Critics Without Borders is a cultural exchange with film critics and writers from the Arab world and the Nordic region. In total, 10 critics will participate in the project.

The workshop will be held 6-10 October. During the five-day network meeting, members will participate in both internal and public seminars, panel debates, and master classes.

The workshop will cover all costs for flights, hotel and food during the stay.


In forehand of the project all participants will write a research paper that will form the basis for the network meetings. The paper should focus on democracy, freedom of expression, the relationship between the Nordic / Western world respectively Arab country / Arab countries socially, politically and cinematographically. 

Critics Without Borders, Nordic countries – Egypt 2017

The project highlights the role that film criticism can play in strengthening democracy and freedom of expression. The film critic’s task is to put the films and stories in an artistic, social and political context. It is also their function providing critical reflections and creating broad discussions about pressing topics.

– The project aims to show, discuss, and highlight how film and film criticism can be highly important in how film criticism can raise awareness about delicate political and social issues is one of the questions we will try to address.

– Ten film critics from the Nordic countries and Egypt will participate in the programme that will be held in Malmö, Sweden, October 6-10, 2017. For five days, the critics will participate in both internal and public seminars, panel debates, and master classes. One of the project goals is to create a sustainable network of Nordic and Egyptian film critics and provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.

In advance of the project days in Malmö, the participants will be asked to write a research paper/essay treating one or several of the following themes: democracy, freedom of speech or censorship/self-censorship. A more specific theme of each paper will be discussed in forehand to get a wider variety of texts. The research papers will be 5-10 A4 pages long and will provide us with a basis for the panel debates and seminars that will be held in Malmö.

The participants will also be given the chance to present their ideas to a film festival audience. A part of the project is to (after the project days in Malmö) develop the research papers into a book (anthology) – a collection of essays on film criticism and democratisation. The publication will be bi-lingual and contain an English and an Arabic version of all essays.

The prospect of making the participants’ essays into a book, will enable the film critics to continue to work together, collaborate, and contribute to the creation of for the future sustainable network of film critics. Through the work with the anthology the participants will continue to be active in the questions that the project seeks to address. Moreover, the publication will hopefully engage writers and filmmakers that have not been project participants.

– Self-censorship is an issue not only for Egyptian film critics, but also for writers from the Nordic countries. Journalists in the Nordic countries that write about sensitive political issues such as immigration or women’s rights have experienced a rise in threats from extremists in recent years. The problem of self-censorship is therefore highly relevant in a discussion of democracy and the freedom of speech both in the Nordic countries and Egypt. The problem of how to reach out with film criticism and cultural writing to the young generations are also important issues to be discussed. We believe that film criticism and cultural writing can be important tools in bringing about change and working towards democratisation.

– The film market is a male-dominated field, and it is vital therefore that film critics engage in discussions of gender inequality and discrimination. We will strive to have gender equality among the participants and a mix of ages.