How free should artistic expression be?Speakers include: Linda Bellos - campaigner, political activist, former leader of Lambeth Council and director of Diversity Solutions Consultancy Ltd; Karen Chouhan - chair, Black Londoners Forum, board member 1990 Trust and recipient of JRCT Visionary Award; Shirley Dent - communications director, Institute of Ideas and development editor of reviews website www.culturewars.org.uk; Louise Jury - journalist, arts correspondent, The Independent; Humera Khan - freelance consultant, researcher, founder member An-Nisa Society, founding editor Q-News; and Claire Fox - Director, Institute of Ideas, panelist on BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze.Art and literature can hit where it hurts. Artists can deal with the extremes of the human condition, giving us access to experiences beyond our own lives. But what happens when things turn nasty and art offends, upsets, or angers? From the fury of Sikhs at the play Bezhti in 2004, or Christians at Jerry Springer the Opera in 2005, to the protests in 2006 at the filming of Monica Ali's Brick Lane by those who objected to her portrayal of the Bangladeshi community, it seems we live in an atmosphere of heightened sensitivity to anything that might cause offense. Will more arts organizations feel unable to withstand pressure to curtail the free expression of art? Will we see more of the sort of self-censorship exercised by the Deutsche Oper Berlin, which canceled its production of Mozart's Idomeneo because of security fears stirred by a scene that depicts the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad? - Institute of Ideasmoreless
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