Safe Residencies

Open call for artists in need of a Safe Residency to develop their art

In an increasingly polarized world, with tension between nations, cultures, political parties and cultural norms, a growing group of artists are encountering obstacles in the execution of their work. Artists are in many cases regarded as activists, even when they themselves do not identify with, or promote a political view or a political movement. This is especially true for female artists, artists that are queer, come from minority or indigenous groups or artists that work in genres not deemed acceptable by society or by their government. Safemuse wants to create safe residencies for artists, promote artistic freedom of expression, artistic solidarity and collaboration.

In the Norwegian capital of Oslo, we are establishing residencies for artists that are being censored, are living under threat, or that for various reason cannot work freely in their place of living. We offer six-month residencies with a focus on artistic development and cooperation, for artists within all artistic disciplines. The residencies are funded by the Municipality of Oslo. The residency is a cooperation between Safemuse and Nordic Black Theatre.

The program covers all costs connected to the artist’s travel and stay in Norway, including insurance, accommodation and living expenses. Safemuse will also assist in the visa-application process. The program does not open for an extension of stay.

The selection process will be carried out by a committee consisting of artists, representatives from art and cultural institutions, human rights advisors and the Safemuse team.

The application process will be strictly confidential.

All applications must be submitted through our online application form (link below).

The application must include:

• Documentation of your work 
• A thorough description of your situation regarding censorship, threats, or persecution as a consequence of your artistic practice

NB: Be aware that the visa and permit application process to Norway may take up to five months.

Time schedule:

• Application deadline: Thursday September 1st 2022
• Selection of artists: September 2022
• Interviews: October 2022
• The final decision will be made by November 1st, all applicants will receive an answer within November 10th
• Program duration: April/May 2023 to October/November (April/May 2024)

The residency

The residency will take place in Oslo, Norway and have a duration of six months. There will be a team coordinating and facilitating the residency and projects consisting of a residency coordinator, a mentor, and advisors from Safemuse. Prior to arrival, we will create a plan together with the individual artist that describes both the content and the goals for the residency. We will prepare for relevant cooperation with selected artists and institutions in Norway and help create opportunities for presentations of the guest-artist’s work. If possible, the guest-artist will participate in our outreach programs (that centers around art and society), but participation is not an obligation.

Safemuse will work closely with the artist when it comes to how much exposure the artist wants, and can have, during the stay, and do a risk assessment together with the artist.

About Safemuse

Originating in artist-organisations: Safemuse was born as an initiative from several artist-organisations’ wish to protect artistic freedom of expression, and artists’ role in society, an international solidarity initiative working to support safe spaces where artists can create and develop, no matter their country of residence. The answer became to create safe residencies for artists at risk, where they can develop their art.
Safe spaces: Safemuse creates safe spaces. We promote a diversity of voices and work to ensure that artists from minority groups are seen and heard.
Focus on the artist and the art: Safemuse gives artists the centre stage. We work to give artists room to create, and we contribute to artistic development, building networks and publishing/presenting.
Artistic cooperation: Safemuse cooperates with organisations that work for artists, artistic freedom and human rights. To promote this we create networks nationally and internationally.
Artistic development: Safemuse supports artistic development. Through a large network, and knowledge of how to work as an artist we organise and coordinate so that the artists in residencies can work and focus on their art
Artistic freedom: Safemuse works to highlight and promote the importance of artistic freedom of expression through political engagement and cooperation with organisations at home and abroad. We work to put artistic freedom of expression on the agenda, and to make this a focus within art and culture organisations.

About our partner

Nordic Black Theatre

Nordic Black Theatre is a self-run theatre foundation established in 1992. The core activity is theatre production but they work with a wide spectrum of partners in a variety of creative arts. They also work with developing young transcultural actors via our theatre school Nordic Black Xpress (NBX).

From humble and challenging beginnings Nordic Black Theatre has grown into a well-respected theatre institution that receives funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and the Oslo City Council. The institution cooperates with a wide range of groups and organisations including major national theatre institutions in Norway and abroad.

Nordic Black Theatre does not have a permanent ensemble but has created a network of freelance actors, musicians, technicians, writers and other professionals. Satellite groups and organisations have grown out of the theatre and the institution is a proud catalyst and inspiration from which young artists can flourish.

Please fill in the online application form and submit:

Iranian black metal artist Sina Winter was the very first of Safemuse’s artist residents.

Photo: Henrik Fjørtoft, 2015

Background: Safe Residencies

The most important part of Safemuse’s work is providing artists with a safe place to stay and work. With funding from the Municipality of Oslo, Safemuse is establishing an annual residency program whereby two international artists are invited to Oslo for a six-month placement where they can develop and present their art. The aim of the program is to provide the artists with a possibility to get out of difficult situations, persecution and censorship, and to facilitate safe and professional environments in which the artists can concentrate on their artistic work and creative processes, develop collaborations with artists based in Norway or neighbouring regions, as well as build their networks for professional exchange and support.

In addition to working with independent artists, Safemuse continuously works with various guest artists who arrive in Norway and Scandinavia through the ICORN-network. Safemuse was the initiator behind the City of Harstad becoming a Safe Music Haven, and we have been working in close collaboration with the guest artists residing in Harstad.

Three previous residencies:

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 Sina Winter (Oslo 2018)

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 Farzane Zamen (Oslo 2015)

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El Haqed / L7A9D (Oslo 2015)