Drawing the lines

– freedom of artistic expression and its boundaries

NB! Seminaret foregår på engelsk pga. internasjonale deltakere.

A seminar aimed at artist, cultural workers as well as people interested in freedom of expression in general.

Time: Wednesday, November 13th from 10:30 to 15:00
Place: St. Croix-huset, St. Croix gate 16, 1607 Fredrikstad
Tickets: The seminar is free, but registration before November 12th is mandatory.
Registration: Reserve your seat by sending an e-mail to idalw@ostfoldfk.no 

At November 12th Ways of Seeing will be playing at Kulturhuset Blå Grotte in Fredrikstad. Since it premiered at Black Box theatre, the performance has put questions of freedom of artistic expression on top of the agenda. In this seminar we will discuss some core questions raised during the last year.

Freedom of artistic expression can be defined as the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of governmental censorship, political interference or pressure. Traditionally, freedom of expression has been held a high value in democracies.

In recent years, we have seen several examples of legal disputes between publishers /authors and individuals who consider themselves defamed or misrepresented in novels. Some have called for clearer ethical guidelines for fiction based on factual events and characters.

When Laila Bertheussen, now on trial, accused the artists behind Ways of seeing of breaching privacy, the police filed a request to examine the homes of the artists and the artistic director of Black Box scene. One political party even suggested to cut public funding to the theatre. The artists also found that Bertheussens version was largely adopted by the media, while a main theme in the play – an examination of the way authorities use surveillance as a means of control, was not commented or elaborated upon.

Findings in Freemuses report «The State of Artistic Freedom» released this spring, show that out of 286 acts of censorship towards artistic expression in 2018, 62% were committed in countries defined as «the global north» i.e. the USA, Russia, UK, Turkey and Germany.

Joining us to discuss the current terms of freedom of artistic expression are: Pia Maria Roll and Sara Baban from the production Ways of Seeing and Saul Garcia Lopez from La Pocha Nostra who will share their experiences with working with artivism;  lawyer Vidar Strømme; theatre critic and journalist Lillian Bikset; teacher and leader elect of Ord i Grenseland Literature Festival, Anne Fjellro; professor and artistic director at HiØ/Norwegian Theatre Academy, Karmenlara Ely; artistic director at Østfold Kulturutvikling Scenekunst, Thomas Østgaard.

Organizers: Østfold kulturutvikling avd. Scenekunst, Kulturetaten i Fredrikstad kommune and Høgskolen i Østfold – Akademi for scenekunst.

Fra “Ways of seeing”. Foto: Margaret Hagevik
Fra La Pocha Nostras “An evening with Guillermo Gómez-Peña”. Foto: Zen Cohen
Fra “Ways of Seeing”. Foto: Margaret Hagevik