Arts Rights Justice Program at Hildesheim UNESCO Chair

The ARJ Program was developed in cooperation with 30 international expert institutions and is initially intended to run from 2017 until 2019 with the support of the German Foreign Office and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). It will encompass an annual ACADEMY accompanied by an international CONFERENCE at the University of Hildesheim (Germany); a series of ARJ LABORATORIES with partners in different world regions; and an open access online library.
This year’s ARJ ACADEMY runs from August 24 – August 30, followed by the ARJ CONFERENCE August 30 – September 1 in Hildesheim (Germany). A call for particiaption an an application form is online. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Source and further information: arts-rights-justice.de

27 May, Nörrköpping: ACAR-Seminar “Artistic Expression as Political Manifestation”

“Theatre as Resistance – artistic expression as political manifestation” is a public seminar, organized by Scensverige (former Teaterunionen) in the framework of the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts 2017 in Norrköping.
In 2016, the number of offenses against artistes and crimes against artistic freedom around the world doubled according to a recent report. The seminar presents the facts surrounding this together with Jonatan Stanczak, The Freedom Theatre Jenin, Natalia Koliada, Belarus Free Theatre and Abduljaebbar Alsuhili, comedian, actor and activist from Yemen.
The seminar is arranged in collaboration with Kulturhuset Stadsteatern and ITI’s Action Committe for Artists Rights.
Date: Saturday May 27, 10:00-11:45. Place: Louis De Geer Konsert & Kongress, Nörrköping, Sweden.
Source and info at Scensverige

Germany refuses visa for Nigerian actors

The international festival for children and youth theatre “Starke Stücke” in Germany had invited the theatre group KiNiNso Koncepts from Lagos (Nigeria) with their play “Sandscapes”. The play was co-produced with the Goethe Institute Lagos, the German cultural institute which itself is founded by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The visa applications from 6 members of the group – Tolu Aina, Joy Akrah, Jubril Gbadamosi, Anifiok Inyang, Michael Ajimati, Abisoye Kadiku – were rejected by the German embassy on January 20th. To provide evidence of their family and economic rootings in Nigeria the artists delivered more than 10 different documents, among them bank statements of the company, Letter of reference, guarantee and assurance from a lawyer, invitation letters to the ASSITEJ world congress as well as from the British Council. Regardless of all appeals, no visa were permitted. “I wonder whether such cases are still bureaucracy or already lived everyday racism” commented Stefan Fischer-Fels, artistic director of Junges Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf and vice president of ASSITEJ international at his festival opening speech. “It is unacceptable that we build walls that even the artists can not overcome.”

“What thoughts and feelings did this visa incident invoke in you and your colleagues?” answers from Joshua Alabi,  Artistic & Creative Director KiNiNso-koncepts Productions, Lagos to German journalist Elena Philipp.

Source: KJTZ – Centre for children and youth theatre in Germany, Starke Stücke festival

2nd UN Cultural Rights Report: Impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the enjoyment of cultural rights

In her second report to the 34th session Human Rights Council (27 February-24 March 2017) Karima Bennoune – the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights – explains this growing challenge must be faced with urgency, using a human rights approach and stressing the centrality of cultural rights in combating such threats.

Download the full report from the UN OHCHR site here (Word document, 23 pages)

Poland: “Enormous quantity of media violence and hate-speech”

Poland’s Roman Catholic church has slammed The Curse, directed by Croat Oliver Frljic, as being “blasphemous”. Polish prosecutors have begun investigations to examine whether the play, which opened to the public end of February at Warsaw’s Teatr Powszechny theatre, offends religious feeling and whether the play “incites the murder” of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.  The Curse is an adaptation of famous Polish author Stanisław Wyspiański’s 1899 play of the same name. The performance received excellent reviews and standing ovations during every reprise.
Frljic
wrote an open Letter to Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. The letter refers to the enormous wave of verbal attacks and defamations that have happened after the Polish TV posted illegally taken video footage of excerpts from the performance. “If institutions and political representatives within Poland are not able to protect basic human rights and freedom of speech,” Frljic writes, ” it is imperative that we hear the voice of representatives from the EU. The absence of this voice is being interpreted as approval of the situation, and as support for those who launched and orchestrated this disgraceful campaign against the actors, authors and producers of the performance.”

Already in December 2013, a work by Frljic was cancelled at the National Stary Theatre in Kraków: Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki  (The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains) an adaptation ofa classic of Polish Romanticism, Zygmunt Krasińki.

The Mladinsko Theatre (Slovenia), were the Goran Injac, dramaturg of The Curse, comes from, published a statement of solidarity: “We are asking the authorities of the city of Warsaw to protect the currently extremely important space of a dialogue, the Poswszechny Theatre. We are also calling on both to prevent the implementation of new mechanisms of conservative censorship which seriously endangers the freedom of arts.”

Sources: Mladinsko Theatre, Political Critique, The Journal, Backround: Polish Theatre Journal