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 2018:

The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology, and Making Sense of the Future - February 20 to 25, 2018

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators V - October 16 to 21, 2018

For past sessions, click here

Artists & Scientists Pledge Partnerships for Public Good
Artists & Scientists Pledge Partnerships for Public Good
Stuart Milne 
Session 547 | The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity & Innovation? came to an exciting and optimistic end on Thursday February 26.

After hammering out their resolutions and preparing their presentations in the morning, the focus groups reported to the final gathering of Fellows in Parker Hall. One key theme emerging from the conclusions was how to improve collaboration between scientists and artists. Here are some of the main points:

One group proposed forming imagination hubs, or incubators, where scientists and artists can be free to inhabit each other's space and, as one Fellow put it, "hang out, but in a deep way".

Fostering better relations between scientists and artists was a thread picked up by a number of focus groups. One suggested mirroring artist-in-residence programs by setting up arrangements for visiting scientists and scientist residencies in art departments to allow artists deeper access to scientific discovery, and interpret it to the wider world through various media.

Fellows stressed the importance of finding ways to bring the fruits of artistic and scientific collaboration to mass audiences. An interdisciplinary journal documenting and analyzing such collaborations was proposed, on the condition that it be open-access to allow as many people as possible to read it.

It was also emphasized that the results of collaborations have an impact on wider communities. One Fellow shared an ambition to use theatre to create a study of how actors generate and audiences receive emotion, and use the findings to improve community relations in a depressed and violent neighborhood.

The final group to present provided a platform for Fellows to continue to grow and develop their newly-formed networks through a new blog, to run initially for three months with ambitions to continue. The blog would be a platform for continuing the discussions held at Salzburg Global, linking to resources and pitching new ideas to each other. After three months, the Fellow deemed to have contributed most to public engagement with art/science collaborations would be awarded a special prize.

It is testament to the energy and enthusiasm of these session Fellows that a number stayed in Parker Hall to continue talking about their plans for nearly an hour after the close of proceedings, and many more bounced ideas off each other during dinner. The Fellows made commitments to decide how to collaborate with each other before they left, and Salzburg Global looks forward to sharing the results of their partnerships as they develop.

Interviews with a range of Fellows showcasing their ideas and projects will be available on the Salzburg Global website in the coming days.
The Salzburg Global session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is 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.
The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?
The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?
Stuart Milne & Fidelia van der Linde 
Experts from so-called left and right-brained fields will be applying their minds in Salzburg in order to better understand what happens in the human brain during creative processes. Sponsored by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Salzburg Global session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? aims to create a collaborative international platform to identify and address emerging issues at the creative intersection of neuroscience and art. From February 21 to 26, 2015, an array of international experts based in countries including the UK, USA, Switzerland, Lebanon, China, Brazil, Argentina and Russia will gather at Schloss Leopoldskron. The diversity of the participants is also reflected in their professional backgrounds, including neuroscientists, artists, musicians, psychologists, journalists and scholars. Leading the session will be co-chairs Charles Limb, an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Faculty Member at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Gary Vikan, former director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. As the topic of neuroscience of art is still in its infancy, the session will seek to identify further areas of needed research and explore how to apply the existing research results in practice, particularly in the areas of early childhood development, lifelong education, trauma therapy, and aging. The program builds on some of the themes explored in the 2012 Salzburg Global Fellows program held in Washington, DC Transcending Borders: The Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Society on a Global Stage as well as the 2011 Salzburg session Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music which explored intersections of music and neuroscience and also highlighted music education as an important part of childhood development. “This is a very forward-looking and experimental session for us,” says Program Director Susanna Seidl-Fox.  “It is poised at the frontier of the research that is happening at the nexus of neuroscience and the arts.  We are bringing together visual artists, poets, musicians, a beat-boxer, a caricaturist, filmmakers as well as neuroscientists who are looking at these various artistic disciplines to learn more about the roots, sources, and processes of creativity. We will be asking:  Where does creativity come from?  How is this being studied?  What don’t we know about it?  What can artists and scientists learn from each other? What are the implications of this research for such fields as education, therapy, and early childhood development?” The five-day program will consist of panel discussions, plenary debates and working group discussions, as well as readings, performances, and open studios. Together participants will develop strategies to move the research agenda forward and to foster international exchange around this important field of inquiry.
The Salzburg Global session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is 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.
Culture and Conflicts: The Case of Ukraine
Culture and Conflicts: The Case of Ukraine
Susanna Seidl-Fox 
Culture needs to be “mainstreamed” into peacebuilding activities – this was the leading recommendation from a meeting of culture and conflict resolution experts held in Brussels in November 2014. The one-day seminar entitled Culture and Conflicts: The Case of Ukraine was a follow-on event from the Salzburg Global session Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peacebuilding and the Arts and a collaboration between Salzburg Global Seminar, More Europe and hosts, the European External Action Service (EEAS).    The seminar was supported by the EU and its Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), with a view to providing a better understanding of the culture-conflict nexus through the lens of the conflict in Ukraine. The goals of the gathering were to discuss ways in which culture can contribute to or mitigate conflict and to formulate recommendations for policy-makers.   The following six cultural operators were invited to share their work and experience with the EEAS staff:
  • Anya Medvedeva, Communications Director, IZOLYATSIA, Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Donetsk, Ukraine
  • Elena Tupyseva, Director and Co-Founder, TsEKh, Moscow, Russia
  • Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Founder, Theater for Dialogue, Kiev, Ukraine
  • Oksana Forostyna, Executive Editor, Krytyka; Journalist & Writer, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Tina Ellen Lee, Artistic Director, Opera Circus, Dorset, UK
  • Yaroslav Minkin, Founder, Stan Art Group; Poet, cultural innovator and civil activist, Lugansk, Ukraine
Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Clare Shine, and More Europe director Sana Ouchtati presented a concept note on culture and conflict, and Ronan Mac Aongusa from the European Commission introduced the IcSP.  The presentations were followed by intensive, interactive discussions among all the participants, with several common threads emerging:  culture as a soft, peaceful tool to address hard, serious challenges and transform seemingly stale, “dead-end” conflict situations; culture as a tool to mobilize and engage the wider population; culture as a means of stimulating dialogue, communication, and eventually understanding; the risks connected to the use and abuse of culture and cultural identities; and the need to integrate culture into general EU policies to make better use of its positive potential.  Three main recommendations developed by the seminar participants included:
  1. The need to mainstream culture into peacebuilding activities,
  2. The need to revise EU granting mechanisms and procedures in this area to make them more flexible, reactive, and culturally sensitive, and to reach wider audiences, particularly through projects focusing on education and youth, and
  3. The need for enhanced engagement with stakeholders, including artists and cultural activists.
The full report of the event is available to download
Salzburg Global would like to express its particular gratitude to the six cultural operators who contributed their time to participating in the seminar in Brussels.  Photos taken by Salzburg Global Seminar can be found on our official Facebook page. Additional photos of the Brussels event taken by session participant Yaroslav Minkin can also be found on Facebook. 
Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Louise Hallman 
Young innovators in the culture and arts sector are providing some of the most imaginative new impulses for social improvement and sustainable economic development around the world today. They change the way we see and interact with each other. Young artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders demonstrate the creative vision, talent, and energy that our societies so desperately need to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Inspired by this imaginative and vibrant field of progress, Salzburg Global Seminar has launched a ten-year program for Young Cultural Innovators (YCIs) from around the world, with a view to strengthening the cultural sector worldwide and to expanding the possibilities for innovation and social change through the power and creativity of the arts. Salzburg Global Seminar’s Session 538 in October 2014 brought together 45 young cultural innovators aged between 25-35 years from across the world.  As well as providing ideas, entrepreneurial skills, and networks required to support their organizations, causes and communities, this session is part of a major commitment by Salzburg Global to seed self-sustaining communities of YCIs in “culture hubs” around the world. Supported by local Fellows within the Salzburg Global Network, activities in these hubs will aim not only to foster a more vibrant and dynamic cultural sector, but also to enable cultural innovation to drive positive social and economic development agendas in the communities and institutions involved in the program. Download the report here You can read the report from the session below:
Bolstering the “Orange Economy”
Bolstering the “Orange Economy”
Jonathan Elbaz and Louise Hallman 
For many Salzburg Global Fellows, their Salzburg connections last long after they leave Schloss Leopoldskron—as recently shown by Salzburg Global Fellows who convened in Greece. Co-organized by one Fellow and inspired by a publication by another, the day-long conference “The Creative Economy: An Infinite Opportunity for Growth” held at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on October 18 brought together artists, policymakers, journalists and entrepreneurs – including seven Salzburg Global Fellows. The conference, partly organized by Salzburg Global Fellow, art historian Elena Mavromichali with Elpis Philanthropy Advisors, sought to spark international dialogue centered around a common focus: Greece, still greatly suffering following the 2008 global financial crisis, needs alternative solutions – such as in the “orange economy” – to repair its economic woes.  The term “orange economy” was coined by Salzburg Global Fellow Felipe Buitrago in his influential book from 2013 The Orange Economy and Infinite Opportunity to describe the sector of an economy driven by creative talent and creative industries.  Buitrago’s book focuses on the creative economy in Latin America, but the core concepts can be extended to other regions in the world, such as Greece. Mavromichali believes that bolstering creativity is a huge step in the right direction towards easing Greece’s economic plight, and points to the success of the Greek translation of Buitrago’s book as proof that people are supportive of his ideas.  “Creative people in Greece see how this publication really addresses them,” Mavromichali said in an interview with Salzburg Global Seminar. “Young people and entrepreneurs need this information and this process of thinking in order to support their creativity and build for future projects…We have great support from professionals and artists who need the change, who need to discover the power of creative economy.” In addition to the orange economy, the conference also examined legal technology, creative entrepreneurship, and in a lecture delivered by another Salzburg Global Fellow, Lyne Sneige, Director Cultural Affairs and Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, the role of arts in conflict situations.  Many of the ideas presented at the conference had germinated over discussions during Salzburg sessions. Buitrago and Mavromichali most recently attended the planning meeting for the Young Cultural Innovators program in 2013. They credit the organization as helping spark global collaboration around growing creative economies.  “The networking you can create is amazing,” Mavromichali said. “But also I think it’s the environment. What makes it really unique is that you’re leaving your everyday routine, and coming into this wonderful place like a friend meeting another friend. Simple interactions create the most brilliant things.”  The Salzburg Global Fellows who contributed to the conference include Kathleen Soriano, Fiona Kearney, Norman Palmer who all attended the session Achieving the Freer Circulation of Cultural Artifacts in 2008; Felipe Buitrago, Elena Mavromichali and Lyne Sneige who attended Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs 2013; and Lord Chris Smith, who attended the session Cultural Institutions in Transition: Making the Case for Culture in 2003.
You can read more about the conference, the publication and the speakers here:  
Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Seminar proudly presents its new periodical, The Salzburg Global Chronicle. Replacing the traditional annual President’s Report, the new publication “chronicles” Salzburg Global’s programs at Schloss Leopoldskron and around the world, including profiles on both “up-and-coming” leaders and high profile Salzburg Global Fellows, and features on the impact Salzburg Global Seminar, its programs, staff and Fellows have in the world beyond the Schloss.

Highlights include:

15 Faces for the Future  

Salzburg Global Seminar’s mission is to challenge current and future leaders to tackle problems of global concern. To this end, Salzburg Global brings young, emerging leaders to Schloss Leopoldskron, not only for our Academies programs, but for every Salzburg Global session. Nearly 500 of our 1844 Fellows who attended sessions between 2011 and 2013 were under the age of 40, in addition to the more than 800 Academies participants. Below are just 15 of our remarkable young Fellows.

The Power of Partnership 

Salzburg Global Seminar’s programs would not happen without our partners. Partners provide not only the intellectual capital and input to drive the session forward but often the much needed financial capital necessary to bring Fellows and faculty to Salzburg. But what do partners get out of working with Salzburg Global?

A Distinct History, a Universal Message  

For three days, at a palace once home to the local Nazi party leader, experts from across the globe considered the value of Holocaust education in a global context at a symposium hosted by Salzburg Global and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. They proved the Holocaust is more than just a European or Jewish experience.

Strength in Diversity 

LGBT rights are moving up the international agenda, and while progress is being made, at the same time some countries are passing increasingly regressive laws. In June 2013, Salzburg Global convened its first ever Salzburg Global LGBT Forum addressing LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps, starting a truly global conversation.

An Unlikely Constellation of Partners  

Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian College Association, member institutions of which serve predominantly white students, do not seem like the most obvious of partners. But this did not stop them from coming together to transform their schools into sites of global citizenship through the Salzburg Global Seminar-led, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Mellon Fellow Community Initiative.

Media Change Makers

Since helping to launch the program in 2007, Salzburg Global President Stephen L. Salyer has taken a hands-on role in the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: helping to devise the program, delivering lectures and mentoring students. This year, he met with student representatives from each region represented at the eighth annual program to find out how the Academy is helping shape them. The Chronicle is available online at and to download as a PDF and in our ISSUU Library    Download the Salzburg Global Chronicle as a PDF Print copies are available at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron and all upcoming Salzburg Global Seminar events and programs.
Jean Christophe Bas: "When you live in peace, you don’t realise how much of a privilege it is"
Jean Christophe Bas: "When you live in peace, you don’t realise how much of a privilege it is"
Alex Jackson 
Jean Christophe Bas is heading in a new direction. His short stop in Salzburg for the session Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-Building and the Arts marks the end of his tenure as senior advisor of strategic development and partnerships at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). In June, he will be taking up a new post with the Council of Europe. But the two jobs are not dissimilar, focusing on fostering dialogue and developing a sense of democratic citizenship between nations on a global level. To successfully promote this, he argues, art is key for asking people to revisit their own histories, cultures and understanding to better harmonize and collaborate. “Culture is really at the very heart of the question, the issue. There was a report about three or four years ago from the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. The publication centred on conflicts in the world in 2009/10. According to their criteria, there were 140 serious conflicts in the world, and about 109 (more than two thirds of serious conflict) that were partially or profoundly rooted in cultural divides. This is a strong sign of the importance of culture in post-conflict reconciliation and even prevention. Following on from the post Cold War era, conflict first moved from being between countries to become more and more among countries. Internal conflict has risen massively, based increasingly on cultural divides,” says Bas. Division and unity is something that Bas has continually seen shift in different parts of the world. From European success at moving on from the two World Wars, to recent the invasion of Muslim countries, he believes that a growing dimension of the psychology behind conflict is fear and misunderstanding. In a global world, with global patterns of movement, he is concerned that misgivings and misconceptions between different cultural sectors are causing increased tensions, both at home and abroad. “Migration and immigration is something that profoundly changes the pattern of our society and that creates some sort of anxiety and some sort of fear that is what we call the identity-based conflict, or identity-based tensions and where people feel that their usual references, their usual cultural paradigm is profoundly challenged by different culture, religion, belief and way of life. It is extremely difficult and sensitive to deal with how to live together in societies,” he explains. Promoting social and cultural tolerance was a fundamental reason behind his decision to work with the UNAOC, a subsidiary of the UN specifically set up to deal with escalating tensions between the Western world and Muslim society. In the aftermath of 9/11, the bombs in Madrid and London, and the war in Iraq, the creation of a platform where governments and non-government organizations, academics, NGOs, corporate sector, religious organizations, could meet and talk and address the growing issues was a welcome forum. More broadly speaking, of course, as our societies become increasingly complex and fragmented, this was a cross-cutting medium designed to reflect on all worldwide cultural resolution avenues. “There is a need now to bridge this gap between those extraordinary change-makers and innovators and the policy making world, and to see how those initiatives can move from nice stories. Because for now this is really what it looks like, nice stories here and there and you can say these are very moving and have an impact here and there. But what is it that we can learn and how might it translate into mainstream policies? Arts and culture work needs to such dynamism and energy that government policy makers get a very clear understanding of what it represents, not just nice stories, but what it can represent as a component of the new conflict discussions.” Throughout his career, forging new avenues for dialogue has been a key priority for Bas, who served as a development policy dialogue manager at the World Bank, where he established innovative relationships between the World Bank and constituencies around the world to tackle issues such as poverty, climate change, under-representation and so on. What he found facilitating these works was that arts in the media were powerful tools in reshaping ideas about communities, cultures and countries, using specific examples to represent a macrocosm viewpoint. “There are a few examples of the extraordinary power of entertainment in a way that raises the public awareness or changing people’s minds. If you take for instance movies like Blood Diamond, it has been playing a tremendous role in shedding the light on this specific issue of conflict. The connection between conflict and the diamond industry and promoting change. Even more recently, the George Clooney movie The Monuments Men is another interesting example of the correlation between art, film and policy making. In terms of raising awareness if you take Invictusit is extraordinary in the way it has illustrated the willingness of bringing different communities and ethnic communities together to build nation cohesion. “If we look at all around the world today through those massive events being in the field of sport or music or art, people are altogether in a stadium, or in an amphitheatre sharing the same pleasure or the same interest for an expression of art or culture way beyond their cultural divide or their specific belief or their specific identity. So it is obviously becoming a major engine for bringing people together beyond their divide.” Just as culture can be a uniting force among people, Bas is reservedly considerate of the fact that it is a dividing force in equal measure. In attempting to mitigate risks associated with dividing factors, Bas has to search for the most common and most fundamental of goals he believes would be shared by all people. When it comes to culture and society, there is a need to engage with what he terms the “real people”, those most affected by changes to social and cultural structures. “There is a need to bridge the gap between change makers, innovators and policy makers. I think there is a tendency for them to live in two different worlds and there is one group who is absent in most of those discussions and that is the corporate world. I have the absolute conviction that the corporate world can play a positive role in the field of conflict prevention, post-conflict for a very basic reason. The way business is expanding requires peace and stability and a country that is divided or in conflict is a country where business cannot develop. It is a mutual interest of company and society. “Beyond this, there is the need to build a constituency or give voice to the silent majority because I believe human nature is willing to live in peace, in respect and actually if you take most people around the world, regardless of religious belief, cultural history or whatever, their aspirations are more or less the same. You want to live in peace; you want the capacity to accomplish your dreams with your friends and family and breathe fresh air. I don’t think there are many people around the world who would oppose to those fundamentals.” Yet in spite of commonalities, Bas is aware of the inability for people to comprehend multiple identities and multiple associations, even in large global events. “During the Olympics in London, there was really an amazing story: an American athlete won the silver medal for his discipline, so he did what all the athletes are doing after a victory, and he ran around the stadium with the US flag on his back and having people cheering and applauding him. After a few seconds, he also took the Mexican flag because he was born and raised there, but later became an American citizen. So he was going around the stadium with the two flags to express his double identity and double culture. Many of us would say there is nothing wrong with that, identity is a multi-layered notion. “But I was fascinated to see that there have been hundreds of comments from people in the US, saying 'This is unacceptable. If he doesn’t like our support, he should go back to Mexico. America has trained him and supported him to become an athlete.' But other people say there is nothing wrong because he obviously has a double identity and you cannot just dismiss your culture, but you can eventually have multiple cultures.” Bas believes that there is a growing gap in the world today between those who are most agile with their belief that identity and culture can be multifaceted and those who are most radically rooted in their belief of the single identity, who fear the dilution of culture through mixing of different traditions. In order to overcome this stagnation in views, there has to be a re-education of the difficulties that have been on public agenda for millennia. Victimization and scape-goating of groups to prove a better culture has been a recurring theme, and in writing his book, L’Europe à la carte, Bas poses reflections on the new direction of Europe in the final half of the 20th Century, and what other conflicts in the world might gleam from the current success. “I published a book in 2009 at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The intention of the book was to dedicate it to the ERASMUS generation. Those who were born after the fall of the Wall so that they would go back and understand how much has been achieved in basically one generation in terms of peace and reconciliation and I think this really has to be to the credit of Europe and the EU. “When you live in peace or democracy, you don’t realise how much it represents a tremendous change in privilege. I think it’s important and history teaching would really give a sense of the change it represents and eventually how fragile it can be and I think this would be part of my work with the council of Europe is indeed to see how to expand, widen, strengthen the rule of law, human rights, democracy, which are fundamental elements, in terms of personal accomplishments and achievements. It is important at all levels to realize that the old fashioned, but still very valid equation to say 'election means democracy' is something that needs to be revisited. I don’t say that democracy doesn’t mean democracy and election doesn’t mean democracy, but it is not the absolute condition for a good democracy.” Advocating a new approach to cultural interaction, Bas’ sentiments resonate with schools of globalisation. In this increasingly interlinked world, we need to be more considerate, more wary of global mind shapers, more pressing of those in power to realize change, and more open to challenging discussions. “The most important question of all, perhaps, is to whom am I accountable?” says Bas. We need consider our accountability for our actions, before causing conflict out of ignorance.  
Jean Christophe Bas was a session speaker at the Salzburg Global Seminar session "Conflict Transformation Through Culture: Peace Building and the Arts", which was sponsored by the Edward T Cone Foundation and Robert Bosch Stiftung. You can read interviews with a number of the other speakers and participants of the session on the webpage:
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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.