Current News

100 years since the shots in Sarajevo


Tomorrow, 28 June, is the centenary of those fateful shots fired in Sarajevo and the outbreak of World War 1. Our own paramount contemporary themes in politics and the public debate have often originated with ideologies, utopias, mass movements and national structures to which the Great War gave rise. From its ruins, modernism and reaction gained momentum; philosophy, art, architecture and everyday life sought to leave 'the old Europe' behind. The celebration of the centenary is a good opportunity to reflect on this trend.

The Fritt Ord Foundation's series of lectures «The War to End All Wars»"The War to End All Wars", organised between 23 November 2013 and 9 March 2014, devoted attention to the course of the war, how it unfolded and its consequences through 52 lectures, three panel discussions and 16 film screenings.

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Press Prizes awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation and the ZEIT Foundation

Foto: Frederika Hoffmann

The Fritt Ord Foundation's Press Prizes "Free Press Russia" and the Gerd Bucerius Press Prize "Free Press Eastern Europe" were awarded at 11 a.m. on Thursday, 12 June, in the Hamburg City Hall.

Totalling EUR 80 000, the prizes were awarded to eight journalists and media: Maria Eismont and Dozhd TV from Russia; Tetiana Chornovol, Yulia Mostova and Mustafa Nayyem from Ukraine; Aliaksandr Klaskouski from Belarus; the Internet channel Objective TV from Azerbaijan and the news website from Armenia.

Read more about the prize laureates in the Fritt Ord Foundation's press release.

Click here to read the speech delivered by Frank Rossavik, member of the Fritt Ord Foundation's Board of Trustees: Der Osten sind wir.

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Mein Europa – FutureLab at Süddeutsche Zeitung


The programme FutureLab Europe focuses on young people between the ages of 20 and 30 who would like to take part in debates and influence the future of Europe. FutureLab Europe was established in 2011 as a cooperative project between 10 European foundations (European Alliance for Democratic Citizenship). This spring, FutureLab Europe has collaborated with the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on a series of articles called «Mein Europa», where young Europeans have written about topics that interest them, from unemployment to European identity.

Since the EU parliamentary election in late May, the focus has been on the election results, with articles about e.g. Marine Le Pen's National Front, a low election turn-out in Slovakia, Belgian nationalism and Greek dissatisfaction. One of FutureLab's Norwegian members, Tonje Olsrud, has written about election coverage and that unique phenomenon known as the EEA agreement. The article can be found on Sü in German translation, and on in English.

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An Encounter between Scandinavian Settlers and Dakota Indians, 1890-1930

Solomon Redfox-familien og en norsk prest.

The Fritt Ord Foundation invites the public to a lecture featuring Karen V. Hansen, Professor of Sociology & Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University, Massachusetts.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 17 June, from 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. at the Fritt Ord Foundation's premises in Uranienborgveien 2, Oslo.

Karen V. Hansen has taken a close look at Scandinavian immigrants who settled on the Spirit Lake Dakota Indian Reservation in North Dakota, and their relationship to the existing local population. Based on the history of Norwegian-Americans, she points out similarities and differences in how the different ethnic groups in the USA have had to defend their identities and cultural expressions.

Commentator: Terje Hasle Joranger, in the History of Migration and Ethnic Studies, and Chair of the Norwegian American Historical Association (NAHA-Norway)

Moderator: Grete Brochmann, Professor in Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO

The discussion will take place in English and is open to everyone.

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The Ministries in London and Oslo

Ole Kolsrud

The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation and the Fritt Ord Foundation invite the public to a series of lectures 'The Ministries 1814–2014 – Debate on the Development of the Public Administration' at the House of Literature, Wergelandsveien 29, Oslo, in May and June 2014.

Last event in the series:

Tuesday, 17 June, 6.00-7.30 p.m.
The Ministries and the Directorates 1945–2014

After the liberation on VE Day in 1945, Norway's public administration expanded vigorously. The growth was especially pronounced at the top level, where the staffs for the prime minister's office and the cabinet ministers offices are assembled and expanded. At the same time, a decentralisation and delegation process was introduced, resulting in the number of decisions taken at the highest level, that is, by the King in the Council of State, showing a steeply diminishing tendency. What is the status of the current debate about the future of the public administration?

Ole Kolsrud, historian and former senior archivist at the National Archives of Norway: About reconstruction, growth and decentralisation in the run-up to today's national public administration
Commentator: Dag Einar Thorsen, associate professor of Political Science at Buskerud and Vestfold University College
Moderator: Agnar Kaarbø, Senior adviser at the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

Past lectures:

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The 50 Year Argument: A Documentary Film by Martin Scorsese & David Tedeschi


The Fritt Ord Foundation invites the public to a screening of Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s new documentary film about the New York Review of Books and its legendary founder and editor, Robert Silvers.

The event will take place on Tuesday 10 June 2014, 19:00–21:00, at The Oslo House of Literature. The screening is preceded by a Skype interview with Martin Scorsese and Robert Silvers from New York.

Free entry, doors open at 18:30.

About the film
“When we started the paper, we weren’t seeking to be part of an establishment,” says Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books. “We were seeking quite the opposite, we were seeking to examine the workings and truthfulness of establishments whether political or cultural.”

Since its founding over fifty years ago during the New York City newspaper strike of 1963, America’s leading journal of ideas has pursued its goal with rigor, a unique style and more than its share of controversy. The 50 Year Argument, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi, rides the waves of literary, political and cultural history in much the same way as the paper itself.

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Knut Olav Åmås joins the Fritt Ord Foundation


Knut Olav Åmås (46) has been named executive director of the Fritt Ord Foundation, succeeding Erik Rudeng, who will be retiring. Åmås will assume his new duties in the autumn.

For the past eight months, Åmås has been state secretary at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Prior to that, he served as editor for Culture, Debate and Research at the national daily newspaper Aftenposten. Åmås also has experience of several other newspapers, in addition to being editor of the journal Samtiden and publishing editor at the Scandinavian University Press.

The incoming executive director has earned a graduate degree (cand. philol.) in Philosophy and a doctorate (dr. philos.) in Media Studies. He has written, edited or translated 16 books. Åmås makes the following observation about his new position:

"The position of executive director of the Fritt Ord Foundation is one of the most seminal, most exciting positions in Norwegian society. It offers unique opportunities to fuel critical, knowledge-based social debate in Norway."

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Application Information

Deadlines and general information

Applications Centre

Norwegian Language Only

Supported projects – examples

Support for journals

Five journals figure on the list of recipients of the Fritt Ord Foundation's minor grants in June 2014. The journal Manifest Tidsskrift received support for a series of articles "Piketty to the People", and the philosophical journal Agora for a themed issue on racism. Seismopolite received a grant for its publication about freedom of expression in photography, film, theatre and performance art, while the Association of 2007 for the Promotion of Artistic Reflection and Debate received a grant for next year's issue of the art journal Second-Class Mail. Support was also granted for magazine Fanfare's #4 on the concept of "bullshit".

A list has been published of the minor grants awarded by the Freedom of Expression Foundation in June 2014 (in Norwegian).

Who is your hero?

The Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Pupils in Upper Secondary School will continue with a new topic in the upcoming school year: "Freedom of expression's heroes and anti-heroes".

To help the participants get started, we would like a contribution from you. Send in a short film clip in which you answer the question about who is your hero or anti-hero, and state your reason why in one sentence. Send the film to or as ‪#‎frittordhelt‬ on Twitter.

Manuscript support for new books

The Fritt Ord Foundation's round of major allocations in June 2014 included grants for 20 Norwegian writers to support the creation of new factual prose. For example, Sidsel Wold received NOK 150 000 for a book project with the working title "How to understand Syria?", while Sølvi Wærhaug received NOK 100 000 for a book on the history of the school of home economics that takes its point of departure in its founder Minna Wetlesen. NOK 150 000 were awarded to Ola Henmo for his documentary book about Karen Friele. Håvard Rem was awarded NOK 125 000 for the book ”Norwegian lyrics”, an historical literary review of Norwegian-language lyrics from 1945 to 2015, and Kjetil Jakobsen was granted NOK 150 000 to work on the second and third volume of the work "The World Citizenry's History of Ideas".

See the entire list of the major grants made by the Fritt Ord Foundation in June 2014.

Contributions to blog projects

The minor grants in May 2014 include two journalistic projects based on blogs as a means of communicating information. Through a blog and a newspaper column in the newspaper Dagsavisen, musician and journalist Aslak Borgersrud will report from the corridors of Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, under the title "A Lout in Parliament". In their project "The Identity of Ukraine", the young journalists Eskil Wie and Frode Nagel Dahl will communicate news items from Ukraine through blogs, websites, exhibitions and books.

A list of the minor grants awarded in May 2014 has been posted.

Festival support

When processing applications for major grants in April 2014, support was given to seven festivals. The Bollywood Festival Norway 2014 and the project "Nobel-Myanmar Literary Festival: Literature: for Peace" were among the recipients, along with the Non-fiction Festival in Oslo and the Festival University at the Oslo Book Festival. Grants were also awarded to the Oslo International Poetry Festival, the Trondheim Documentary Festival and the Literary Festival Words in the Borderland in Fredrikstad. Most of the festivals are scheduled for autumn 2014.

See the list of the major grants awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation's in April 2014.