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


Bolder policymaking
Teresa Dillon at Salzburg Global session "Beyond Green"
Bolder policymaking
Louise Hallman & Patrick Wilson 
If art can reach people’s hearts, mind and souls, it is important to remember that policymakers are people too, participants were reminded at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability. Policymaking needs to be bolder to tackle our unpredictable and rapidly changing world. We have to identify the edge, Fellows were told; we should be working at that edge and realize we do not work at the core. Bolder policymaking necessitates collaborative approaches and transdisciplinary research. Artists can help transcend these boundaries and enliven the body, mind and soul to embolden policymakers. We should stop thinking about art works as objects and starting thinking about them as triggers for experiences. Sustainability and culture is rising up policymakers’ agendas, even as they tackle other, oft-considered more pressing issues, such as the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. Art, for example, can play a key role in helping with integration and acceptance.  In Dublin, Ireland, The Science Gallery’s Hack the City exhibition and events program invited locals to “adopt a hacker mindset to bend, tweak and mash-up Dublin’s existing urban systems.” The aim was to empower citizens to share how they want to live in their city. “Hacking exposes the cracks in the system, finds the weaknesses and looks at how they can be exploited for individual purposes and/or the common good,” explain Hack the City curator and Salzburg Global panelist Teresa Dillon. Significant systems changes need to happen to build a more sustainable world. Art has the potential to help provide the spaces needed for collaboration to bring about this change, both in the street and in the corridors of power.
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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“Why should artists be involved in discussions surrounding sustainable developments and what do we expect of them?”
Fellows at Session 561 | Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability
“Why should artists be involved in discussions surrounding sustainable developments and what do we expect of them?”
Patrick Wilson 
“I believe artists are really important stakeholders in negotiations and what kind of future we want to design. We can help scientists and politicians to be more creative and we can succeed where scientists and politicians fail.”
Anaïs Roesch Project Manager, COAL (Coalition for Art and Sustainable Development), Paris, France “I think that artists need to be involved because artists are not different to anyone else; we all need to be part of discussions about sustainable development. I think we need to ask what is particular about artists when we look at what we expect from them. Artists have a certain ability to see the things others can’t, they’re cunning like a fox to get things to happen and they use certain practices that are interesting—and work.”
Ben Twist Director, Creative Carbon Scotland, Edinburgh, UK “Art is a very efficient tool to transport an idea about sustainability and the conservation of nature in general. “Sustainability” is a vast word and artists are thinkers who are linking different issues and different layers of society. Artists can be catalysts of transmitting an idea or message. Art is usually more touching to the normal citizen than a document.”
Anne-Marie Melster Co-founder & Co-director, ARTPORT_making waves, Paris, France “I think we need to define “Artist.” I define “art” as the word that capitalism made up to deal with the concept of culture. It’s a word that slips in and outside of the current paradigm that has caused the problem of climate change. Artists make commodities and they also exist in a spiritual plane outside of commodities. I think artists need to be double agents in society that can leverage resources and power towards the grassroots.”
Rachel Schragis Visual Artist & Cultural Organizer, New York, NY, USA “I believe the artists should be engaging in sustainability because sustainability is boring. It’s not popular and people just don’t care about it. Art is the tool to make it more interesting and to simplify the idea that everything is wrong and we are destroying our planet every day. I’ve spent half of my life using art as a tool and I think I’ve achieved amazing results. Getting exposure in mass media through art is a powerful tool for change.”
Mundano (Thiago Ackel) Artist; Founder, Pimp My Carroca, Sao Paulo, Brazil “I’m not sure there really is such thing as sustainable development; I think this is a term that should be examined. The reason to have artists involved is we are uniquely skilled at critical analysis that can understand this philosophically as well as offering practicality in new cultural models.”
Frances Whitehead Principal, ARTetal Studio; Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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Young Cultural Innovators - “Who are you and what are you passionate about?”
The Young Cultural Innovators talk about their purposes and organizations in the video project.
Young Cultural Innovators - “Who are you and what are you passionate about?”
Patrick Wilson 
Who are you and what are you passionate about? This was the questioned answered by the Young Cultural Innovators (YCIs) of the second annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators for a video series entitled ‘Faces of Leadership’. The videos were produced as part of a workshop led by Jo Hunter, co-founder of 64 Million Artists and an associate at the New Citizenship Project. The goal of the workshop was to enable the YCIs to talk about themselves and their work in a compelling and dynamic way, and at the end of the session, the participants each made a three-minute video doing exactly that. You can watch the videos of the YCIs who have chosen to make their video public in the playlist below and on YouTube. Me-Ryong Choi is a museum instructor at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. She discussed her work educating the public and encouraging them to enjoy art. Choi expressed that appreciating and loving art must be an inclusive experience for all backgrounds by saying: “I really want to make sure that not just the privileged or those who know about art come to the museum so that those less privileged or have less opportunities to enter the art world can appreciate it. I would love to make sure this happens during my career.” Nicolas García Mayor is an industrial engineer from Argentina and founder and director of ar estudio. Mayor talked about the refugee crisis currently facing us as a global nation. “There more than 85 million refugees around the world,” he said. “Half of these refugees are children. This crisis is due to political decisions, natural disasters and war. This is a big problem.” Mayor stressed the importance of pooling resources and innovation to help tackle humanitarian issues like the refugee crisis. Josefina Bacigalupi Goni, director and founding member of DIBAGO from Argentina, used the story of a mother and her orphaned child to demonstrate the power of working together and sharing skills to create change. “I think that if we can work together as one anything can be done,” she says in her video. Sam Galler is a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil student from the United States studying international development at Oxford University. He is building an online platform that informs political decisions and cooperation. It aims to help coordinate political decisions and inform them when they are making sub-optimal outcomes so that they can correct them and collaborate. “This online platform would be a way of building social trust and helping build a sense of community of those online but would otherwise disagree about several issues.” Galler said. “I think we have a lot of tools that still need to be developed to promote more social cultures.” Rowan Pybus is a co-founder of Sunshine Cinema and Greenpop and a founder and director of Makhulu Media from South Africa. He talked about his work with Sunshine Cinema, a sustainable business model that turns solar energy into social impact. “We started with the idea that media that mattered wasn’t being seen where it was needed,” he said. “We decided to develop a business model that would enable us to share films in areas that were requesting content that could impact them in interesting ways.” Sara Kim, founder of Diagonal Thoughts from Korea, talked about how her architectural office's mission is to create surroundings that can awaken a person to who they truly are and inspire them to achieve their goals. Her organization is specifically working on adaptive reuse which works with existing structures such as abandoned buildings which need to be adapted due to new city programs. “I think the human being is an environmental animal and everyone needs a space to grow and live,” Kim said. Akio Hayashi, a founder of NPO InVisible from Japan, aims to reconnect and remake communities following natural disasters. He talked about the impact of the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami as well as his feelings of a general lack of community within Tokyo. NPO InVisible has used artists to create community engagement projects including an app to collate people’s feelings and emotional responses following the 3/11 disaster. Paz Beguè, director of VERDEVER from Argentina, talked about her seizing an opportunity to be a producer for a company going to China’s Shanghai Arts festival. She realized from this that there was a need to produce Argentinian art abroad which inspired her to start her own project to promote art and wisdom. “The thing is to not only promote [art] as a product - which they are - but to also promote workshops and other things that have to do with the values of art, creativity and what’s behind it.”  Ian Hilzerman is an entrepreneur and designer from Argentina and CEO at #MakePogo. He believes the world has a design problem. “We have unlimited needs but we have limited resources,” he said. To try and change this he has created a network that connects creatives with creators to stop ideas getting lost in the crowd and allow them to be worked on collaboratively. Jiwon Park, a graphic designer, visual communicator, entrepreneur, social catalyst, and educator from Korea, talked about using design for social facilitation and cross-pollination. Her organization Design Can Do aims to inspire one another and promote social cross-pollination. Park said: “I want to make the use of my skills to facilitate positive design processes that can be applied to pressing social issues.” Marcos Amadeo, a public affairs and creative industries developer from Argentina, who is helping to lead the Buenos Aires YCI hub, uses a story about him getting his first car to illustrate the importance of taking opportunities to expand your world view. He makes a point of when he traveled to Morocco where he was alone and had nothing to his name and the kindness of a family that took care of him.  Sanne Donders is a freelance photographer from the Netherlands. She speaks about her interest in the personal stories of people in her city and people in the world. She talked about a family in her neighborhood who have ten children and three adopted children who work several jobs to provide for their children. Due to it being far too expensive for them to go out, they learned Zumba dancing from the internet and every Friday invite people to dance Zumba with them. Donders finished by saying: “I try to remind people that there is no group of people, they’re all individuals with individual stories.”  David Fakunle is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. He told a tale about a young child who receives gems that give him powers every year of his birthday and also a rock that grants him awareness. Through this he encouraged others to share their gems and using the power of storytelling to pass resources and share knowledge. Christiana Damanaki is a content creator at Clio Muse in Greece. She talked about heritage having a meaning and its relevance today. It was something Damanaki was incredibly passionate about. “I truly, truly believe in my heart and brain that with culture and history we can become better humans,” she said.  Kiron Neale is a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil. student from Trinidad and Tobago studying renewable energy at the University of Oxford. He used a conversation with himself with both Trinidadian dialect and Standard English to show his different forms of interaction in different regions. The conversation also involved his work on using cultural innovation to find sustainable energy solutions. Siphiwe Ngwenya, director of the Maboneng Township Arts Experience and founding director of Arts Township International from South Africa talked about his project to bring art exhibits to the less privileged and non-elite by encouraging people to host art exhibits in their own homes. Dafni Kalafati, an art therapist, documentary filmmaker, and founder of Amaka from Greece, used a form of therapy with the audience to bring a smile to the viewers’ faces. She did this to show the benefits of using art as a tool for self-expression. Kalafati showed her passion to spread happiness, saying: “I believe that everybody around the world has the right to joy and happiness.” Kenneth Asporaat is a theater producer and founder of his own non-profit organization. He talked about investing in your own talent and pushing your creativity to the limit. Asporaat believes creativity is not exclusive to artists alone. “I believe there hides an artist in every one of us,” he said. “It is my force and my strength to see talent in people.” Phina So, leader of Women Writers Cambodia, talked about empowering and connecting writers and readers through storytelling, writing, and dialogue. She encouraged everyone to spread their stories and messages of positive change with each other, and offered her writing skills as a way of facilitating this.  Nicolàs Alvarado is a Mexican writer, cultural promoter, theater and television producer and presenter. He talked about a notebook he was given by his niece that features Jeff Koons’s inflatable lobster on the cover. He used this as a way of promoting the importance of fostering critical thought through the use of humor, wit, and the media. Rachel Woodlee, a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil student from the United States studying social policy at Oxford University talked about her visit to a Tibetan family in a traditional Tibetan home. When asked if she wanted to hear some music she assumed some traditional Tibetan music but instead they played her a techno song on a modern sound system. The experience encouraged her to take a step back from our pre-conceptions and engage with other cultures on a personal level. Akinobu Yoshikawa is a senior design fellow at MakBiz in Sendai, Japan. He talked about trying to make the world better with design and how the use of design and building can support recovery after disasters. He referenced how collaboration can create a better sense of ownership and pride within a community. Sophie Bargmann, a curator, journalist, and conceptor from the Netherlands, talked about her purpose of wanting to "turn Artists into Rockstars." She talked about how boring she would find art galleries as a child and cared more about the gift shop; this directed her focus towards the branding of art. She stated the importance of this branding on a local artist level as well as the wider known artists. Konstantinos Matsourdelis, founder and CEO of the Museum of Greek Gastronomy, encouraged people to think about where their food comes from and to look at the way different cultures use food and how their culinary arts have developed. “We research, we document and we present aspects of our culture through exhibitions,” he said. “Obviously we try a lot of great recipes as well!” Immanuel Spoor is a founder of On Track Agency and Stichting De Nieuwe Lichting from the Netherlands talked about how he unwittingly became a music manager for a friend’s band and how it prompted him to create his own agency. He stated how vital it is utilize the talent of creative people and providing them with a platform and how he wishes to branch out from the Netherlands with this idea. Rebecca Cordes Chan, a program officer at the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation from Baltimore, MD, USA, talked about holistic grant-making as a path to social equity with a short Haiku about the work she does that encourages people to be bold and take risks. Sotirios Stampoulis is a member of the steering committee of the Cultural Innovators Network (CIN) from Greece. He wanted to give narratives to the packaging of basic food products to connect the consumer with the story of its production. In this way he hoped consumers to understand the process of their food production and to become better informed. Lucy Wilhelm, a textile designer and trend predictor from Austria, talked about working together with clients to help realize a shared vision. She discussed her process of alleviating the confusion some of her clients face with bringing their products to the next level. Rasheida Adrianus, founder of Girls 'N Cocktails in the Netherlands, used a poem to discuss why she founded her organization. The poem goes into detail about the disparity she and other women face when they feel unrepresented by the media and her attempts to try and create better representation and reflections of the self in the media Meta Moeng, an arts manager in Cambodia, talked about how she believed art could bring people together. She talked about working with a Cambodian art network to help make connections between the art community and people in Cambodia that can inspire a younger generation. Devin Allen, a self-taught photographer from Baltimore, MD, USA, talked about his experiences of becoming an activist through his photography. He talked about his own upbringing and his issues with racial barriers that informed his career trajectory and the work he does. He talked about the biggest issue he faced saying: “The biggest struggle is being an entrepreneur, being new and being black at that. It was hard to even get sponsorship and funding initially, I was turned down multiple times.” Misaki Iwai, event and collaboration manager at Impact HUB Tokyo, talked about the importance of collaboration in the creation of great ideas. She talked about how these ideas don’t just come from one genius; they can come from all sorts of different backgrounds and experiences. She referenced how the HUB can be used to network and collaborate on ideas. Thomas Layer-Wagner, co-founder of Polycular from Austria, talked about the game his company is making called "EcoGotchi” that aims to promote sustainable solutions for climate change. He hoped the game would help focus efforts of those who want to make a different but don’t know the best way to motivate change with sustainable choices.
The YCI Forum is held by Salzburg Global Seminar and was supported this year by The Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Fondation Adelman pour l’Education, the American Express Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Fulbright Greece, the Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship, the Mexican Business Council Fellowship Program, the Nippon Foundation, Red Bull Amaphiko, the Stichting De Verre Bergen, Adena and David Testa, the US Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia and the HDH Wills (1965) Charitable Trust. More information on the session can be found here: yci.SalzburgGlobal.org
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Learning from ArtCOP21
Panelists Anais Roesch, Catherine Cullen, Ben Twist and Anne-Marie Melster
Learning from ArtCOP21
Louise Hallman 
From September to December 2015, leading up to COP21, 550 events were held under the auspices of ArtCOP21, with 54 countries engaged, and 250 artists present in Paris. But to what end?  As panelists at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability explained, for many people the COP events are too technical and political, rendering them inaccessible and incomprehensible. One aim of engaging artists alongside COP21 was to lift this mystique and make the event understandable and relevant to the general public.  As one Fellow remarked, ArtCOP21 “did it’s job” – it was diverse and it was visible. Indeed, as another Paris-based Fellow corroborated, the French capital, and more broadly France, has become a more climate- and sustainability-aware city since.  Besides making the international convention more accessible to the general public and mobilizing people to take action, ArtCOP21 also aimed to include culture in the political agenda of climate change and position the artist as an important stakeholder in the debate.  The arts and culture sector has become increasingly prominent at such events. As one Fellow shared, at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, ARTPORT_making waves (an “international curatorial practice” that raises awareness of climate change and environmental issues) struggled to find a space to exhibit and attracted few visitors. At Cancun, Mexico in 2010, ARTPORT partnered with museums to bring in a ready audience of school children. Building on these past experiences, despite the “extreme bureaucracy” in France, COP21 was much more successful. Their project, while created for COP21, will not be an isolated, one-off exhibit: it will now travel to Astana, Kazakhstan for the next World Expo and later New York. ArtCOP21, engaged diverse artists, including poets, cultural experts, and performers, eschewing the approach of “one big name in one gallery” of COP15. Bringing art into the negotiation space (usually a drab conference center) and encouraging the negotiators to connect with the issues on a more intimate, human, rather than political level, was mooted. One of ArtCOP21’s project, the COPbox, had sought to do this, collecting messages from Parisians as the installation traveled around the city ahead of the event. However, following the Paris terrorist attacks, the budget for the final installation (through which the negotiators would all have to pass), was cut in favor of increasing security. Engaging directly with “the system,” be that at the international level of COP21 or with local, municipal governments, is important, one ArtCOP21 participant reminded Fellows. “We need to focus on systems change instead of behavior change” because too many individuals have too little agency. As another Fellow remarked, “We have to get on board the people who are actually creating our world,” not just artists, but also designers, politicians, business, et al.  We need to avoid what one Fellow admitted was his greatest fear: “We in the arts are talking to each other – we are not talking to the world.”
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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Raising awareness and catalyzing public engagement
Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam at "Beyond Green"
Raising awareness and catalyzing public engagement
Patrick Wilson & Louise Hallman 
Artists have a powerful role to play in raising awareness of social injustices. As the African saying goes: “Until the lion finds their storyteller, hunters will always be portrayed as the hero.” As the Fellows of Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability heard on the first night of the session, artists can help share the stories of areas afflicted by unsustainable development. Many communities have been and continue be displaced in the pursuit of “development,” such as a community in Cambodia whose ancestral lands will be devastated by the building of a hydroelectric dam.  Provocatively, one Fellow remarked that we have all been displaced “because we have become disconnected from nature and the green spaces and the beauty of the world. We’re more connected to technology... than we are to the natural world... this has made us isolated.” Art can help us to reconnect with that beauty and, in turn, inspire us to protect it. The following morning, discussions continued in a plenary session on the topic of “Raising Awareness and Catalyzing Public Engagement.” Panelists started by looking at artistic exhibits and campaigns in Bangladesh and the struggles one Fellow faced in attempting to present socially impactful pieces of work and collections. Although now an independent country, and nominally a democracy, one Fellow pointed out that like many countries, a democratic society may not be as democratic as it appears: “Elections in themselves to do not mean a democratic process.” Art can give people a way to express themselves in undemocratic and oppressive situations. One project highlighted was Kalpana’s Warriors, which featured a combination of poetry, performance and laser burn art to promote knowledge and discussion about an indigenous woman of the Chittagong Hill Tracts who spoke out against military occupation and was abducted on June 12, 1996.   It is not only in Cambodia and Bangladesh where art can play an important role in public engagement and democracy, with another Fellow sharing an example from the US.  Beautiful Solutions, which stemmed from the book and documentary This Changes Everything, is a gallery, lab, web platform and book that “gathers the most promising and contagious strategies for building a more just, democratic and resilient world.”  By engaging the public and collecting and sharing “real” stories, the project aims to change society from that in which someone has “power over” others, to instead a system of “shared power.” Grassroots efforts and engagement are important, and such projects can promote change from outside of a structural system – but still have impact on the system.  However one Fellow made a counter point that “we have to go inside the structures to change their behavior.”
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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“The artist has left the building”
Frances Whitehead explains why artists should leave the gallery and head to city hall
“The artist has left the building”
Louise Hallman 
Marina Abramovic might have called her show The Artist Is Present, but as Frances Whitehead remarked in the opening evening’s panel of Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability: “The artist has left the building and gone to city hall!” And why to city hall? “That is where the decisions are being made.”  For art to have greater impact, artists need to change strategies away from “acting up,” pointing out,” and “opting out,” to instead “opt in,” Whitehead argued. Quoting Janeil Englestad, she urged artists to “make art with purpose.” Artists are not there to only draw attention to issues but to encourage change. Opting in can lead the artist to engage in domains outside their usual realm, but opting in does not stop the artist from being an artist: “Opting in is not about becoming someone else. We never stop being artists as we enter other domains,” said Whitehead. One such “opt in” project is Environmental Sentinel, part of the greenway/linear park “The 606” in Chicago, USA. Environmental Sentinel combines art, landscaping and climate change monitoring with civic engagement. While the project’s focus was beauty and public engagement, it also incorporates sustainability and climate change activism. The planting of over 400 Amelanchier trees not only provides beauty along the 606 route, but also enables monitoring of the microclimate by encouraging the public – citizen scientists – to note the blooming of the trees – a practice modeled on the traditional annual cherry blossom festival in Japan. This approach blends participatory arts practices, climatology and public infrastructure; inspired by the blossoms, Whitehead calls it “pink infrastructure” – infrastructure for raising climate awareness. However, if the project had had an explicit climate change remit, it may have been tied up in political discussions. By being called “art,” Environmental Sentinel was able to gain wider support.
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.
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What are our conscious limitations?
What are our conscious limitations?
Louise Hallman 
If we aim to change mindsets and shift behavior with our art, we need to understand how the brain works, argued one Fellow at the Salzburg Global program Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability.  For non-neuroscientists, much of our understanding how we think and how our brains work is based on four assumptions. We assume:
  • We’re rational and logical;
  • We notice things when they’re put right in front of us;
  • Our memory allows us to accurately store and recall information;
  • We all grasp the ideas of time, the past, present and future. 
Through a series of short exercises in Parker Hall, the Fellows were made to realise these assumptions were in fact false: “The human mind is particularly prone to cognitive illusions.”  We often do not apply logic, such as laws of probability, to our decision making. We fail to make very basic observations when our attention is trained elsewhere; our brains can become trained to filter out what it assumes not to be important. Our memory doesn’t function how we assume – we don’t remember our past, we often reconstruct it in response to stimuli in our present.  One of the most important fallacies for those seeking to tackle inertia surrounding climate change is that we assume we can achieve more in a given time in the future than we can in the immediate present. People frequently overestimate how much work they can achieve in a week in the future than they can in the week currently facing them. By recognizing these false assumptions, we can start to recognize why such tactics as repeat messaging, appeals to logic, arguments based on time, and emotional appeals have been unsuccessful. One method that can prove useful to change mindsets and shift behaviors is by creating analogies to process new data – and this is where art can play a powerful role.  Besides understanding our neurobiology, we also need to expand our understanding of “sustainability” and “understand what sustainability is in our own contexts.”  Panelists also urged Fellows to seek to build trust. “Trust is not about feeling safe... It is the relation I build to you and sharing my lack of safety with you.”
The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. 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.