The ICORN Programme

The ICORN programme is a temporary, protective residency programme for writers, journalists and artists who are facing persecution because of their artistic, journalistic or cultural expression, and cannot continue their work or express themselves freely in their home country or region.


The purpose of the ICORN residency programme is to provide spaces where writers, journalists and artists can find rest and respite, and continue their work with the right to express ideas and opinions without fear or interference.

The Residency Programme

The standard duration of an ICORN residency is two years. The programme offers a grant covering living costs and accommodation, access to public services in the country/city of residence, and travel expenses related to relocation. The hosting city also supports in building and developing professional networks and opportunities during the residency.

Residents of the ICORN programme are connected in a larger network of human rights defenders, artists, journalists, and cultural and human rights institutions through ICORN’s international network of cities and partners.  

Each residency is realised according to the capacity, resources andpartnerships of the host cites, and takes place upon invitation by one of ourmember cities. The ICORN Secretariat works closely with its members to identifyand offer appropriate spaces and conditions for candidates (acceptedapplicants) to the programme.

The ICORN Secretariat continuously provide advice and support onprofessional and practical issues related to the relocation process andresidency period.

Who is the Programme for

Candidates for ICORN residencies are writers, artists, and journalists who are able to document professional literary, journalistic, and/or artistic production, and who are facing documented and/or credible threats and/or persecution for expressing their ideas and opinions through their work andactivities. They are:


- At risk as a direct consequence of their writing or artistic production – in danger of being killed, abducted, physically attacked, or ‘disappeared’.


- Sentenced to, or at risk of being imprisoned by state and/or non-state actors as a direct result of their writing and/or artistic production.

- Unable to express themselves freely through writing and/or artistic production for fear of persecution due to actual and/or probable actions by state and/or non-state actors.

ICORN considers the cases of writers, artists, and journalists, including:

- Creative and Non-Fiction Writers (novelists, poets, short story writers, lyricists, playwrights, screenwriters,journalists, academics, essayists, textbook writers, bloggers, new mediawriters).

- Artists and Cultural Producers (visual artists, performance artists, theatre, film and media, sculptors, cartoonists, new media artists).

- Musicians (composers, instrumental and singers, producers).

Applications to ICORN

Due to high influx of applications and requests, we are currently assessing and processing already received applications. Calls for new applications will be announced here.  

Please note that ICORN cannot offer residencies within a specific timeframe.

Mandate and limitations

Our capacity to offer residencies is limited by the capacity, resources and requirements of the ICORN member cities. The number of applications for residencies we receive are far larger than the number of residencies we areable to offer each year. We are therefore not able to offer residencies to all applicants, nor to everyone who have been found eligible for an ICORN residency.

ICORN is not an urgent response organisation and does not offer emergency residencies or financial support.


ICORN is unable to facilitate visa or asylum status to anyone not invited to an ICORN residency.


ICORN is not a refugee organisation and cannot assist large numbers of people affected by war and political upheaval.


ICORN has no influence over national immigration authorities and must abide by the laws and regulations of each country within which it operates.


If you are in a safe country with refugee status or another residency status which provides grounds for long-term residency, your case falls outside the ICORN mandate. If you are in a safe country waiting for a response to anasylum claim, ICORN cannot assess your case before the asylum claim has been settled/rejected.


ICORN is free of charge for applicants. ICORN does not have application fees or other fees that are charged to those seeking an ICORN residency. ICORN does not have external consultants who are authorized to charge any fees to advise on the application process. If you are approached by people claiming to represent or act on behalf of ICORN, please inform us at