The annual Safe Havens Conference was held this year in Athens, Greece, marking its 10th-year anniversary. The event, which took place in November, included two days of knowledge and experience-sharing sessions with artists, conducted in collaboration with the Arts Rights Justice Academy (UNESCO Chair at Hildesheim University). Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT) had the honour of partnering with a broad network of local, regional, and international actors such as AMANI network, Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), Arts Equator, Culture Resource (Al- Mawred Al-Thaqafy), Duncan Dance Research Center, Ettijahat – Independent Culture, FemArtAct, The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), Laguna Collective, ONDA (Office nationale de la diffusion artistique), Roberto Cimetta Fund, and Safemuse.
Safe Havens Conference 2023
Photo: Fredrik Elg
The Safe Havens Conference serves as a unique platform, bringing together actors from the realms of human rights and the arts to foster a safe and inclusive environment for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experiences. Developed in close collaboration with artists and organisations in the field, the conference maintained a primary focus on artists, with this year’s programme centred around Greece and the MENA region. The 2023 conference, celebrating a decade of practice, aimed to illuminate the challenges faced by artists in the region within a global context. Also, a dedicated effort was made to identify and visualise needs, resources and gaps in the field of artistic freedom.
The 2023 Safe Havens Conference began with a smaller, more intimate gathering of artists and caseworkers in the field of artistic freedom, the “Garden Sessions”, focusing on care and well-being for the artist and the sustainability of artistic creation. These sessions fed into the open meeting on November 9-10. The second part of the conference included long table discussions, experience-exchange ‘hives’, artistic interventions and a panel.
The 2023 conference was organised by the Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT) in partnership with the UNESCO-Aschberg programme and supported by the Swedish Arts Council/SIDA Artistic Freedom Programme, and Landscapes of Hope through Action for Hope.