Mobility, safe haven and refuge

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008

freeDimensional and Amsterdam Vluchtstad

Workshop by:

  • Marijke Jansen, member of the board of Res Artis and member of the board of Amsterdam Vluchtstad


With contributions by:

  • Tiziano Perez (Amsterdam Vluchtstad and NLPVFonds) and Koulsy Lamko (Lamko will have his contribution the day before as the keynote speaker)
  • Max von Duerckheim, Independent Theatre Trainer
  • Karen Phillips, Committee to Protect Journalists – Journalist Assistance Program; freeDimensional focal point on Distress Resource Mapping Initiative & Emerging Art Space Support Initiative
  • Gabriel Kemzo Malou, Artist & Coordinator of Centre International de Formation et Résidence Artistique (CIFRA), a freeDimensional partner center in Dakar, Senegal
  • Todd Lester, freeDimensional founder/director

For whom was workshop meant?

For organizations, policy-makers, residency programmers and culture workers interested in the Artist-in-Residence (AiR) model as applied to situations of individual distress in which an artist’s use of creativity to address a critical societal issue has led to harassment, censorship, xenophobia, economic marginalization or other hardship.

What was the workshop about?

A discussion of criteria for selecting artists-in-distress in order to achieve quality outputs in terms of professional development; safety and security; artistic creation; public engagement; and effective ‘gap filling’ that provides placement during criticals period for the artist in refuge.

  • Tiziano Perez presented the Amsterdam Vluchtstad Foundation, its mission statement, the background, the future as well as tell about the writers who were in Amsterdam since 1997

  • Karen Phillips spoke from the perspective of a nominating organization proposing candidates for safe haven, as well as her experience creating a database of distress resources. Additionally, she detailed freeDimensional’s approach to supporting emerging art spaces engaging in social justice actions across the network and specifically related to the Casa Puan – Proyecto Victoria Ocampo in Argentina.

  • Max von Duerckheim facilitated a role play using Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre to address the psycho-social issues that arise when an artist-in-distress is integrated into a residency program that also includes mainstream artists and for which the residency administration may need tools of engagement that are modifiable to each individual case.

  • Additionally, Chris Keulemans and Koulsy Lamko, writers related to the Amsterdam Vluchtstad, and Gabriel Kemzo Malou, Artist & Coordinator of Centre International de Formation et Résidence Artistique/CIFRE (Senegal) were in attendance. Gabriel discussed the challenges of a rapid-response placement of a Gambian journalist into his residency as well as measures CIFRE has taken using the freeDimensional platform to advocate for a group of vulnerable economic migrants vis a vis the community outreach program of his art space.

What was the aim of the workshop?

Informing the arts community and related sectors (e.g. human rights, free expression, cultural rights & diversity) about art spaces and safe haven, and the specific difficulties that may arise for this unique group of artists regarding bureaucratic paperwork with ministries of foreign affairs; legal aid and justice; engaging local services such as the police and healthcare.

The workshop sought to outline three areas of support and innovations:

(a) Support for emerging residency programs that wish to include safe haven services;
(b) Support for culture workers-in-distress through distress resource mapping and access to information;
(c) Support to administrators and artists-in-distress for integration, trauma relief and effective communication through application of participatory, psycho-social tools.