Sweden: Lecture on shelter cities for persecuted artists

Playwright Reza Haji Hosseini will give a 45-minutes lecture on shelter cities for persecuted artists and the conditions for dramatic arts in Iran at the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts on Saturday 25 May 2013 at 1pm in Jönköping.


In the early 1990s, a movement among cities in Europe and America was started to shelter dissident writers. This was triggered by the media attention of several cases of oppression against writers and journalists. The writer Salman Rushdie was then offered shelter by the city of Strasbourg which declared itself a ‘City of Asylum’. With Rushdie as a forerunner, this movement has then grown both in and outside of Europe. In 2005 some of the shelter cities formed a collaborative organization called International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), which now gathers more than 40 cities, predominantly in Europe.

In Sweden today there are seven shelter cities for persecuted writers, where the guest is offered a two year scholarship and free housing as well as local and national networks. Lately the successful examples of guest cities for persecuted writers and journalists have inspired organizations within music, film, drama and art to join the movement and work towards shelter cities for dissidents also within their artistic disciplines. The Swedish Arts Council has supported the Swedish shelter cities for several years and is now actively involved in the promotion of shelter cities for culture workers regardless of artistic field.

Recently Malmö invited its second guest writer Naeimeh Doostdar Sanaye who arrived with her husband Reza Haji Hosseini and their little daughter. Reza is a playwright, drama critic and theatre analyzer. He is invited to Scenkonstbiennalen in Jönköping to speak about the conditions for playwrights, directors, actors and critics in contemporary Iran.  

The lecture is organised by the Swedish Arts Council and will be held in English language. Fredrik Elg from the Swedish Arts Council will introduce the lecture.

Read more about the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts: scenkonstbiennalen.se/english

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