Children’s Right to Culture at the Göteborg Book Fair next week

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Heads up for this year’s edition of the Göteborg Book Fair! Focusing on reading promotion, the Swedish Arts Council will present a much bigger stage – Ung scen (Stage for the Young) – than usual, an over 170 square meter stand and an extensive program. The overall theme is Children’s Right to Culture, which makes the program a continuation of the venture of the Bologna Book Fair 2013, when the Sweden was guest of honor. A lot of organisations have been envolved in the program planning: other authorities, agencies, publishers and reading promoters, and also organisations whitin sports, the media and schools. Eva Ottosson, project manager at the Swedish Arts Council:

– The point is that we need to engage people. When we engage and use the platforms, venues and powers that we already have, we´ve got a strong joint movement for children’s rights to culture and young people’s reading.

Another topic which permeates this year’s program is the 25 year celebration of the UN Rights of the Child. The CRC recognizes the individual child’s right to participate feely in cultural life and arts. Signatory States should respect and promote this right. They should also encourage the availability of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural and artistic activities.

– Seemingly, this is obvious, but in practice it is not always easy, says Eva Ottosson. What do we mean by these fine and important words?

Photo: Jonas Hallqvist

Johan Unenge. Photo: Jonas Hallqvist

The previous – and present – laureates of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented in the stand, and this year’s laureate Barbro Lindgren will participate in a full program on Thursday, September 25. Among many many interesting lectures and seminars, we look forward to listen to Johan Unenge on the first day of the fair. Johan is an author, former National Ambassador for Reading and new “reading coach” for reading promotion project “Pause”, a collaboration between the Swedish Arts Council and the sports movement to inspire young athletes to read books in their spare time.

A longer seminar will focus on children’s right to culture celebrating 25 years. Under the headline Vision and reality, a talk on how to ensure children’s right to culture is conducted by author and illustrator Pernilla Stalfelt, poet Daniel Boyacioglu, UNICEF Program Manager Christina Heilborn, Sylvia Blomberg and Benny Marcel, Head of Department of Arts and Culture at the Swedish Arts Council.

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