// SPEAKERS         


Ole Reitov / Executive Director, Freemuse, Denmark


Co-editor of ‘Smashed Hits – the Book of Banned Music’. Took the initiative to the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship. Has lectured world-wide on music censorship, cultural policies and cultural diversity. Has worked as media and music consultant in Mali, India, Gabon, Botswana and Bhutan and as journalist in more than 40 countries for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Former chairman of the EBU World Music Workshop. Former advisor to Danish Center for Culture and Development.


Freemuse – The World Forum om Music and Censorship [



Martha Bloem / Assistant Director, Scholar Rescue Fund, Institute of International Education - IIE, USA

IIE-SRF is a fellowship program for professors, researchers, and public intellectuals facing threats to their lives and careers. Martha shares oversight of program operations. She has managed the fellowships of nearly 100 scholars from 24 countries, assisting them in their reintegration into academia, as well as their transitions off the fellowship. Prior to IIE-SRF, Martha supported international scholars funded for study at the University of Texas through scholarships founded on social justice missions. She designed and implemented an IIE summer bridge program at Rice University to assist scholars with integration into academic life, and served as Program and Development Coordinator at the nonprofit Minds Matter, Inc. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Texas of Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Multicultural Refugee Coalition.




Fredrik Elg / Project Manager, Department of Culture, City of Malmö, Sweden


Initiating the ICORN-guest writer programme for persecuted writers in his hometown Malmö in 2010, Fredrik endorsed a close relationship between the city’s cultural scenes in collaboration with the first guest: feminist, activist, and journalist Parvin Ardalan. Fredrik was then asked to be the editor of a manual for Swedish ICORN-cities as well as promoting the growing movement of safe havens on behalf of the Swedish Arts Council. Having returned to the Malmö Culture Department he was responsible for launching a second, parallel safe haven programme, this time also including civil rights defenders within the other artistic disciplines, such as music, film and visual art. The City of Malmö joined the international network of shelter cities ICORN in 2010 and has since hosted two writers and recently invited the first musician in the programme, Ramy Essam from Egypt.
Malmö - fristad []

Handbok för fristädere i Sverige []



Reem Abdul-Hadi / co-founder and Executive Director, Al-Mada Association for Arts- Based Community Development, Palestine

Reem Abdul-Hadi is the co-founder and Executive Director of Al Mada, the first music therapy center in Palestine, providing music and expressive art therapy services benefiting children, youth, and women to advocate and advance self-expression, inclusion and social justice throughout Palestine. Reem has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of development, human rights, and gender. She served as a Program Analyst at UNDP for 15 years, and as a human and women’s rights researcher at Al Haq (Palestinian Human Rights Organization). She developed the Gender Mainstreaming Training and Manual. She is a specialist in communication strategy planning in social development and serves as a member of the Global Technical Network for WHO-Geneva, representing the MENA Region. She is also an expert in monitoring and evaluation, and serves as external evaluator for projects and programs;  and a copywriter in Arabic. She holds a B.A. in Arabic Literature and Linguistics, and a M.A. in International Cooperation and Development.
Al-Mada Association for Arts- Based Community Development []



Helge Lunde/ Executive Director, ICORN, International Cities of Refuge Network

Helge Lunde was the director of Kapittel, Stavanger International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech from 1998 – 2005. In the same period he was responsible for Stavanger as City of Refuge for persecuted writers, and worked together with Norwegian PEN to develop the network throughout Norway and beyond. Mr. Lunde was among the main figures behind establishing ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network ( in 2005. He became its first executive director, a position he has been holding since.




Olemic Thomessen/President of Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament


Olemic Thommessen is a Norwegian lawyer and politician (H / Conservative). For the period 2013-2017 he is President of Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament. He is from the City of Lillehammer, and has been elected for Parliament from Oppland County since 2001. Thommessen has been a member of the Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs and served as the Conservative party’s cultural policy spokesman.









Marita Muukkonen / Executive Director and co-founder of Perpetuum Mobile/ Nordic Fresh Air network, Finland


Previously Curator at HIAP – The Helsinki International Artists-in-Residence Programme; Curator at FRAME – The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, at NIFCA The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art. Recent projects have included the Perpetual Romani Pavilion (Venice 2009), The Arts Assembly (Manifesta 8), The Nordic Pavillion in the Dak’art Biennale (2012). Marita is co-curating thematic RE-ALIGNED taking place in several cities in Europe among other curatorial projects. She has worked with establishing residencies for visual art practitioners at risk since 2011 in collaboration with HIAP and Boungiorno Helsinki. 




Ian Smith / Portfolio Manager Music & IP Development at Creative Scotland (UK) / Chairman, European Music Council


Ian’s background is as a musician, performing with the Scottish National Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and directing Scottish Brass. He moved to the UK Musician’s Union in 1993 and was appointed Head of Music at the Scottish Arts Council in 2005. He has been Portfolio Manager for Music and Intellectual Property Development at Creative Scotland since its creation in 2010. Ian is currently chairman of the Executive Board of the EMC and recently appointed to the Finance Committee of the board of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in New York.

Creative Scotland []

European Music Council []



Alfons Karabuda / Chair of SKAP, Sweden and President of ECSA, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance


Alfons Karabuda is a composer who has worked with musical drama, mainly film, both nationally and internationally, since the age of fifteen. He is the President of ECSA - The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance - and Chair of SKAP - The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers & Authors.

SKAP,  Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers & Authors []

ECSA, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance []



Christine Thomassen / vice president, Norwegian Musicians’ Union (MFO), Norway


Christine was elected deputy head of MFO in 2014. She has been a principal dancer in the Norwegian National Ballet since 2003. She studied at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School in London. Christine has been in the National Ballet from 1996. In 2002 she was engaged at the English National Ballet. Christine has also been a union representative for the dancers in the National Ballet, and leader of the Oslo Ballet Association. Christine is the first dancer in the leadership of MFO.






Thomas Wallgren/ City Council,  Helsinki (Finland)



Thomas Wallgren is Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include modernity, ethics and philosophy of mind.
Wallgren is a member of the City Council of Helsingfors for the Social Democrats. He has been involved in building the Nordic environment movement since the 70s and the global justice movement since the late 1980s. Thomas has been president of the Finnish Refugee Council and the Institute for peace education in Finland. He is a member of the Board of Corporate Europe Observatory - a think tank in Brussels.





 Jan Lothe Eriksen / Project Manager, SafeMUSE (Norway)


Initiator and project manager of SafeMUSE - Safe Music Havens Initiative , an independent non-partisan and non-profit membership association, with the main purpose of offering persecuted musical artists a safe place to stay and work.  Worked as a cellist in the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, vice president of the Norwegian Musicians Union, project manager at Concerts Norway (Norsk Musikantbruk/Rikskonsertene), and director of the Norwegian Traditional Music and Dance Association and affiliated Norwegian Traditional Music Agency.

Built up and first director of the Riksscenen, Norwegian hub for Traditional Music and Dance, a new national venue and institution for presenting folk music and dance, including Norwegian, Sami and music and dance from around the world. ( SafeMUSE {]



Lars Klevstrand, artist (Norway)

Abazar Hamid, guest musician Harstad, Norway (Sudan)

with band: Håvard Lund, Thomas Nordvik Olsen,  Åsmund Wilter Erikson, Morton Zakaria, Kent-Robin Nilsen

Ramy Essam, guest musician Malmö, Sweden (Egypt)

Khaled Harara, guest musician, Gothenburg, Sweden (Gaza)

Sina/ From the Vastland, residence artist band, Orkanger, Norway (Iran)          


Ulla Pirttiärvi, artist (Sapmi / Finland) 

James Clapperton - piano (Scotland / Norway), Erica Toth - violin (Hungary / Norway), Runa Bergsmo - cello, (Norway)

Harstad School Of Arts and Kanebogen Primary School 5th Grade Choir, (Norway)



Iren Reppen / Actress and Artistic Director of Peer Gynt, Norway

Iren Reppen is born in Harstad. She is an actress doing films, TV and theatre.

At the moment she is working as actress for The Norwegian Theatre and artistic director of Peer Gynt.

She is proud to be in her home town working for Music Freedom Day.




Marianne Bremnes /Mayor, City of Harstad, Norway


Marianne had a central role in establishing Harstad as the first Safe Music Haven.  
Her background is as a music teacher and manager of Culture Troms. She has also been active in the
union movement and was involved in creating the new, merged Norwegian Musicians’ Union. 
In Harstad she worked as general manager of Culture Troms until she was elected as a Mayor in 2011.








Tine Tangestuen  /Chair of SafeMUSE,  Executive Manager of NOPA, Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists


Tine Tangestuen is Chair of SafeMUSE and Executive Manager of NOPA, The Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists.  Her background is from international cooperation in KS, The Association of Local and Regional Authorities, and as Executive Manager of Norwegian Society of Composers.





Line Fusdahl / Concert Host / Leader, Troms County Council



Knut Erik Sundquist / Concert Host / Musician, Troms County Council / Culture Troms