Good criticism

May 22 2015

The Fritt Ord Foundation announces a call for applications for 10 annual grants of NOK 200 000 each for critics who write for daily or weekly newspapers, or who supply reviews to TV/radio. The new grant scheme will provide aggregate funding of MNOK 6 over a three-year period.

The grants are available to critics who work in any field of art or culture. The grants are intended to result in the production of concrete, ongoing reviews throughout the year; the goal is to improve the level of quality and professionalisation for a number of Norwegian critics each year. The Fritt Ord Foundation would like to give more critics better opportunities to pursue their profession and to spend more time on it. The grants are intended to be in addition to other revenue streams from reviews.

A profession under pressure
The media’s activities related to critical reviews of art and culture are being pressured for several reasons. Parallel to the exceptionally and in several areas increasing level of cultural creation and interest in culture in Norway, we see that criticism is stagnating or dwindling over time.

Public critical reviews must be strengthened in order to equip the citizenry to reflect on the vast diversity of cultural expressions. The Fritt Ord Foundation would like to help stimulate and enhance critical reviews as an indispensable aspect of Norwegian journalism. Good criticism communicates and engages; it rests on expertise and is knowledge-oriented, thus benefiting the general public and society-at-large.

Development and revitalisation
At the same time, criticism as a genre needs to develop and revitalise to reach more media users. Traditional individual reviews of one-off cultural expressions must be supplemented by critical comments, more detailed reviews – and other types of fresh, genre-promoting criticism.

The grant scheme will run for three years. The grants will be awarded for a period of one year. It will be possible to apply several times, but there will be no automatic renewal.

Critics published in daily and weekly media will have the highest priority. The grants will be awarded to critics whose work aims at the Norwegian public and with Norwegian as their working language. They are earmarked for freelancers and independent writers who have publication agreements. We invite applications from critics who earn their livings by writing for independent media that comply with the Code of Ethics for Norwegian Editors and other media’s ethical and professional guidelines.

Other programmes to promote critical reviews
The new grants will go directly to 10 critics. However, the Fritt Ord Foundation also plans to promote critical reviews in other ways. We would like to point out the following possibilities:

  • Daily and weekly media and the critics who write for them can apply for project support for specific critical review projects under the call for applications for “Quality journalism in a new era”
  • Other types of media (e.g. journals) and critics affiliated with them can apply for project support for specific critical review projects from our ordinary funding
There are seven ordinary deadlines each year for applications to both schemes; see the Fritt Ord Foundation’s website.

Application requirements
Applications for grants for critics should include a 2-3-page description of your planned activities as a critic from August 2015 to August 2016. What do you plan to give priority to this year? What doors would a grant open for you? How would you spend it? What are your thoughts about promoting and revitalising any of the genres of criticism in which you work?

Smaller parts of the grants can be used for travel and skills development initiatives, but the funding is primarily intended to support critics’ opportunities to earn a living from these activities and to publish concrete high-quality critical journalism. Attach a brief confirmation from the editorial board(s) with which you are affiliated in respect of your publication agreement, including your present level of remuneration and the trend in fees in recent years. Please include a short report on your overall general income situation as well.

The deadline for applications is 22 May.

Use the Fritt Ord Foundation’s ordinary application form on
Please mark the application “kritikerstipend” (grant for critics).

The decision will be presented in late June.

Questions? Contact the Fritt Ord Foundation’s administration by telephone at +47 230 14646,
or the Fritt Ord Foundation’s Executive Director Knut Olav Åmås by e-mail at