Freedom from Fear – A Transatlantic Dialogue on the Human Right to a Life Without Fear

In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed four goals for “people everywhere in the world”: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. 

These Four Freedoms became part of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt equated “Freedom from Fear” mainly with overcoming war and violence. Today, the global consequences of the pandemic, climate change and of rapid digital evolution and the resulting social change have triggered various fears all over the world.

As social seismographs, the protagonists of the bi-weekly “Freedom from Fear” video series Sasha Waltz, Peter Sellars, Rosa Barba, Martha Nussbaum, just to name a few, will reflect on the significance of the right to live without fear in search of answers: How can literature, dance, music, philosophy and politics address social fears?


Ep. 1 - Felicitas Hoppe

Georg Büchner Prize winner Felicitas Hoppe attaches greater importance to freedom from fear than to freedom of expression and religion, since "freedom from fear or from anxiety or threat [is] actually the basic prerequisite of the other three freedoms that Roosevelt propagates, that is, if I cannot guarantee this, then I will have neither freedom of expression nor will I be able to practice my religion, and my basic existential needs will not be secured either."

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Ep. 2 - Sam Durant

U.S. multimedia artist Sam Durant, whose work often addresses social, political, and cultural issues by recalling historical events or movements, states, "We need to overcome the fear that keeps us from imagining how we can change negative conditions like persecution, prejudice, racism."

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Ep. 3 - Sasha Waltz

In this new episode of "Freedom from Fear", Sasha Waltz answers Sam Durant's question if dance can help to break free from fear.

When she's working on a new piece, Sasha Waltz tries to perceive what is currently happening in society and explores these states with her dance ensemble. It needs to be something that touches her deeply, a mood that can become the driving force for a new choreography.

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Ep. 4 - Peter Sellars

This episode features theater and opera director Peter Sellars. He argues that “the more you are really working with your fear, the more you can help someone else to work through their fear. And that’s what we do as artists.”

Watch the internationally-acclaimed director and professor at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance reflect on Sasha Waltz’s question about a spiritual exercise to cope with fear.

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