Livestreaming a Conversation: Freedom Talk at the Power of Art

Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT) presents a Freedom Talk at Power of Art: We Don’t Call It Occupation, We Call It ihtilalSuffocation livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 8 July at 8:30 am EDT (New York, UTC -7) / 12:30 pm UTC / 2:30 pm CEST (Stockholm, UTC +2) / 3:30 pm EEST (Jenin, UTC +3).

Focusing on the importance of individual freedom to resist through art and to communicate globally as a starting point, Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT) presents the next event titled “We Don’t Call It Occupation, We Call iIt Ihtilal, Suffocation. In conversation with two inspiring creatives in the field, this event will take place as a part of the Freedom Talks series.

How does the occupation affect art and the individual artists? Is it possible to look at art from occupied areas without factoring in the restrictions to freedom and other rights? Is free art possible in territories? Ahmed Tobasi (director of the Freedom Theater in Jenin and Sarah Christophersen (dancer, choreographer, and researcher at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo) sit down to share their experiences from the field and discuss the role of art as activism, cultural resistance, assertions of identity, and ongoing shifts in Palestinian narratives. This event is produced in collaboration with Safemuse.

About Freedom Talks
The Safe Havens Freedom Talks series is closely connected to the annual global Safe Havens conference. The Freedom Talks series is focused on issues regarding threats towards artistic freedom, free press, and intangible heritage. Guests in the Freedom Talks series are highly knowledgeable and prolific actors in the global Arts Rights Justice sector–fighting for artistic freedom. The Freedom Talks Aim to share space and broaden the narrative of who can take center stage, by lending the brand to different organizations within the sector. The talks are presented in–or translated to–English. The talks can be watched through our website, our Facebook page, and through our partner HowlRoundwhere previous events are archived.

Ahmed Tobasi is an actor, director and educator with experience working in theaters throughout Palestine and internationally. Born in Jenin refugee camp in Palestine, restricted and frustrated by the occupation, Tobasi joined an armed resistance and was in prison before his eighteenth birthday. Upon his release three years later, Tobasi embraced the idea that he could become an agent of change and resistance using the medium of theater. After two years studying at The Freedom Theater, Tobasi undertook further education in Norway, followed by a three year professional career abroad. Tobasi is currently working as the artistic director of The Freedom TheaterPalestine and continues to act and work in international productions sharing the Palestinian experiences and narrative with new audiences.

Sarah Christophersen is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher, and is currently working as research assistant at Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). Sara has an MA in human geography from the University of Oslo (2020) and BA in dance and choreography from Laban in London (2004). Her academic and artistic interests intersect, with a particular interest in feminist methodologies, notes of solidarity and care, and collaborative processes of knowledge creation. Artistically she is interested in interdisciplinary methods, and her work is often made in negotiation with the context in which it is produced. For the past fifteen years, she has worked as an independent choreographer and dancer, taking part in and leading several collaborative projects in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Ethiopia. Her artistic practice includes performance work for theater, public spaces and site-specific work, choreography, installations, and writing. In 2015 she was awarded together with colleague Helle Siljeholm the Hans Christian Ostrø Memorial Award for their distinctive work in Palestine and the Middle East.

*The event is organized by the independent international nonprofit Safe Havens Freedom Talks (SH|FT)through collaborations within the global Arts Rights Justice sector, and with Safemuse graciously supporting as its mentoring organization in the start-up period. SH|FT is supported by The Swedish Arts Council under the Program for Artistic Freedom funded by Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; and The Freedom Talks are sponsored by the Swedish Institute. The exhibition and platform project is sponsored by the Swedish Postcode Foundation.

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