Swedish Cities of Refuge

Where
Sweden
When
2016
Who
The Swedish Arts Council
Key objectives of the measure:

Since the early 1990s cities across the world have taken the initiative to invite in an author or a journalist for a particular period who does not have the opportunity to freely pursue their profession in their homeland. Today this movement has expanded to include musicians and artists.

Both the Swedish Government and the Riksdag maintain that it is necessary to work for more cities of refuge in Sweden and that the artists who are in Sweden under this scheme should be afforded greater opportunities to become part of the public sphere. The Arts Council has been commissioned to work to create more cities of refuge for persecuted artists. This task is carried out in collaboration with the agencies and organisations affected and with municipalities and county councils. The Cities of Refuge programme differs from other artistic residency programmes in that the most important selection criterion is not artistic merit but instead the artist’s need to reach a place of safety and/or to have their voice heard and their texts published. It is thus often a question of removing an artist from a dangerous situation because they risk persecution due to their work. There are currently about fifteen cities of refuge in Sweden. About forty cities in Europe as well as Mexico City and Miami have joined forces in the International Cities of Refuge Network, ICORN. ICORN has sixteen Swedish members, most of which are cities but a couple of Swedish regions are also members. Of these sixteen, fifteen take in artists seeking refuge. Some cities of refuge have more than one place and usually take two artists who work in different areas of the arts. About twenty-five artists have been given refuge from 2012–2016. As a rule, the basic funding comes from the municipal board of the respective town or city via the cultural board, and usually amounts to about SEK 300 000. It is also possible to apply for grants from The Arts Council for translation, events, seminars or similar.

Scope of the measure:
National, International
Nature of the measure:
regulatory
Main feature of the measure:

To invite in an artist for a particular period who does not have the opportunity to freely pursue their profession in their homeland.

Results expected through the implementation of the measure:

To give the artists the possibility to reach a place of safety and/or to have their voice heard and their texts published.

Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:

The basic funding comes from the municipal board of the respective town or city via the cultural board, and usually amounts to about SEK 300 000. It is also possible to apply for grants from The Arts Council for translation, events, seminars or similar.

Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Music
Publishing
Visual Arts
Cultural Value Chain
Creation