About the event

We are pleased to present a diverse program for WEXFO Youth Voices, featuring stage performances, debates, workshops, and activities related to freedom of expression.

Opening Performance with Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen

Ella Marie is a Sámi artist, musician, and activist who has made significant contributions to the protection of Sámi rights and indigenous culture in Norway.

As the frontwoman of the band ISÁK, she gained national acclaim for her energetic stage presence and passionate yoik performances. Ella Marie’s solo career now features powerful pop music in the Northern Sámi language.

Her advocacy extends beyond music: She recently played a leading role in peaceful demonstrations against the Norwegian government’s handling of wind turbines threatening Sámi reindeer herding in Fosen, Trøndelag County.

Photo: Mads Suhr Pettersen

Diverse Forms of Expression

This year, we have strengthened the artistic element at WEXFO Youth Voices. We believe that a wide range of expressive forms across art and culture contribute to promoting dialogue, diversity, and tolerance. The intrinsic value of culture is a prerequisite for its other effects, such as integration and democratic development.

Therefore, WEXFO Youth has collaborated with Ungdommens Kulturmønstring (UKM) for several cultural contributions throughout the event. The artists have been selected by the youth groups of both UKM and WEXFO, and they are young artists who have advanced to the UKM Festival 2024. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to enjoy performances by students from Limpi – Lillehammer Institute of Music.

Graffiti Workshop with David Tengs

We are organizing a graffiti workshop with local grafitti artist David Tengs, where young people create “freedom of expression graffiti” together. We want participants to reflect on the boundaries of freedom of speech in public spaces. Where does the line between art and vandalism lie, and can one draw and write anything they wish around our city?

Democracy Workshops in Collaboration with Utøya AS

We continue the collaboration with Utøya on the implementation of democracy workshops. Utøya will be responsible for four workshops that get participants to reflect on their own values, democratic participation, and the opportunities and limitations of freedom of speech.

Human Rights Workshop with the United Nations Association

The United Nations Association of Norway welcomes you to explore the connections between freedom of expression and human rights! What happens when your freedom of expression exceeds my human rights? Do the human rights protect hate speech? What role does trust play for freedom of expression?

Reading Aloud and Workshop with Author Laurie Halse Anderson

In collaboration with the Norwegian Festival of Literature, we offer a reading aloud session with Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson is a New York Times-bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humour and sensitivity. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Two more books, The Impossible Knife of Memory and Shout were long-listed for the National Book Awards. Laurie has been nominated for Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award seven times. The American Library Association gave Laurie the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant contribution to young adult literature. She has been honoured for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. She is a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council and frequently speaks about sexual violence. Source: https://madwomanintheforest.com/

Debates on Freedom of Speech

WEXFO Youth Voices includes several debates on freedom of speech related to environmental activism, artificial intelligence and hate speech and expressions in sports, where both youth and authority figures participate. Sámi artist and activist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen takes part in a debate on environmental activism.

Drawing Workshop

In this drawing workshop, young people will have the opportunity to unleash their creativity around the theme of freedom of expression right on the wall! Using markers, they will continue drawing on what others have already created, expressing thoughts on freedom of expression in a visual and free manner. Throughout the day, different groups will come and draw, and the walls will be covered with visual expressions that grow more and more as more people contribute to the drawings.

The workshop is led by Frøydis H. Knutsen, who is a trained visual artist and educator with many years of experience. As an artist, she has primarily focused on drawing as a form of expression. Currently, she teaches at Nansenskolen and the visual arts program. She has also worked with “Den Kulturelle Skolesekken” as the subject coordinator in Innlandet County.

Speak Up! Freedom Matters – Make Your Own Button

Buttons have a long history and have been used in various contexts. They can have symbolic meaning and have been attached to clothes as decoration or to convey a message. We are organizing a button workshop, where young people can make their buttons with their opinions and expressions. Together, this becomes a large button sculpture with the youth’s views.


In collaboration with Lillehammer Museum and the Norwegian Literature Festival, the concluding part of Aulestad’s “Verditinget” will be conducted at WEXFO Youth on Monday, May 27th. At Aulestad, young people will work on discussing values and freedom of speech, based on the “UNG Survey” from 2023 and the Youth Council on Freedom of Speech. At WEXFO Youth, results and viewpoints will be presented and handed over to local authorities. Read more about Verditinget here (in Norwegian): https://litteraturfestival.no/shows/pegasus-18-verditinget/

Workshop on Combating Hate Speech

Many people are unaware of what hate speech is or how to address it. Combating hate speech begins with open dialogue. During a “What’s Worse” workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the boundaries of freedom of expression, recognize hate speech, and learn how to respond to it.

Other activities

  • Freedom of Expression Puzzle
  • Reflection Tasks
  • Sports activities with a focus on Fair play

World Expression Forum will:


  • be an inspiration internationally, nationally, and locally.
  • be a hub, the central international meeting place for everyone who is concerned with freedom of expression.
  • influence developments through reports and projects, discussions in the Forum and summary afterwards.
  • share experiences, but especially search for best practices for improvement.
  • seek cooperation with others to develop offers of Forum gatherings elsewhere as well.
  • participate in developing the local cooperation in the region on freedom of expression, with
    institutions such as the Norwegian Festival of Literature , Lillehammer UNESCO City of Literature and ICORN.
  • reflect diversity in the work and in the organization.

World Expression Forum (WEXFO) was established as an ideal joint stock company on 20 August 2021.

Norway is one of the countries in the world with the highest degree of freedom of expression, according to Freedom of Expression Index (Our World in Data). Lillehammer is a UNESCO City of Literature, an ICORN city of refuge for artists at risk, and is the host of the biggest literature festival in Scandinavia. Both the city, the region (Innlandet) and Norway as a country are committed to supporting freedom of expression around the world.

WEXFO wants to inspire progress for freedom of expression on all levels of society – internationally, nationally and locally.