Conference report: All That Is Banned Is Desired

15 January 2013, Sweden

All that is Banned is Desired – the first world conference on artistic freedom of expression took place on October 25-26, 2012 at the Oslo Opera House. The conference was organised by Freemuse and Fritt Ord.

Over the two days of the conference, more than 50 artists and individuals involved in the arts addressed vital and complex issues concerning artists’ freedom of expression.

To honour the histories of the struggle to advance the freedom to make and use art, we placed the artists at the centre of this gathering. Artists shared both their experiences of censorship and the many strategies developed to claim, defend and advance their freedoms as well as the freedoms of other artists.

It is our hope that the conference was the beginning of a concerted effort to enhance the monitoring of and defense against violations of artists’ freedom of expression worldwide. In recent years, hundreds of artists have been attacked, persecuted, imprisoned and even killed because they insist on expressing themselves through their art. Many have become symbols of resistance against dictatorial regimes, religious extremists, corporate greed, and oppressive cultural, gender and sexual norms.

The entire conference was filmed by VIMAGO and each session, as well as interviews with artists, can be found on and

We would like to thank the artists for contributing and sharing their experiences and artistic expressions through statements, speeches, dialogues, film screenings and live performances.

The programme committee

Marie Korpe and Ole Reitov, Freemuse 

Bente Roalsvig and Rune Eraker, Fritt Ord