Index on Censorship » Events http://www.indexoncensorship.org the voice of free expression Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:27:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=461 the voice of free expression Index on Censorship no the voice of free expression Index on Censorship » Events http://www.indexoncensorship.org/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/Free_Speech_Bites_Logo.jpg http://www.indexoncensorship.org/category/events/ Recap report: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-ever-better-censor-cause-offence/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-ever-better-censor-cause-offence/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 14:17:23 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61758 Index on Censorship and the Bush Theatre organised a debate as a part of the RADAR Festival, to explore the rights of the artist to free expression and to examine the role of arts institutions in defending and promoting free expression

The post Recap report: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

(Photo: Melody Patry)

(Photo: Melody Patry)

Should there ever be censorship of the arts was the subject of an Index/Bush Theatre debate, held last night. The event was provoked by the cancellation of Exhibit B in London, and Israeli play The City at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as controversy around this year’s Jewish Film Festival, all in the past few months.

Taking part in the debate were, among others: Stella Odunlami, artist and a cast member of Exhibit B; Zita Holbourne, artist, activist and co-organiser of the campaign to boycott the show; and Arik Eshet, artistic director of Incubator Theatre, which produced The City.

An Exhibit B performer Stella Odunlami told the audience: “We, a group of intelligent and informed actors and performers, have been censored and silenced by protestors, who truly have an ill-informed and misguided perspective of this significant and informative piece of work.

We are appalled, outraged, angry…extremely angry as artists, as human beings. We cannot believe that this is London in 2014. We are appalled that Exhibit B has been cancelled because of the actions of some of the demonstrators.”

Protester Zita Holbourne put her point of view as a poem, she said: “We said to them, Barbican please take that down, 2014 and you want to put black people in a cage? Then telling us you don’t understand our outrage!”

Read  their full statements, made to the audience, below.

Stella Odunlami read the statement from the London cast of Exhibit B

It is with utter disappointment that we write these words.

Exhibit B is an important work that has given us an education into the lives of other human beings. We believe everybody has the right to their specific story being told, and this work provided that platform, through the medium of art – living and breathing. It is a shame that these stories will no longer be heard, seen, nor felt. An even greater shame that those who were open and brave enough to purchase a ticket, have now been robbed of that experience.

Exhibit B afforded us the opportunity to explore and engage with our past, while reminding and reawakening us to its impact on the present.

To the 23,000 petitioners who complained that Exhibit B objectified human beings – you missed the point.

This is the 21st Century and we believe that everyone has a choice, a right, an entitlement, to do or say whatever they deem to be right for them. We can accept someone seeing the piece and not liking it-that’s fine. What we cannot accept about the events of Tuesday evening and the subsequent cancellation of Exhibit B, is the physical action that was taken outside of the Vaults, by a minority of the demonstrators who would not even entertain the thought of seeing the piece.

We, a group of intelligent and informed actors and performers, have been censored and silenced by protestors, who truly have an ill-informed and misguided perspective of this significant and informative piece of work.

We are appalled, outraged, angry…extremely angry as artists, as human beings. We cannot believe that this is London in 2014. We are appalled that Exhibit B has been cancelled because of the actions of some of the demonstrators.

We are artists who, after thoughtful and careful deliberation, decide what projects we want to work on. Grown men and women who decided that our contribution to Exhibit B would be worthwhile and important. Who, on Tuesday, were told, by way of the protestor’s force, that we couldn’t make creative and life decisions for ourselves.

That complete strangers knew what was best for us.

For all of us.

Our voices and ideas were deemed not worthy of being shared with the world. This is exactly what Exhibit B is about: we want to denounce oppression, racism and bigotry. We want to denounce actions like this. And the fact that this is still happening in London in 2014, proves even more why this piece is necessary.

The anger and vitriol and hysteria which the protestors have and continue to level at the company of Exhibit B, astounds us.

It doesn’t feel rational. It doesn’ t feel measured. There simply has not been room for an exchange of ideas.

There’s such vulnerability in holding a mirror up to humanity. No one wants to see a representation of themselves oppressed, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look.

We welcome protest, but surely it’s best to have as much information beforehand, so your opinion is truly informed. Surely as a protestor, you have a duty to ensure your ‘peaceful protest’ really is peaceful. And, surely your right to protest should not impact another person’s freedom of thought and speech.

We are actors and performers who believe that art should be meaningful. Challenging. Provoking.

Not only for us, as participating collaborators in the work, but also for the audience who witness the work.

This project afforded us the opportunity to be the most vulnerable, most on display, silently engaging and being engaged, while exploring themes around other, sex, race, and gender.

Exhibit B was created with love and sensitivity. We are intelligent creatives who made a brave choice to be part of a thought provoking piece of work. As Londoners, we are embarrassed that this has happened in our city, as the show has already been seen by 25,000 people from all over the world, and will continue to tour.

We would like to thank the Barbican for their immense support and Brett Bailey for his inspired work.

Zita Holbourne read Prejudice, Privilege, Power: A Poem for the Barbican (listen to it here)

Barbican announced a human zoo in town
We said to them, Barbican please take that down
2014 and you want to put black people in a cage?
Then telling us you don’t understand our outrage!

Strapped to plane seats, placed in iron masks
And nobody in a whole arts institution thought to ask
Our views before taking a decision to host
Then you have the bare faced audacity to boast

That you’ve placed black people in a human zoo
Going around talking about the good it can do
In challenging racist attitudes and views
But to listen to our concerns you refuse

Shackles and cages at £20 per ticket
But you don’t get why we organised a picket
We don’t need to see a black woman shackled to a bed
To know that racism is rearing its ugly head

We’re forced to battle daily with modern day enslavement
Power and privilege versus our self-empowerment
You are arrogant telling those of us that live with racism every day
What is or is not racist, like we don’t have a say

Let’s make clear that a boycott campaign is not censorship
For your actions and failures you must take ownership
We don’t need a lecture on what it is to be banned
We’re treated like third class citizens in this land

Blocked by institutions, so take a moment, pause
Think about the anger and pain you cause
By insulting our ancestors, our histories
Adding insult to our multiple injuries

If anything is censored it’s the art we produce
Rejected repeatedly by art institutions that refuse
To acknowledge our stories told by us through art
We’ve never had a level playing field from the start

We have a legitimate right to protest
It’s disingenuous of you to suggest
That our demonstration was aggressive
When it was simply passionate and expressive

Using the very arts that you claim to stand for
To demonstrate our strength of feeling outside the door
We made music, danced, lifted our voices in song
Displayed placards that had our beautiful art on

Yet you state that we were extreme and threatening
In contrast, press there say we were peaceful and welcoming
Police confirm there was no damage, injury or arrest
So perhaps it’s you trying to censor our right to protest

Their singing was threatening is what the headlines say
Brandishing placards and drums that barred the way
You accuse us of blocking freedom of expression
But then you call our expression aggression!

What does this say about you as a leading arts institution?
When you resort to this vicious persecution
Barbican you are cowardly and insincere
Resorting to this malicious smear

You simply confirm what we said from the start
You are defending racism in the name of art
When prejudice, privilege and power are combined
Institutional racism becomes clearly defined.

Arik Eshet, Artistic Director of Incubator Theatre, spoke via Skype about the cancellation of The City at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Index/Bush Theatre debate was part of the RADAR Festival.

This article was posted on 14 November 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

The post Recap report: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-ever-better-censor-cause-offence/feed/ 0
Recap report: #IndexDrawTheLine at Lilian Baylis School http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-draw-line-lilian-baylis-school/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-draw-line-lilian-baylis-school/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:17:55 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61741 Ahead of the UK general election, students discussed voting rights and free expression

The post Recap report: #IndexDrawTheLine at Lilian Baylis School appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

The general elections in the UK next May means that the topic of voting and who should be able to vote is under scrutiny, and students at Lilian Baylis Technology School in south London found that there were few clear cut answers.

Index visited the 6th form of Lilian Baylis yesterday to host our latest Draw the Line workshop where we asked the student to examine the question “Are voting restrictions a free speech violation?” in a number of ways. The discussion ranged from the issue of 16 year olds and prisoners voting in the UK, to voting restrictions in different countries including gender, age, level of education, military and mental disability.

IMG_0965[1]

The session concluded in a debate on whether 16 year olds be allowed to vote. The group in agreement pointed out that at 16 you are able to join the army and therefore die for your country, but have no way of directing its political activity. They also argued that although 16 and 17 years old can’t vote now, the outcome of the next election will affect them when they are 18 and for the following few years. As one participant said, tuition fees went up after the 2011 general election, but the 16 year olds who were later affected by this change had no say in it.

The team who disagreed highlighted the fact that 16 year olds are not deemed responsible enough to buy alcohol, see certain films or buy certain video games so they are not responsible enough to vote. They also suggested that many 16 year olds don’t understand politics and therefore shouldn’t be able to take part in the political system.

IMG_0966[1]

Ultimately, however, both groups agreed they should get the chance to have their say who will control their future.

If you would like to get involved you can follow the debate on our Draw the Line discussion page and tweet your own thought using #IndexDrawtheLine.

This article was posted on 13 November 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

The post Recap report: #IndexDrawTheLine at Lilian Baylis School appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-draw-line-lilian-baylis-school/feed/ 0
20 Nov: The cost of free information (BBC Radio 3) http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/20-nov-cost-free-information-radio-3/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/20-nov-cost-free-information-radio-3/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:54:46 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61678 Catch Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg speaking at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2014

The post 20 Nov: The cost of free information (BBC Radio 3) appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

download-1

In the 1980s, Stewart Brand declared that “information wants to be free”.  The phrase became a slogan for technology activists, who argued that tech can liberate information from expensive patents and help further the ever expanding limits of human knowledge. As a part of the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival, Rana Mitter tests the promises of the internet to spread ideas quickly and democratically. Catch up online with this event featuring:

  • Dr Rufus Pollock (Founding President of the Open Knowledge, an international non-profit organisation that promotes making data and information accessible)
  • Jodie Ginsberg (Chief Executive of Index on Censorship)

WHERE: BBC Radio 3
WHEN: Thursday 20 November 2014, 10:00pm (then on iPlayer)
TICKETS: Listen live here

The post 20 Nov: The cost of free information (BBC Radio 3) appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/20-nov-cost-free-information-radio-3/feed/ 0
17 Nov: Protest against Azerbaijan civil society crackdown http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/17-nov-protest-azerbaijan-civil-society-crackdown/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/17-nov-protest-azerbaijan-civil-society-crackdown/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:43:05 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61708 For six months, Azerbaijan has been chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Europe’s top human rights body. During that period, Azerbaijan unleashed an unprecedented crackdown against civil society—including the imprisonment of human rights defenders and political activists who criticised the government. Today, as the situation for human rights keeps deteriorating in […]

The post 17 Nov: Protest against Azerbaijan civil society crackdown appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

For six months, Azerbaijan has been chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Europe’s top human rights body. During that period, Azerbaijan unleashed an unprecedented crackdown against civil society—including the imprisonment of human rights defenders and political activists who criticised the government.

Today, as the situation for human rights keeps deteriorating in the country, Azerbaijan is getting ready to host the first European Olympics.

Index on Censorship, Platform London and others will be holding a peaceful demonstration in front of the Embassy of Azerbaijan, 4 Kensington Ct, London W8 5DL on Monday 17 November 2014 at 5.00 pm.

Join us this Monday to denounce the crackdown on civil society and call for the release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

Platform will be holding other demonstrations at 5pm everyday that week.

  • Tuesday: 18 November BP’s HQ – 1 St James’ Sq – 5pm
  • Wednesday: 19 November – Uk Foreign and Commonwealth Office on King Charles Street – 5pm
  • Thursday: 20 November – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1 Exchange Square (by Liverpool st) – 5pm
  • Friday: 21 November – the International Olympic Committee – 60 Charlotte Street

For more information, please email Melody Patry, Senior Advocacy Officer, on melody@indexoncensorship.org or call on 0207 260 2660.

The post 17 Nov: Protest against Azerbaijan civil society crackdown appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/17-nov-protest-azerbaijan-civil-society-crackdown/feed/ 0
13 Nov: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/13-nov-artist-censor-bush-theatre/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/13-nov-artist-censor-bush-theatre/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 18:05:09 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61550 Join Index as part of RADAR Festival at the Bush Theatre in London to explore the rights of the artist to free expression

The post 13 Nov: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

Exhibit B (Photo: © Sofie Knijff / Barbican)

Exhibit B (Photo: © Sofie Knijff / Barbican)

Exhibit B, The City, the Tricycle Theatre… Several high profile cases this past summer have ignited a debate about artistic censorship in the UK.

Join us as part of RADAR Festival at the Bush Theatre in London to explore the rights of the artist to free expression, to examine the role of arts institutions in defending and promoting free expression, and to ask the question: is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? The event features:

WHERE: Bush Theatre, London, W12 8LJ
WHEN: Thursday 13 November 2014, debate 9.00-10.00pm (following show 7.30-8.30pm)
TICKETS: £10 (early bird, including show) at www.bushtheatre.co.uk or 0208 743 5050 (box office)

Follow the discussion via the hashtag #RADAR2014

Co-produced by Index on Censorship and the Bush Theatre as part of the RADAR Festival.

The post 13 Nov: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/13-nov-artist-censor-bush-theatre/feed/ 0
27 Nov: ArtFreedomWales free speech hearing http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/27-nov-art-freedom-walesfree-speech-hearing/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/27-nov-art-freedom-walesfree-speech-hearing/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:22:47 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61331 Following recent free speech hearings around the world – workshops exploring the conditions necessary for free expression to flourish – Index on Censorship is coming to Cardiff to ask the question: is Wales enjoying its right to artistic freedom of expression? Some say yes — Wales has a proud cultural heritage, a vibrant bi-lingual arts scene […]

The post 27 Nov: ArtFreedomWales free speech hearing appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

Art Freedom Wales

Following recent free speech hearings around the world – workshops exploring the conditions necessary for free expression to flourish – Index on Censorship is coming to Cardiff to ask the question: is Wales enjoying its right to artistic freedom of expression?

Some say yes — Wales has a proud cultural heritage, a vibrant bi-lingual arts scene and a closely-knit community. Others cite concerns — too few voices, too little access, complex linguistic battles, poor infrastructure, dwindling resource.

Join voices from across Wales to make your case, to reflect on the opportunities and obstacles and to consider whether Wales could be a world centre for artistic freedom of expression?

WHERE: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
WHEN: Thursday 27 November 2014, 2.00-5.30pm
TICKETS: £5 (contribution towards costs) available here

#ArtFreedomWales

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

DRAFT PROGRAMME

2.00pm. Opening 
– Freedom of Expression in Wales? Hear from the eyes of artists living in exile.

2.15pm. Evidence: Is Wales enjoying its right to artistic freedom of expression?
– Stories of opportunities, stories of obstacles – submissions invited and from the floor.

3.20pm. Taking Action: Working Groups
– Consider action around promoting Wales’ strengths and tackling Wales’ weaknesses?

4.30pm. Institutional Action: Plenary
– Reflect and deliberate on the afternoon’s discussion with a panel including

  • Dai Smith (Arts Council Wales)
  • John McGrath (National Theatre Wales)
  • David Anderson (Museums Wales)
  • Lleucu Siencyn (Literature Wales)
  • Elen ap Robert (Pontio)

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

ONLINE CONVERSATIONS – #ArtFreedomWales – 

Hangout 1. Artists Working In Wales (Click Here for Recap Report)

Hangout 2. Artists Working In Welsh (Click Here for Recap Report and English Translation)

Hangout 3. Young Artists In Wales

Sponsored by Arts Council of Wales and Western Power

The post 27 Nov: ArtFreedomWales free speech hearing appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/27-nov-art-freedom-walesfree-speech-hearing/feed/ 0
Recap report: freedom of expression for artists working in Welsh in Wales? http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-freedom-of-expression-for-artists-working-in-welsh-in-wales/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-freedom-of-expression-for-artists-working-in-welsh-in-wales/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 08:06:29 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61456 The second ArtFreedomWales Google Hangout

The post Recap report: freedom of expression for artists working in Welsh in Wales? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

At the end of Index on Censorship’s ArtFreedomWales’ second online discussion (watch it in full above) there was a general consensus that they were just scratching the surface of a huge, important subject.

Hosted by Bethan Jones Parry (Broadcaster, Journalist and Writer), the following met online to discuss the opportunities and obstacles to expression for artists working in Welsh:

  • Mari Emlyn (Artistic Director Galeri, Caernarfon)
  • Arwel Gruffydd (Artistic Director Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)
  • Bethan Marlow (Playwright and Storyteller)
  • Iwan Williams (Independent Creative Producer and Creative Development Officer for Mentrau Iaith Cymru)

The live broadcast opened with Jones Parry asking what censorship meant to each individual? Williams kicked off by saying he felt that culture in Wales isn’t censored from the outside but rather from the inside – self-censorship. Emlyn agreed that self-censorship is what she is most aware of despite there being examples of censorship in everyday life. To her censorship is stopping or restricting opinion and the spreading of that opinion. Marlow expressed, although not sure if it is censorship entirely, that when writing in Welsh there is a pressure and an awareness that the whole audience must be taken in to consideration and that you must please the whole audience. It is not confined to the theatre alone. Working within the Welsh language and trying to appeal to everyone can affect the work that is created and dilute it in some way. Jones Parry asked Gruffydd if he had a free voice as Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru or is his voice censored. Gruffydd answered by saying that he hopes the company is giving writers and artist an uncensored voice however that there is a sense of self-censorship amongst writers and artists when working in Welsh especially with those who work bi-lingually. He noted two examples. One writer saying he didn’t want to write for the Welsh theatre because he had nothing to say about Wales – leading to the question must writing in Welsh be about writing about identity? The other example, a playwright who didn’t want to express themselves in Welsh because they had too much respect for the Welsh audience. They didn’t want to offend by disclosing some of the things lurking in their head! “Something’s are more difficult to share in Welsh.” Jones Parry concluded from the initial response that censorship is a very interesting mixture but what is apparent, despite there being an inherent censorship by any state regarding culture, in Wales, censorship mostly comes from self-censorship.

Jones Parry moved on by quoting David Anderson, Director General of National Museum Wales. “We are in the second decade of the twenty first century, but we still retain the highly centralized, nineteenth century, semi-colonial model that the arts should be concentrated in London, and that funding London is synonymous with serving the English regions and the nations of the UK. For Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland this undermines the principle, embedded in law, that culture is a devolved responsibility. It is a constitutional tension that remains unresolved.” The panel were asked to respond. Williams agreed that the funding model is centred on London and Cardiff and that there is always a pull towards the cities but that it was up to the companies and artists to change things – the ethos being to create the quality of work created in London in small rural areas of Wales. Jones Parry asked if the budget is less is it possible to achieve and offer the same quality? Williams agreed that budget is a huge factor but that confidence is a factor too. “We need to be ambitious and take big strides with our projects. By being ambitious, and if the will is there, we can create something that is of the same quality as anywhere else in the world.”

Responding to the question ‘Do Welsh speakers suffer, budget wise, because there are fewer Welsh speakers than English speakers?’ Gruffydd expressed “If you want to explore and experiment and strive towards new things with work and text – in a larger environment, with more people aware and more people buying a ticket that funds the work then a momentum is created. It is very difficult to express yourself in Welsh if your ideas are a little leftfield because we are a small audience when we are a full audience. If we break it down again to experimental work, certain texts, creating projects that appeal due to their nature then we are performing to two people and their dog. It’s difficult to fund that work.”

Marlow was asked how her work is perceived away from Wales to which she noted that the same recognition did not exist. Work away from Wales for her has always been an invitation from a company and not bringing previously performed work in Wales to England. She shared her frustration on searching for an agent that despite having many Welsh language credits including productions for high profile companies such as Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Sherman Cymru and TV companies, it was difficult to gain interest away from Wales. She believes the same gravitas for these big companies in Wales did not translate away from Wales. However, she believes “ as artists we don’t treat our companies with the same gravitas either. It’s important we have that pride of working in Wales and change our attitudes to see that a play produced by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is just as impressive as having work produced in London.” Jones Parry questioned that as a nation working in Welsh did our insecurity lead to self-censorship? Williams stated “Historically the language has been trampled on over the years. Our confidence as a nation is low. Since devolution there is a new sense of confidence and pride but a lot of work to be done still for us to believe in ourselves. It takes time and it’s not done overnight but we need to share big ideas and say big things.” Williams notes too that the creative sector in Wales is small and everyone knows each other. The critique of the work that happens in larger cultures doesn’t exist in Wales. “We censor the work we create as well as censor what we say about other people’s work.” Emlyn agrees. “As a small nation we are all afraid to offend. We all know each other. “ She believes that we must reach a point where we overcome the fear of offending. “There is a tendency to write safe things that doesn’t cause a stir or uproar. Conversation and interest is good. It gives us the drive to push boundaries and create something a bit more daring. Criticism is a problem in Wales. Either the fear of insulting or reviews become extremely personal.” Emlyn believes that there isn’t enough theatrical and historical background by theatre reviewers in Wales. She claims poetry and literature reviews are much stronger within the Welsh language.

Leading on from this, Gruffydd was asked as a director if he censors himself and compromises his principles by producing work that is popular and provides bums on seats. Gruffydd stated it is difficult to rate how much he censors himself. He has his own view and leaning as a director that reflects his personal artistic leaning, opinion and politics despite trying to remain impartial. During his tenure as Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru he has chosen plays and texts that have pushed the boundaries for example ‘Llwyth’ (Tribe – about a group of gay male friends in Cardiff). Marlow rejected Jones Parry’s assumption that there are times she has wanted to express something but didn’t as it wouldn’t allow her to make a living. As a writer she has always said what she wanted. She can’t write if it is fueled by a fee alone. Marlow feels lucky to have been supported by companies that have allowed her to be open and to share what she wants to express. She believes nurturing a relationship is important. “Wales is different to the rest of Britain. The work is different and what is being said is different and that people in Europe can identify with the work.” Gruffydd believes that the English censor Welsh language work more than other cultures, due to, in his opinion old preconceptions. He notes that English culture needs to check on their perspective of Welsh work and Welsh culture. As a company it was easier for Theatr Genedlaethol to attract an audience in Taipei than London. “There is a lack of preconception abroad. It would be difficult to sell a production in Welsh to a non-Welsh audience in Cardiff let alone London and yet in Taipei the play ‘Llwyth’ attracted an audience of 1000.”

Emlyn was asked if it was difficult to attract work from across the border and overseas to Galeri in Caernarfon, North Wales suggesting that geography takes a practical hand in censorship. Emlyn didn’t believe so. Galeri has established itself as a strong centre with a mixed programme. Work from elsewhere has inspired local performers. As an example Emlyn explained how a visit from Sadler Wells company, ‘Company of Elders’ inspired a collective of women over sixty, who felt they had no platform to express themselves, to create a dance piece at Galeri. Emlyn notes it is not just geography but age, illness and so on that can lead to censorship and people feeling frustrated and restricted and therefore censored. Remaining on the subject of geographical censorship Gruffydd stated that ‘every road does not lead to Cardiff.’ As a National company he feels it’s important to invest in communities and supply them with important and substantial productions and not focus specifically on the main centers alone. The company’s latest production ‘Chwalfa’ will only play at Bangor. “It is up for the audience to travel to experience the story of that specific community.”

Jones Parry was interested to know if the story of the non-Welsh speaking Welsh was being heard within the arts and if it was balanced with the Welsh language Welsh story. Marlow’s opinion was that having two National Theatre Companies proves the output is balanced and her experience of working extensively with Welsh speaking and non-Welsh speaking communities in Wales also proved that. She believes both have a strong presence and voice. Emlyn noted that Welsh language productions sell out at Galeri but it is very difficult to attract an audience to English language theatre if the productions are from Wales or beyond. She believes that a Welsh language audience trust what they will get from Welsh language companies and play it safe. She was unsure why as if someone had a genuine interest in theatre surely they would attend productions in any language?

Bringing the discussion to a close Jones Parry asked all panellists for their final word. Gruffydd finalised his thoughts by stating that every culture censor themselves. “Culture on the whole has always favoured the middleclass and educated. People who do not fit in to this assumption or norm don’t feel as secure expressing themselves because of fear. It is a challenge for us in the arts to help overcome this and give a wider geographic the voice to express themselves artistically. The arts should belong and be beneficial to everyone’s everyday life.” Marlow ended her contribution by urging Wales to be brave and stop comparing themselves to any other country. Williams concluded by saying that culture and the arts need to be taken to the communities in order for attitudes to change. “Attitude needs to change and will change by sharing towards culture and the language.” He strongly believes communities are the key and to invest in public work beyond the usual paths of theatre and TV. Emlyn ended by stressing that Wales shouldn’t be scared of venturing. “The arts are there for us to express ourselves. If we can’t express ourselves in the arts where can we? We have the right to fail. Only by failing do we learn. We shouldn’t be afraid.”

Follow and participate in the discussions @artfreedomwales.

Find out more about Index’s UK arts programme.

This article was posted on November 01, 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

The post Recap report: freedom of expression for artists working in Welsh in Wales? appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/recap-report-freedom-of-expression-for-artists-working-in-welsh-in-wales/feed/ 0
Recap report: Draw the Line workshop with Ovalhouse Young Associates http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/recap-report-draw-line-workshop-ovalhouse-young-associates/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/recap-report-draw-line-workshop-ovalhouse-young-associates/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:31:09 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61131 Index on Censorship held its latest Draw the Line workshop at Ovalhouse theatre in south London

The post Recap report: Draw the Line workshop with Ovalhouse Young Associates appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

Index on Censorship held its latest Draw the Line workshop with the young associates of Ovalhouse theatre in south London. The young associates are the theatre’s steering group for the national Truth about Youth initiative, which aims to challenge and change negative perceptions about young people, by supporting projects which enable them to work with adults, the media and the wider community. The group individually explored different freedom of expression issues before examining this month’s question “Do laws restrict or protect free speech?” in more detail as a group.

L1590704

Young Associate Jordan Mitchell shares his experience of the workshop:

Going into the freedom of expression workshop, I had a couple of questions in mind; who defines freedom? Does freedom mean something different to each person? And how do we draw the line between free expression and infringing on another person’s freedom and sense of self? As a young associate, my colleagues and I are actively involved in the community, and one of the things we encourage and are encouraged to do ourselves is to appreciate different opinions, and respect that everyone has the right to that opinion.

The exercises were informative and engaging, particularly the “belief scale” (this involves being given a statement and having to answer how far you agree/disagree by positioning yourself on an invisible line across the room with either end representing “agree” or “disagree”). Often the questions posed to us led to a spread across the scale, which showed how varied opinions can be, even in a group containing people with similar interests. The great thing about it was that the reasoning put forward by people was incisive, and even if my view didn’t change, I understood and accepted that point of view.

One thing was reaffirmed in my mind at the end. Freedom of expression is limited dependent on who you know. Influence plays a big part, and tying in with the work that we do as young associates, something has to be done to build more platforms for people to be heard.

L1590703

 

L1590701

L1590705

This article was originally posted on 28 October at indexoncensorship.org

The post Recap report: Draw the Line workshop with Ovalhouse Young Associates appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/recap-report-draw-line-workshop-ovalhouse-young-associates/feed/ 0
30 Oct: We Are the Giant screening + discussion at BFI http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/30-oct-giant-screening-discussion-bfi/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/30-oct-giant-screening-discussion-bfi/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:42:16 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61200 A documentary featuring inspirational and gripping stories of six individuals who spoke their minds

The post 30 Oct: We Are the Giant screening + discussion at BFI appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

Index on Censorship is partnering with the BFI and others for a screening of We Are the Giant – a documentary featuring inspirational and gripping stories of three individuals who spoke their minds during the Arab Spring including Bahraini activist Maryam Al-Khawaja. The screening will be followed by a discussion featuring Maryam and Index on Censorship’s Melody Patry.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Greg Barker and first presented at the Sundance Film Festival 2014, We Are the Giant tells the stories of three ordinary individuals who are transformed by the critical, moral and personal challenges they encounter when standing up for what they believe is right during the Arab Spring.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Al-Khawaja with Greg Barker (film director), Kristyan Benedict (Amnesty International) and Melody Patry (Index on Censorship). The chair will be New York Times columnist and Arab spring authority Roger Cohen.

WHEN: Thursday 30th October, 6.20pm
WHERE: BFI Southbank, London
TICKETS: Available to buy here

The post 30 Oct: We Are the Giant screening + discussion at BFI appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/30-oct-giant-screening-discussion-bfi/feed/ 2
The future of journalism: “the world is going to be less informed” http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/autumn-magazine-launch-future-journalism/ http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/autumn-magazine-launch-future-journalism/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:48:36 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=61177

There was a lively debate about whether future journalism will make the public more informed at the launch of the latest Index on Censorship magazine at the Frontline Club

The post The future of journalism: “the world is going to be less informed” appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>

“If we do not change, I think the world will suffer enormously … as a world we’re going to be less and less informed,” said Amie Ferris-Rotman, former Reuters Afghanistan correspondent and panellist for Index on Censorship’s future of journalism at London’s Frontline Club on Wednesday. Ferris-Rotman highlighted concerns over shrinking coverage of world news due to reduction in foreign desks’s budgets, as well as the increasing reliance on underpaid freelancers – especially in conflict zones.

The sold-out event was chaired by columnist, author and Index chairman David Aaronovitch. The panel also included journalism professor Richard Sambrook; director of Hostage UK Rachel Briggs; former Reuters Afghanistan correspondent Amie Ferris-Rotman; and Raymond Joseph, a data journalist and former regional editor of the South African Sunday Times, who appeared via Skype from South Africa.

The debate looked at serious issues affecting journalists today, from surveillance and encryption, to kidnappings and how the media, in turn, should cover kidnappings.

Talking points included whether Isis are using techniques of citizen journalism to spread their propaganda; and how verification is crucial when using information from social media.

Sambrook said hearing something on Twitter doesn’t make it journalism, although it could be vital as “raw material, or a lead”. Joseph spoke of the need to “separate the news from the noise”.

In addition to the main panel, a future panel also provided a contrasting view through the eyes of a selection of young people at the beginning of their journalism careers.

Below are some highlights from the Twitter discussion that took place under the hashtag #futurejournalism.

This article was originally posted on 24 October at indexoncensorship.org

The post The future of journalism: “the world is going to be less informed” appeared first on Index on Censorship.

]]>
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/10/autumn-magazine-launch-future-journalism/feed/ 0