UnknownOver the next couple days, I’ll present the below sessions at the Malmö (Sweden) Safe Havens meeting:

A. Setting up a brand new artist run short term residency for visual artists at risk – the case of Unicorn.

B. Introducing the Hildesheim Arts Rights Justice – Summer Academy (w/ Daniel Gad, and Mary Ann DeVlieg).

And, below is a nice note of welcome from the city of Malmö:

Dear friends

I wish to welcome you to the Safe Havens 2015 conference in Malmö. The first of three planned annual gatherings of activists, organizations, artists, cities, writers, journalists – or artivists, which is one of the terms we will discuss in this meeting. In Sweden and the Nordic countries the Cities of Refuge move- ment has grown rapidly over the last few years through the ICORN-system in collaboration with individ- uals and organizations, of which several are represented at this meeting. Now this movement is growing all over Europe and at last reaching out and connecting with cities in Africa, Asia, North- and South America.

Philosopher Jacques Derrida, in a meeting which is sometimes referred to as the birth of the network of Cities of Refuge, spoke for the International Parliament of Writers on the topic of cosmopolitanism and the concept of hospitality,

“In committing ourselves thus, in asking that metropolises and modest cities commit themselves in this way, in choosing for them the name of ‘cities of refuge’, we have doubtless meant more than one thing, (…) we have been eager to propose simultaneously, beyond the old word, an original concept of hospi- tality, of the duty (devoir) of hospitality, and of the right (droit) to hospitality. What then would such a con- cept be? How might it be adapted to the pressing urgencies which summon and overwhelm us? How might it respond to unprecedented tragedies and injunctions which serve to constrain and hinder it?” (On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness by Jacques Derrida, 2001)

The city of Malmö is such a city of refuge and a member of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). We have since joining ICORN tried and discussed this idea of hospitality. What does hospitality really mean for the city council and its administration; can there be a starting date and an ending date to hospitality? If so, how do we secure that there is a continuation of the hospitality in the civil society and the cultural life once the time of official hospitality must end? As someone said: if you have invited a guest for dinner, you would not let the guest leave your house if you knew there were wolves in the forest. Hospitality can turn into friendship and inclusion and thus a sense of belonging, where the act of hospitality has been transcended, and instead given way for active ownership of a new context.

Yet the act of providing a long term residency; an asylum or an exile as ICORN, Scholars at Risk and others do, must be considered almost an extreme measure reserved for those who must get out from a very dangerous situation – and soon. There are also many initiatives, large and small around the world to sup- port and to protect artists, writers, musicians, journalists and academics inside the borders of the danger zone and between countries, cities and organizations. We are very pleased to see that so many of these experienced and knowledgeable activists, artists and representatives of prominent organizations and several cities of refuge have decided to take this opportunity to meet in Malmö and discuss how we can work even better together for the global artistic freedom and against oppression and censorship.

Welcome to Malmö and the conference Safe Havens 2015

Elisabeth Lundgren

Director of Culture
City of Malmö Culture Department