English / MFO’s Safe Music Havens Initiative

MFO’s Safe Music Havens Initiative

(For Norwegian click here)

Updated December 20th 2013: SafeMUSE founded as independent membership asociation

There is no fundamental or principal difference between the need for protection and the need to ensure safety and freedom of expression for artists in the fields of music and literature. Through the ICORN network there is a scheme of safe cities for writers. However, until now there has been no safe city/safe haven initiative offered to people who work with music. MFO’s Safe Music Havens Initiative wants to address this from the perspective of one group of music workers to another.

Overall ambition
The aim of the Safe Music Havens Initiative is to establish a safe city/safe haven system for people who work in the field of music (performers/artists, composers and tradition bearers) inspired by ICORN, International Cities of Refuge Network’s scheme for authors/writers, but adapted to the field of music.

In relation to the screening process and the decision about which network to use as a partner in this process, and also in relation to the candidates’ stay in the safe haven environment, the Safe Music Havens Initiative will relate its activities to the music area. For the screening process the project will use Freemuse - The World Forum on Music and Censorship and Freemuse’s international network. And to make the safe haven period as fruitful as possible for both the candidates and the local environments, the candidates will be put in contact with relevant local, regional and national music communities.

This will be achieved by launching a network service that will coordinate connections between the different parties, functioning in a similar way as ICORN.

In the pilot phase (1.7.2012 – 30.6.2013) we aim at creating the first 4-5 safe havens in the field of music in the Nordic countries. This will help the project’s initiators to gain experience and build networks for further development, with the goal of establishing an international scheme.

Project organization – partners
The pilot period, under the auspices of the Musicians' Union of Norway (MFO), will be of ca 12 months’ duration. Subsequently the scheme will be established as a standalone operation.

The MFO has appointed the following project board for the pilot period: Anders Hovind, Chairman (Vice President MFO), Geir Solum (union board member and musician in the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra) and Liv Runesdatter (union board member and freelance vocalist, composer and producer). The MFO has engaged Jan Lothe Eriksen, a consultant and project manager, as the project manager for the scheme.

The following partners are currently collaborating on the project:

  • the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, partner and provider of financial support,
  • Freemuse, the World Forum on Music and Censorship, potential clearing house and professional liaison with the applicants for the scheme,
  • NOPA (the Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists), which supports the project financially and will serve as a professional liaison with the Norwegian composers’ community, as well as maintaining contact with Nordic and international composers’ organizations along with SKAP (below),
  • SKAP (the Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers), which will serve primarily as a liaison with the professional communities in Sweden and the Swedish authorities, and along with NOPA also as a liaison with the Nordic and international composers’ organizations,
  • RFoD (the Swedish Folk Music and Dance Association), professional liaison with the folk and world music community in Sweden, the other Nordic countries and continental Europe, and
  • Soumen Muusikkojen Liitto (the Finnish Musicians’ Union) which will serve primarily as a liaison with the professional communities in Finland and with the Finnish authorities, and together with MFO also maintain contact with the Nordic and international musicians’ unions.

The Safe Music Havens Initiative has established good relations with the Swedish Arts Council.

Further development of the professional network in the Nordic countries is a priority.

We also consider our ongoing dialogue with ICORN as an important means of arriving at a useful and rational organizational framework in the implementation of the project and a safe music havens initiative.

The work is done with funding from the following sources/partners: MFO, LO, NOPA, Nordic Culture Point, Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Relevant news from Freemuse’s website HERE

Comments and questions about the project might be directed to the Project manager, Jan Lothe Eriksen or Chairman of the project board, Anders Hovind.