Culture » Overview

exploring the transformative power of the arts – building bridges across cultures – supporting young cultural innovators

The Salzburg Global Seminar’s Culture and the Arts Program focuses on the transformative power of the arts, facilitates cultural exchange at multiple levels, and provides capacity-building opportunities through the annual Young Cultural Innovators Forum. Through multi-year projects and strategic convenings, the Culture and Arts Program seeks to secure a more prominent role for the arts on policy agendas and to support the continuously evolving needs of the creative sector – as a major driver of sustainable economic development and social improvement – through the multi-year Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.

 

Sessions in 2017:

The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal 
February 7 to 12, 2017 

Salzburg Global Young Cultural Innovators Forum: Regional Fellows Event
April 27 to 29, 2017

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV
October 14 to 19, 2017

For past sessions, click here


Rajan Kotru - “If the Himalayan ecosystem remains intact, there will be people rushing there to pursue their spiritual ideals...”
Rajan Kotru - “If the Himalayan ecosystem remains intact, there will be people rushing there to pursue their spiritual ideals...”
Christopher Hamill-Stewart 
Rajan Kotru, head of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) program on Transboundary Landscapes, attended the Salzburg Global Seminar session The Next Frontier: Transboundary Conservation for Biodiversity and Peace. His project “Kailash Sacred Landscape” is a transboundary conservation initiative covering an area in the Himalayas where China, India, and Nepal all have territory. The project focuses on the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, but with an additional emphasis on cultural conservation – conservation aimed at maintaining the culturally and spiritually significant parts of the landscape. While in Salzburg, Kotru took some time to discuss the importance of integrating spiritual and cultural conservation with more traditional conservation.
Despite a range of conservation efforts in the region beginning in 2005, issues of cultural conservation have remained largely ignored. The majority of efforts focused on tangible or measurable issues, such as ensuring the preservation of natural resources. Rajan Kotru wants to change this.
Kotru believes “the cultural legacy of the Indian sub-continent is linked to the ecosystems and the geographic assets that we have,” with the most important “sacred asset” being the Himalayas. The degradation of geographic assets can have a similar effect on the area's cultural history and significance. These assets are valuable to the local populations, and they are a large source of income for the region: “people are rushing to the Himalayas to meet Buddhists and to meditate.” 
Kotru claims many of the services coming from the Kailash Sacred Landscape are quickly degrading. Nevertheless, there is cause to remain optimistic. Kotru says, "Despite all this degradation that has been happening in the recent years, people are still coming to the Himalayas for spiritual reasons.” The Himalayas clearly still have great value to many individuals from a spiritual perspective, but, because of this rapid degradation of the ecosystems and environment, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to preserve this cultural heritage. The narrow lens of protecting physical resources, like wood and water, is leaving valuable but less tangible assets, like sacred landscapes and important religious sites, to be eroded away. Kotru believes that to change the way we preserve these precious areas, we need to “change the way we think.”
The example of the Bhutanese model, which measures the happiness of the nation as an important factor in assessing the effectiveness of government, is one example that Kotru studied when looking at the value of cultural preservation. “Culture and spirituality are pillars of happiness,” he says, and so this model is one that is worth studying. In Bhutan, the preservation of cultural heritage is important to the people and the state, because they measure the nation’s happiness. He concedes, “It would be difficult to emulate Bhutan’s model in other countries,” but the emphasis on “respect for culture and for nature” is a lesson that can be almost universally applied.
Kotru makes it clear that “if the Himalayan ecosystem remains intact, there will be people rushing there to pursue their spiritual ideals.” If we change our way of thinking, as Bhutan has, by emphasizing the protection of cultural and spiritual landscapes this will have benefits for biodiversity conservation, for the economic well-being of the areas and its inhabitants, and for the ancient cultures and traditions that are so important in these regions.
Rajan Kotru was a participant in the Salzburg Global session The Next Frontier: Transboundary Cooperation for Biodiversity and Peace, which is part of the multi-year Parks for the Planet Forum. This session was hosted in partnership with IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), MAVA Foundation, Arcus Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation, German cooperation (Deutsche Zusammenarbeit), Huffington Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation, and others. More information on the session can be found here.
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Eileen Briggs - "We are definitely in a reactionary mode"
Eileen Briggs spoke to FM4 while she attended The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal
Eileen Briggs - "We are definitely in a reactionary mode"
Oscar Tollast 
Salzburg Global Fellow Eileen Briggs has revealed how art and creativity is being used to express opposition to the controversial Dakota oil pipeline. Briggs, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, spoke to Bethany Bell for FM4 while attending Salzburg Global's session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal. US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for the construction of the Dakota oil pipeline to be completed.  Protestors from the Standing Rock movement believe the construction of the pipeline will affect the quality of drinking water. Briggs tells FM4 that she's "fiercely" part of the protection of her water and, "We are definitely in a reactionary mode." Prayer and songs have been used to express opposition. While being interviewed, Briggs performs a song that talks about walking on Mother Earth in a gentle way. You can listen to the full interview below. 
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What can we learn from the art of resilience?
What can we learn from the art of resilience?
Oscar Tollast 
  There is an untapped potential for the arts and cultural sector to enhance resilience of individuals, communities and societies. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and unexpected challenges. While other industries have previously been the first port of call, the arts and the cultural sector continues to have an influence. It can inspire, catalyze, and sustain projects which bring about positive change.  During a five-day session, participants at Salzburg Global’s session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal discussed art and resilience and how it links across several thematic areas. These areas included: refugees, migration and integration; climate change; indigenous communities; post-conflict settings; urban upheaval and social injustice; and cultural heritage. Listed below are a few of the participants’ summarized thoughts from the final day’s wrap-up session. Art can help build the resilience that... ...Is required in post-conflict settings There can be at least three groups within a conflict: the victims, perpetrators, and the people left in between. Each group - indeed each person - will have a different experience. When looking at a post-conflict setting, it is advisable to analyze the situation in a more diverse way and identify the needs of everyone. With this in mind, “renewal” is a term which deserves as much attention as resilience. For renewal to occur, it is important to create spaces where people can meet. Spaces have to be open where people can “breathe again.” People on opposing sides cannot live together unless there is recognition of what has occurred. Survivors of massacres might not even know what has happened. The topic, however traumatic, has to be explored; these challenging stories can be told through the arts - enabling individuals and communities to heal. ...Surrounds refugees, migration, and integration Freedom of creative expression is a fundamental right for all displaced people. One way to address the needs of refugees, forced migrants, and displaced people through arts and culture is to create and design an arts-based policy framework. This structure can enhance opportunities and respect for migrants and refugees. The fundamental principles to address are artistic aesthetics and praxis, narratives of integration and impact, and deepening public discourse on identity and perceptions of display. The arts can create opportunities for displaced artists to curate and be curated across regional and international platforms, reaching new diverse audiences. Displaced artists aren’t merely subjects, but are both creators and collaborators. Fellows proposed a research and mapping exercise which may be achieved in collaboration with a global network of arts councils, a dedicated Salzburg Global Seminar session, and pilot projects emanating from the work. ...Comes from reinventing and reclaiming cultural heritage It’s the icon we often think of when cultural heritage comes to mind. Heritage proves existence, identity, indigenousness and our connection to history. It can prove you have the right to belong to the world. Preservation is a Western construct, as are museums. Art can help us to re-establish ourselves. The more we don’t know of our past, the more others can tell us who we are in the present - rightly and wrongly. Action should be taken to protect cultural artefacts before it is too late. Cultural heritage remains alive through art. Heritage is a layering of times, periods, events and our responses to them. Resilience is choosing how to live. It can be wearing a mask, adopting a persona, and acting “strong enough.” Something can become heritage when an old dance format is revived with new costumes and new themes. Out of it comes a strengthened old form and becomes an example of resilience.  ...Is needed to face climate change One of the biggest challenges we face on this planet is climate change, tackling its effects and preventing further damage from taking place. Culture-based solutions need to be scaled up and accelerated to respond to areas of concern. This action needs to take place at all levels of society. Salzburg Global Fellows suggested bringing greater visibility to the arts and cultural sector, while also creating a network of champions at a local level. The work of C40 Cities is a good example of an organization that is bringing cities to the forefront of positive change. Training programs could be constructed to relay and repeat the message. Later this year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will host a Climate Change Conference in Bonn. The UNFCCC will promote art and culture related to climate change ahead of the conference. Efforts should be made to alter the minds of people in management in cities. Good work by local residents has to be made more visible.  ...Tackles urban upheaval In times of urban upheaval, alienation can come from dislocation, natural disasters, climate change, etc. Alienation is a form of injury. Artists can help by making the invisible visible. Artists can create beauty in environments previously destroyed. Spaces for creative collaboration across sectors should be promoted, creating a language for global wealth with an art lens. Social cultural agents and interactive areas can be strengthened to become change facilitators. Artistic tools should be identified to build social architecture that will be the foundation of urban infrastructure. Salzburg Global Fellows recommended that there should be a global platform for best practices and organizations that work on social cultural change transformation through the arts. We should promote public spaces that set the framework for action.  ...Shown by indigenous communities During the focus group discussions at The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal, the discussion on climate change generated thoughts on indigenous people’s own narratives and traumas. The focus group reviewed how indigenous people fitted in these stories. “There is a better way to be human for all of us.” Change is coming, so how can we work together? Language can be used to find meaning. Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage is found in community and self-determination. The cost of speed is panic and exclusion, and exclusion concerns the people affected first. Individuals who have been resilient through trauma can act as role models. Indigenous communities have stories which define values and help prepare them for the future - and these should be shared more widely.   Moving forward Conversations during the session repeatedly came back to what is personal. There is a need for broad-based coalitions to tackle some of the issues. Fellows will now consider what they will do when they go back to work, what knowledge they will take from the five-day program and how art can be at the center of what they do. It’s important to venture out and speak to different groups, they were reminded. It’s also significant to connect with other sectors and form cross-sector partnerships. For these partnerships to exist, participants need to look at how the arts can speak to donors and organizations unassociated with the arts. Can this cohort of 60 Fellows help people reconnect with their creativity? Good things take time. It is important to persist even if progress isn't achieved in a week. Success will be measured by how the Fellows continue to work together and secure their future.

The Salzburg Global program The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal is part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The session is being supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can read all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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Anida Yoeu Ali - “You can have very powerful conversations without speaking a single word”
Anida Yoeu Ali - “You can have very powerful conversations without speaking a single word”
Andrea Abellan 
Anida Yoeu Ali likes to refer to herself as a “global agitator” It is the best way for her to define the social provocation her art is constantly seeking. The poem she shared with the audience at the opening of the recent Salzburg Global Seminar session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, set the tone for the following five days, creating a special and inspiring atmosphere: 
I will return to a country I have never known
That burns a hole inside my heart the size of home
The piece, titled Visiting Loss, describes how she felt before returning to Cambodia, her country of origin, after 25 years living in the United States. Her path to self-discovery and reflections about her own identity play a fundamental role in her work. 
Ali combines her work as an Art and Global Studies teacher at the University of Washington Bothell with the development of her own projects through Studio Revolt, a media-lab she manages with the Japanese filmmaker Masahiro Sugano. Together they develop “unconventional narratives” that range from short videos and films to live performances. These projects largely differ to what audiences are used to finding in traditional media, both in terms of content and form. Although she points out that they are not always fully understood by the audience, Ali keeps believing in that “sort of chemistry” that emerges when connecting her creative performances with Masahiro’s special visual aesthetics.
The Buddhist Bug, one of her most recognized projects, is one such example. It consists of a bright, huge, saffron-colored creature that Ali has taken to a number of open spaces. The main goal of this project is to raise awareness about identity and displacement issues. Ali’s body is a fundamental part of the performance as it makes the bug be alive and able to move so it can get closer to people. 
“The work I do would not mean anything without the use of my body,” she explains. “I truly think that arts, and specifically performance, can engage the audience through the energy that our body emits. Of course I want people to ask themselves questions while observing my work, but I also want them be aware of those different emotions that are surfacing. You can have very powerful conversations without speaking a single word.” 
Another important feature that characterizes the Buddhist Bug is the use of humor to talk about challenging and compelling topics. “It leads the audience to reflect on different subject such as the challenges of religious hybridity, or what the sense of belonging and tolerance means. However, people always have to look twice to understand what is really happening. Then they smile, or laugh because in the end they are just looking at a bug,” Ali states.
Her work is usually placed in public spaces; location a key part of her performances. Ali’s goal is to take contemporary arts out of galleries, the “boxes” where artistic representations are frequently trapped. Her hope is to open conversations with bigger populations. The “surprise element” is another of her priorities when building a project. The original – and not discreet – clothes she wears together with her unexpected actions enable her to catch audience’s attention when they less expect it. The artist likes playing with the surprise factor as a form of engagement. 
Even though she recognizes that she could not imagine herself doing anything else rather than arts and teaching, she is very clear when talking about the difficulties that being an artist involves. “You must have a lot of faith and courage to do what you do. As artists we often lack resources and proper support. Also, we are constantly judged, especially in my case as my work is always placed in the street. I get a lot of criticism and judgement by the press and through social media. I guess you need a very thick skin to do this” she declares.
Despite the many difficulties her work involves, she still has many ideas to keep the audience surprised. For instance, she is planning to focus her next project in the United States on the so called “Trumplands,” those areas where the current president was voted for the most. “I am very interested in opening up discussion there. These are mostly rural areas where people do not see difference so they can only imagine what difference means and that often relies just on stereotypes and misinformation,” Ali explains.
When asked about the outcomes she was expecting to achieve through her participation it the session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, she didn’t hesitate for a second. “I believe we have to create and reinforce these international connections as we have already started to do. We need to break up our bubbles and try to put ourselves on the radar. As artists we should work together for our communities and the world.” 
To conclude, Ali insists on “the need to produce new and innovative projects, instead of keep trying to make old models work – which did not help in the past.” 
The Salzburg Global program The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal is part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The session is being supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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Orijit Sen - "Comics allow the audience to identify with the characters – it lets them enter their world"
Anida Youe Ali
Orijit Sen - "Comics allow the audience to identify with the characters – it lets them enter their world"
Andrea Abellan 
Comics have traditionally been used to tell fictional stories, but the medium can also be an interesting format to portray reality. In fact, in recent years well-established media outlets have increasingly used this storytelling method, publishing cartoons to inform about current affairs. Indian graphic artist and designer Orijit Sen, a participant of the Salzburg Global Seminar session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, shares his thoughts on the medium and how he has used illustrations to tell difficult and compelling stories. AA: You say that Art Spiegelmann’s graphic novel Maus had a strong influence on you. In this work the artist talks about his own challenges of being in a Jewish family during the holocaust. Do you also find motivation from your own experiences to create your drawings? OS: I am a visual artist and my main goal is to tell stories through my drawings. It is the reason why I prefer to define myself as a “storyteller”. I grew up in India during the 70s – in that time TV was not as common as it is nowadays. I have been drawing since I was a child as comics were the easiest way we had to create our own visual culture. Every time I build a story I fully immerse myself in it first. My work is all about my personal experience so I would never make a piece of a place where I have never been or someone I have never met. I came across Art Spiegelmann’s Maus while I was at college studying graphic design and as soon as I found this piece I realized that serious comics were the thing I wanted to do for my whole life. AA: Your piece, River of Stories, considered to be India’s first graphic novel, talks about environmental, social and political issues surrounding the construction of the controversial dam on the Narmada River. Why do you think comics are suitable medium to raise public awareness? OS: Comics as a medium of storytelling allow the audience to identify with the characters – it lets them enter their world. In my illustrations, I try to be very detailed. I like painting people’s faces, their eyes and gestures, trying to be as accurate as possible. When I finished university, I got involved in an environmental group. We travelled together to Jhabua area, in central India. We met a lot of people there fighting against the dam project. However, the story of all these protests did not make it to the city. People would only see one side of the story: how great it was to have electricity and other facilities thanks to the dam construction. They did not reflect on how much did that the electricity cost and how many people had been displaced to pay for it. Stories like this one are usually told by figures and numbers so it is hard for individuals to relate to them. You can of course understand what it means when 1,000 people have lost their homes if you read about it, but it is not the same as when you can see it. Comics help us to engage with a topic and become immersed in it. You are one of the founders of the Pao Collective, which seeks to supports comics as a medium in India. How would you describe the state of comics industry in the country? The status of comics has evolved a lot since I first published River of Stories in 1994. Mainstream publishers are relying on Indian cartoonists more and more. But even today, comic artists in India cannot make of it a full-time job and still must dedicate their time to something else for their living. We have many good, young, talented artists with amazing ideas but we unfortunately are still lacking funding. From 2009 to 2011 you collaborated in the creation of A Place in Punjab, one of the world’s largest hand-painted mural installed at Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum. What message did you want to convey with it? The government asked me to make a mural for the museum to represent the cultural heritage and landscape of Punjab area. Again, my main goal was to tell the real stories of the people living there and properly describe their hopes and tragedies. I realized how many different perspectives Punjab’s inhabitants have about the same place. People used to talk a lot about how different the area was before the green business arrived. For instance, they repeatedly mentioned the ponds, where they used to spend lot of their time swimming with the buffalos and mingling with other people. However, when I was there I found all these ponds to be very dirty and only full of trash. I decided to create the Landscape of Memories where I portrayed both perspectives, past and present, so it was easy for visitors to compare them. The mural acts as a “storytelling mirror”. In your presentation at the Salzburg Global Seminar session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, you have showed some pieces of your project Mapping Mapusa Market. What inspired you to start it? In the past I used to live in Goa and go to Mapusa market with my family quite frequently. It was always fascinating as it was full of amazing products and people. Later, when I was invited as a visiting professor at Goa University, I thought it would be a good idea to involve students from very different fields such as arts or history to work together. What we are doing at the moment is tracking and mapping different aspects of the market. This work is resulting in a visual map where people, products, and techniques are depicted. What are you expecting from this session? This is a very special opportunity. Here we are, 50 people from all over the world sharing so many different perspectives. It is a unique situation. More than specific expectations I am looking forward to be “surprised”. And so far, I think this is what will happen.
The Salzburg Global program The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal is part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The session is being supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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How art and the cultural sector can support indigenous communities
How art and the cultural sector can support indigenous communities
Oscar Tollast 
When we talk about refugees and migrants, we think of people who have been compelled to leave their homelands. In the case of indigenous communities, we see people trying to keep close and connected to their land and roots - yet they are often also marginalized. In the world today, there are at least 370 million people who are indigenous. Despite colonization, marginalization and discrimination, indigenous peoples across the planet have continued to show resilience in the face of adversity, maintaining and reaffirming their cultures, languages, and social institutions. 
Indigenous communities have had to withstand shocks in the face of difficult conditions. Even today, battles continue. In North America, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is fighting against the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. In February, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) was given formal permission to continue laying the pipeline under a North Dakota reservoir. The project previously stalled following protests from Native American communities. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says the pipeline endangers its drinking water. A legal challenge has again been filed to stall the project’s completion. In January, Indigenous Australians marked "Invasion Day" - more commonly known as "Australia Day" - marking the British colonization of the country. The creative sector provides a source of unconventional thinking and innovation, opening up opportunities to capture civic imagination for greater cohesion and resilience. As part of a panel discussion at The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal, Salzburg Global Fellows considered the ways in which artists, cultural workers, and creatives could inspire and strengthen the capacities of indigenous communities. Listed below are a few of their summarized thoughts.
Art can provide education and stimulate social development
Charities such as Amantani work to improve the lives of children, providing greater access to education in rural areas. Since 2008, it has helped marginalized Quechua families in Peru. It has attempted to bridge the gap between home and school for people living in Ccorca. Its Educational Boarding Houses enable the most disadvantaged children in Ccorca to have a place to stay near school, allowing time for extra support and community outreach projects.  
Amantani works in a small district comprised of eight communities. The young people are growing up in a different world to what their parents experienced. Amantani helps these young people to take on the narrative of their own communities, change it, and retell their stories from a positive point of view through their video project "Meet My World". Young people went into their communities and looked for things they wanted to teach others. Short films were made by young people about the production of food and how to have fun without technology. One film showed a child teaching his audience how to catch a fish with their bare hands. Films like this are now shown all over the world. This has led to a large emotional response, including many thank you cards. Through this method of art, children gain skills to negotiate Peru’s modern society, while reinforcing indigenous autonomy. 
Art allows people to remember who they are and where they come from
The root of resilience is relationships - respecting, renewing and remember our relationships to all things. Organizations like First Peoples Fund in the US support the “collective spirit” of First Peoples artists and culture bearers. It provides tools, resources and a voice to Indigenous artists. The organization was founded in 1995. It describes “collective spirit” as the feeling which encourages people to stand up and make a difference and to ensure ancestral knowledge is passed on. It believes in the power of art and culture to bring about positive change in Native communities. It works alongside community-based partners across Indian Country to strengthen their capacity. Since its establishment, First Peoples Fund has supported thousands of artists. It has awarded $1.5 million in direct grants to individual artists and $1 million to community-based organizations. The story of resilience can be rooted in songs, stories, and the ways in which people have kept to their way of life. 
The cultural sector has a responsibility to accurately tell histories
Despite the mainstreaming of Indigenous art, such as dot paintings, which decorate walls of contemporary offices across Australia, there still lacks a widespread understanding for the stories and the complexity of culture behind such artworks. Many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians consider the nation to be in the midst of a history and culture war, determining what version of the country's history is told and valued. Controversies include the opening of the National Museum of Australia in 2001, which led to accusations that the exhibitions had politicized the country's history. First Nations people have been able to regain their identity as as the original inhabitants of Australia, following the Racial Discrimination Act (1975), but social marginalization persists. There is a view that the First Nations people in Australia “should know their place,” representing a significant barrier to achieving meaningful recognition within its constitution.
The arts and cultural sector has a significant role to play to ensure that indigenous peoples' histories and cultures are represented accurately and respectfully. As one Fellow remarked, “I strongly believe in the power of museums and the creative sector. More broadly, I believe they have a responsibility in building social capital. I believe they have a civic role and can be agents for social and political change if carried out in a non-polemical way.” Art can give a voice to those who need it  Art can move us, but not always to action. Some of us can feel changed and inspired to continue creating art as if it does matter. It can give us new pictures of the world, influencing patterns of behavior. Art is not essential to our survival, but it is integral to our humanity. Art can be a way for the marginalized, refused and repressed to return. In the making and adoration of art, there is a space of difference - even resistance - where people can find refuge from ideas that otherwise rule them. Cultural decolonization covers two areas. It is about unsettling settlers while also helping them to adapt as non-colonial persons with Indigenous spaces. It is also about First Nations, Inuit and Métis people being themselves by struggling to make new ways of being Indigenous within the complex of the contemporary negotiations of Aboriginal/settler/international Indigenous identities. Beautiful works of art display world views but sometimes fail to explain them. To design effective decolonizing tools from art, “artists should look beyond visual allure alone.” Aboriginal culture before contact was neither de-colonial or activist. Art as a form of de-colonial activism is the result of contact. It emerges from cultures in collision. De-colonial pieces of art are neither wholly Indigenous nor western. Native contemporary artists create work in the space of cultural overlap.  As a society, we should consider centering the Aboriginal and Indigenous, “not out of guilt, deference, or an expression of multicultural inclusion… but because we recognize it as a better way of knowing and being in these territories…” 
The Salzburg Global program The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal is part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The session is being supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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How art heals trauma and urban upheaval
How art heals trauma and urban upheaval
Oscar Tollast 
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the world is experiencing the highest levels of displacement on record. Around the planet, 65.3 million people have been forced to leave their home. Of this number, 21.3 million people are refugees. 
It is an ongoing complex challenge which requires cross-sector support and knowledge. Each day, nearly 34,000 people are reportedly forcibly displaced. Each sector can provide a skillset to meet this challenge, including the arts and cultural sector.
The role of the arts and cultural sector and resilience is being discussed by Salzburg Global Seminar at the session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal. Fellows at this session have a vast amount of experience in their fields. Here are a few of their thoughts:
Art can give people a safe platform to “kill” others and express anger
In times of upheaval and chaos, people should have the freedom to express their inner feelings and opinions on the challenges they face. The conflict in Syria, which has left a mark on people for “six horrifying years,” has let their desires and feelings rise to the surface, whether right or wrong. It is important those suffering in times like this have an artistic platform to express these feelings in a safe space and have scenarios acted out on stage, rather than in real life. 
“All this violence is initiating vengeance and initiating more killings and revenge. I think the arts is a solution in this case because it gives a safe platform for the whole desires and feelings, no matter how extreme they are through the medium of fantasy. On stage, you can kill who you want, and in a film, you can do this, but you can’t do it in real life. I think if we provide art as an alternative platform for violence, we can release all of these sentiments that [otherwise] result in such an extreme cases of violence.”
Art can be used to respond to urban upheaval in cities
The world is becoming more urban by the minute. By 2030, six out of 10 people will be urban dwellers. Mexico City is a young, dynamic metropolis but it also has the oldest urban agglomeration on the continent. Organizations such as Laboratorio Para La Ciudad, made up of architects, designers, editors, urban planners and more, are looking for creative ways to connect governments and citizens. Laboratorio Para La Ciudad has attempted to map Mexico City’s transit system. Unofficial routes have sprung up over the years in response to demand. The Lab helped create Mapaton, a government-civil society collaborative initiative that provides a database of the formal and informal public transportation system. Riders can share GPS data with a database, mapping their routes as they ride. Users are incentivized as the more points they attain, the increased chance they have of winning a prize. 
It’s an example of how civil society, private enterprise, and government can have a successful partnership. It's working in Mexico City - and could work elsewhere. Creating access to information can create more opportunities.
Art can play a part for those seeking justice Art can teach those in times of war how to cope during and after the conflict is officially over. As part of the self-healing process, we have to ask ourselves where acceptance of past atrocities features. Does it come before forgiveness or can it only feature afterward? Acceptance does not necessarily lead to reconciliation, which can be a "dirty word" in some circles. In the hope of stopping atrocities happening again, art therapy can help people to accept and admit what happened, regret their actions, and ask for forgiveness - which may or may not be given. The difficulty lies in understanding that justice can differ from person to person. In some cases, one generation has had a process of reconciliation and yet the next generation felt that that experience been taken away from them. "Justice is not simply justice. It could be any number of things. Justice for one person is very different to justice for someone else." Art can help later generations understand traumatic experiences
The devastation which occurs after war can be hugely disorienting. It can cut across generations affecting parents, children, and grandchildren. There’s a “massive disruption” to the fabric of inter-generational relationships. Art is a tool to reconnect with people’s pasts and tackle uncomfortable areas. Art and performance can begin to fill some of those gaps and play an integral part in explaining points of history otherwise incomprehensible to those not present. Inspiring examples can be taken from projects and work in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Uganda. If there are a lack of trained professionals to deal with a mental health crises, arts organizations can step in. In Uganda, for example, spaces have been created where people can talk and make art together, helping people feel human and have something to offer the world. As Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
The Salzburg Global program The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal is part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The session is being supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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VOICES FROM YOUNG CULTURAL LEADERS

How should cultural institutions approach the creation and articulation of value?
Albino Jopela, archaelogist and lecturer at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique suggests that considering the values of all of the stakeholders in a community will help ensure relevance and sustainability.


Why is it important for arts leaders to engage in cross-cultural conversations?
Jimena Lara Estrada, program coordinator for the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, talks about connecting with other leaders and the hope that it instills.

How do you articulate value of arts in a society where it is largely seen as a commodity?
Eyad Houssami, founding director of Masrah Ensemble in Lebanon, talks about the challenges of making a case for the arts in a society where the concept of public value is very limited.

What role should orchestras play in their communities?
Mark Gillespie, general and artistic manager of Orchestra of the Americas and Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders Fellow, suggests that orchestras should connect with youth at a very early age so that musicians grow out of the community.