ICORN: A sanctuary, not an asylum

More and more cities join ICORN as hosts for persecuted artists around the world. Writer Adelina Kiame is one of the many artists that has applied for ICORN residency.  

By Amanda Frisk and Katrine Petersen

The Angolan poet Adelina Kiame has applied for ICORN residency. 

ICORN is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists being persecuted for their creative works. 

The organisation was founded in 1993 in response to the assinations of writers in Algeria. The first city to join was Barcelona and today ICORN has over 70 host cities offering temporary refuge to artists.

According to Mille Rode, the general secretary of the Danish affiliate of PEN, which is the organisation making sure the people applying for ICORN residency actually need it, the purpose of ICORN is not to give the artists permanent asylum. Though some residents end up staying permanently in their ICORN city, most artists leave the country after two years. 

“The purpose of ICORN is to give the artists a temporary sanctuary,” says Mille Rode.