Create or Decrease? How can art defy shrinking freedom?

– Swedstage Online presents a conversation about freedom of speech and democracy

Freedom of expression is increasingly attacked and restricted in many countries of the world. Censorship and self-censorship within the arts are also growing in way too many countries. The ongoing pandemic has put even more pressure on artists, as the focus has moved elsewhere.
The organization Freemuse notes yet again a clear increase in those who want to silence others: not only governments and authorities, but also more and more religious institutions and organizations. In a conversation with Swedish and foreign artists and stakeholders we highlight the decreasing space of bold performing arts, that challenge power and norms.
Can art be used as resistance? Can art break down walls? Can art pave the way forward? Learn how our peers around the world deal with censorship, self-censorship and threats.

The conversation is part of Swedstage Online where want to highlight Swedish performing arts and also discuss important issues concerning performing arts around the world. Swedstage is financed by the Swedish Institute, the Swedish Arts Council, the City of Stockholm and our members.

See more International Testimonies here:

The Panel:

Nedjma Chaouche, Freelance journalist and facilitator 
Nedjma Chaouche is a renowned freelance journalist and facilitator, with focus on society and politics. She was the very first television host at the Swedish National Broadcast with a background other than Swedish. After a career as a news reporter on national TV she moved to The Swedish Migration Agency and then further on to Save the Children. Nedjma Chaouche is the facilitator for the panel talk.

Nasim Aghili, Director and playwright
A Swedish-Iranian artist, director, writer and performer. Nasim works in the field of performing and visual arts and their participatory performances, theatre installations and art in the public space often deal with the experience of existing and living in different forms of exile and take the form of healing rituals. Nasim Aghili’s plays have been translated to different languages such as English, Spanish, Sami and Arabic and their work has been performed or presented in countries such as Puerto Rico, England, Mexico, US, Holland, Estonia and Sápmi.

Louise Frisk, Secretary General Clowns without Borders Sweden
Coming from a gender studies background, Louise Frisk has many years of experience working in civil society with a special focus on culture as a tool for change. For the past ten years, Louise has worked with Clowns Without Borders to, through art and culture, spread hope and laughter to children and communities in war- and crisis-stricken areas around the world. During these years, she has been involved in professionalizing the organization’s international activities and methods, and established the organization as an obvious actor for children’s rights in the borderland between culture and development assistance.
Astrid Menasanch Tobieson, Director and Playwright
 Astrid Menasanch Tobieson is an director and playwright known for creating highly intellectual and provocative political theatre. She writes, directs and produces independent works as well as for the bigger institutions in Sweden. She has become a reliable and important voice in the public debate through her passionate commitment against the Spanish former government’s restrictions and violations of the human rights in recent years. Her plays have been selected to several festivals around the world and her play Night Passage became part of the block “political theatre” at the University Lasalle in Singapore. 
Astrid is a graduate of distinguished acting school Estudio Corazza para el Actor in Madrid and was educated in directing at University of Music and Drama in Gothenburg. She has acted on some of the greatest stages of Sweden, as well as in Madrid. 
Right now she is writing new works which will premiere during 2021/22 in Sweden.