Both the Swedish Government and the Parliament (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 Swedish Arts Council is acting to make more cities in Sweden part of the ICORN program and become sanctuaries for threatened artists. The assignment is carried out in collaboration with the relevant authorities and organizations. The 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. Since 2006, more than 70 cities around the globe have joined the network, and no less than 200 writers and artists have found shelter in an ICORN member city. 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 twenty-four cities of refuge in Sweden. Most of which are cities, but a couple of Swedish regions are also members. Some cities of refuge have more than one place and usually take two artists who work in different areas of the arts. As a rule, the basic funding comes from the municipal board of the respective town or city via the cultural board. It is also possible to apply for grants from The Arts Council for translation, events, seminars or similar.
There are 25 ICORN sanctuaries in Sweden and 33 artists have taken part of the programme between 2016-2020.
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