22 July is the topic for the Fritt Ord Foundation Competition

August 27 2020

Fritt Ord invites schools to address the topic of 22 July, and to submit entries for the Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Upper Secondary School.

The terrorist attacks in Oslo and on Utøya Island on 22 July 2011 have left lasting scars. 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the events. When then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke at the memorial ceremony just three days later, he said: “22 July has fundamentally changed Norway. It is up to us what kind of Norway we want. Norway has to be recognisable.” Freedom of expression is crucial in many contexts, a fact that was underscored as the days passed. We needed more openness, more democracy, but without ever being naive. Have we managed to live up to this in the 10 years that have passed? All voices should be heard – or should they? And – are they heard?

The Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Upper Secondary School is an annual competition that invites pupils to submit entries about freedom of expression and democracy. The topic for 2020/21 is 22 July 2011. Entries can be texts or media productions.

The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2021.

Democracy and citizenship have been added to the latest teaching plan as new primary goals; this competition will be a good point of departure for in-depth learning and interdisciplinarity.

We invite pupils to submit texts and media productions related to the events of 22 July 2011. Use the website frittordkonkurransen.no as a starting point, then find your own sources of information on the topic. How have books, films, newspapers and other media dealt with the terrorist attacks in retrospect? Feel free to take a personal approach to your analyses, interpretations and thoughts about the events and the time that followed.

Since 22 July 2011, many books and films have been released about what took place, including both factual presentations and fictional stories. Both aspects are important when approaching a difficult topic. While factual prose and documentaries help us to understand what actually happened, fictitious stories are also relevant. What role do these representations play? How do they tell the story of the events?

Those currently in upper secondary school were young children when the terrorist attacks took place. Many were spared from exposure to the headlines in the days following, so they remember little or nothing. However, many of them have some knowledge about what happened, as the events left an indelible mark on contemporary Norwegian society. Hopefully, the project will enable them to learn more about what happened from different angles, allowing them fresh perspectives.

The best entries, regardless of genre, will receive cash prizes (NOK 20 000, NOK 15 000, and NOK 10 000) and a study trip to Strasbourg, a French city on the border with Germany. We will visit the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the EU Parliament. There will be plenty of time to get acquainted with the city, which has an intimate, historic old town that is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Naturally, the study trip must be evaluated in the light of the corona situation.