On August 30, 2017, the Gdańsk City Gallery joined the ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) as an institution representing the City of Gdańsk in the international network of refuge cities.The signing of the ICORN membership agreement took place during the 2017 Solidarity of Arts festival in the ECS winter garden.
From the left: Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, Piotr Stasiowski, Director of the Gdańsk City Gallery and Helge Lunde, Director of the ICORN network, fot. Dominik Paszliński/www.gdansk.pl
ICORN is an independent association of over 70 cities from all over the world that are committed to defending freedom of expression and writers who are persecuted for political reasons – hiding, imprisoned, censored or banned from publishing their works in their fatherland. Each city associated in the network invites to a temporary residence one of the threatened writers and ensure safety, dignified living conditions and the creative work freedom. The key to choosing a resident is his relationship with the broadly defined literature - candidates are bloggers, novel and script writers, journalists, musicians, singers, poets, visual arts artists, comic authors, translators or publishers. Gdańsk City Gallery became the operator of the program because of the literary activity of Günter Grass - the patron of one of its branches. As part of the support, institution covers the costs of artist’s arrival, accommodation, pays a monthly fee and helps with the promotion of his work.
The first resident invited to Gdańsk was a Palestinian poet, who came to Gdansk in May 2018. Thanks to the cooperation with the Immigrant Support Center during his stay in our city, the resident had not only the conditions to live and develop his creative work, but also to learn the language and participate in the cultural life of the city. During his one-year stay, he participated in events such as poetry meetings and festivals in Gdańsk (the NARRACJE Festival and the Solidarity of Arts festival).
Poem of Sari Alhassanat:
Our current resident is an investigative journalist from Tajikistan, who was forced to leave his homeland because of the topics discussed in his articles, which were about: victims of torture in Tajikistan, political and financial cases of corruption, persecution for demanding freedom of speech, extremism and Islamic terrorism.
Official ICORN website: https://icorn.org
Since 2020, the Gdańsk City Gallery is also a member of the Res Artis network – a worldwide body for arts residencies, ensuring sustainability and development of the field through enabling connection and facilitating professional development for their member organisations.