The signing ceremony took place at the 2016 Gothenburg Book Fair, at the Freedom of Expression stand. With Freedom of Expression as the main theme of this year’s Gothenburg book fair, in joint effort with the University of Gothenburg, Scholars at Risk and Swedish PEN, ICORN was behind the stand that featured more than 50 events during the four days fair.
Upon signing, Umeå also became 60th member city of the network committing to the values of hospitality and solidarity, to host writers and artists at risk.
The ceremony took place during the programme “What is a City of Refuge”, with the Head of Cultural Department in Umeå, Lars Sahlin, Managing Coordinator in Umeå, Leif Mårtensson, Programme Director in ICORN, Elisabeth Dyvik, and Annika Strömberg from the ICORN Board.
Elisabeth Dyvik, Programme Director in ICORN says:
“During the Book Fair, we have heard strong testimonies by writers and artists hosted by cities of refuge in Sweden and Norway; from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Bangladesh and many other countries where freedom of expression is under great pressure. We are proud to have such a stronghold of cities and partners across Sweden in the network. With Umeå joining ICORN, 20 Swedish cities have committed to providing refuge for persecuted writers and artists, giving them a safe platform to continue their work. Each city of refuge make a tremendous difference, not only for the writer and artist hosted, but also for those who are forced to silence.“
ICORN Cities of Refuge in Sweden per September 2016: Dalarna, Eskilstuna, Gävle, Gothenburg, Helsongborg,Region Jönköpings län, Karlstad, Linköping, Malmö, Norrköping, Skellefteå, Sandviken, Skåne, Sigtuna, Stockholm, Umeå, Uddevalla, Uppsala, Växjö, Västra Götalandsregionen.