With the increasing need for more cities offering residencies for writers and artists in need of a safe space to continue their work, the arrival of Östersund in the network is very welcome. The City Council of Östersund took the decision to become a member of ICORN, and has given the Municipal Department of Culture and Recreation in Österstund an extended budget to manage the programme in the city.
- Protecting freedom of expression is imperative. It is disquieting to see that more and more countries restrict writers, artists and journalist’s possibility to work. Many are threatened with imprisonment and some even risk death because of what they write. Östersund offering refuge to a persecuted writer or journalist is an obligation. We must stand up for freedom of expression wherever it is limited or threatened, says Head of the Municipal Department of Culture and Recreation, Karin Thomasson (MP).
Helge Lunde, ICORN’s Executive Director, says:
- We are tremendously happy that the City of Östersund is joining ICORN, bringing international solidarity and hospitality on the agenda, and providing writers and artists at risk with the protection and space they need to continue their work without fear of persecution and censorship. With Östersund, the stronghold of cities and partners in Sweden is further reinforced and we look forward to a fruitful future cooperation.
It is expected that a writer or artist will find refuge in the city already by January 2018. Coordinator of the ICORN programme in Östersund, Sweden, Catharina Andersson, has been working closely with the ICORN Secretariat for the past few moths and expects the city to be ready to welcome an ICORN resident already by January 2018.
- In my role as coordinator of the ICORN programme, I will stay in touch with ICORN during the preparations needed for receiving the new resident to Öresund, to ensure a positive process and residency, says Catharina Andersson.