse is UDI’s processing of visa applications for guest artists from countries outside Europe where UDI sees a risk that the return requirement will not be met. This practice violates Norway’s obligations under the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (2005), and the secretariat is forced to spend a disproportionate amount of time on follow-up and political work to change this practice.

Abazar Hamid and Knut Reiersrud at the Safemuse 5-year concert. (Photo: Knut Utler)

Another clear challenge is the future follow-up of an ever-growing number of guest artists after their stay. The commitment and flexibility shown by the secretariat, which makes the residencies so valuable, draws more resources than the secretariat actually has. It will be a real dilemma to create routines to bring the deliveries more in line with the actual commitments Safemuse has taken on, without at the same time losing their strongest advantage; the personal commitment.

Safemuse is very relevant to Norwegian cultural and human rights policy and has a good reputation among its donors. Through good and systematic network building, Safemuse has managed to bring together art and human rights environments (…) Safemuse thus has a great potential for recruiting new members and can advantageously take measures to increase its visibility in relevant environments, including political ones.

“The Sea Monster”, Saitip Majewska, 2023. Saitip was a residence artist at Hvitsten Art Haven in 2023 – from an Art Walk during the Hvitsten Salong art festival. (Photo: Cronje Strøm)

The evaluation has been carried out by Scanteam in collaboration with Conow, and financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read the full report here (in Norwegian)
HERE

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