Saturday, May 09, 2009

campaigns against visa restrictions on artists

The English PEN World Atlas Blog, reporting the Kiarostami visa affair (see posting below, 6 May), reminds its readers that leading arts figures in Britain earlier this year launched a petition calling on the government to reverse stringent visa controls which are preventing major foreign musicians, artists and actors from visiting Britain. The petition is supported by the Manifesto Club, and can be signed on Manifesto's website. It has so far garnered 5456 signatures including those of actors, festival organisers, academics, visual artists, theatre directors, arts administrators, dancers and musicians from the UK and abroad.

The international organisation Freemuse, which campaigns for the freedom of musical expression, has long campaigned against the impact on musicians of the strict tightening of visa regimes since 9/11. At Womex last October Freemuse issued a White Paper entitled 'Visas: the discordant note'. The paper can be downloaded via the Freemuse website. The Freemuse campaign continues, and Freemuse notes related initiatives in the US, UK and Europe.


PEN Atlas said...

And it's not just artists, but academics as well, according to this letter from yesterday's Guardian. Although I wonder whether an American academic would have faced similar problems?

starbush said...

Thanks PA - I wasn't aware of this. Embassy officials seem to show so little discretion or flexibility - and such attitudes are hardly likely to help in any drive to "win hearts and minds". They are, rather, an exercise in how to lose friends and alienate people.