Free thought/free speech – Fritt Ord allocates MNOK 1.5 to freedom of expression projects at public libraries

August 27 2021

This past spring, Fritt Ord invited applications for grants of NOK 60 000 each for debates and discussions based on non-fiction and fiction literature on issues involving freedom of expression. The Foundation received 47 applications, and will award funding to 27 applicants. Altogether, MNOK 1.5 will be divided among libraries all across Norway.

Fritt Ord has included a broad scope of presentation ideas, giving priority to presentations that address and discuss current issues related to free speech. The successful projects will promote literature through panel discussions, lectures, talks with writers, and school projects.

Examples of successful projects:

The Asker Libraries, “Queer censorship”
Series of events in connection with the Year of Queer Culture in 2022, including meetings to discuss the LGBTQ movement’s challenges, and topics such as transgender history and the censorship of queer literature and films.

Grünerløkka Branch, Deichman Library, “Free thought/free speech”
Series of events to explore some of today’s predominant narratives about freedom of expression. The meetings will shed light on myths related to freedom of expression, the space available for free speech and representation, and freedom of expression and racism.

Hamarøy Library, “Mihá Cultural Festival”
Three meetings will be arranged during the Mihá Cultural Festival on the topics religion, minority culture and feminism, based on relevant fiction and non-fictional prose.

Ringsaker Library, “Racism and hate speech”
Series of meetings on right-wing extremist and racist statements, with local conditions in Brummunddal as an historic backdrop. Six events featuring non-fiction writers, based on publications involving current affairs.

This invitation from Fritt Ord is intended to encourage the innovative promotion of language and literature, and to strengthen public libraries as communications arenas. The projects will be carried out in 2021-2022.