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


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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Salzburg Around the World - Cambodia
Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program Director of Culture and the Arts in a session at ANCER 2016
Salzburg Around the World - Cambodia
Patrick Wilson 
Susanna Seidl-Fox, Salzburg Global Program Director of Culture and the Arts traveled to Cambodia in January to attend the third conference of the Asia-Pacific Network for Cultural Education & Research (ANCER). ANCER was originally conceived as an organization dedicated to preserving Cambodia’s traditional art forms but has now evolved into creating a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable art sectors throughout the country. The three-day event featured keynotes and sessions related to networking and on the tools and platforms that can support the research and practice in arts and cultural management and cultural policy fields in the Asia-Pacific region. Workshops were also included to stimulate career choices and networking such as careers in arts management. The theme of this year’s conference was “Vitality & Viability: Arts Ecosystems in Asia”  The event was organized by one of the partners of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, Cambodia Living Arts. The organization aims to facilitate the transformation of Cambodia through the arts and work in collaboration with others to create an environment where Cambodian arts empower and transform individuals and communities. ANCER 2016 marked the formal launch of the Greater Mekong Subregion Hub for Cultural Changemakers, an initiative in partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar based in Phnom Penh that seeks to connect young cultural leaders from around the region. This partnership is part of Salzburg Global’s continued transboundary collaboration with organizations and events on a global scale. In 2014, Salzburg Global Seminar launched a 10-year program to make a global network of 500 Young Cultural Innovators. These would be people using arts, culture and creativity for social improvement and sustainable economic development. This network will be built up via 10 regional hubs and connected through an annual Forum in Salzburg, Austria. There are existing hubs in Athens, Baltimore, Seoul, South Africa and Tokyo. Cambodian Living Arts is leading the development of a hub from Phnom Penh. Seidl-Fox praised the event and discussed what she and Salzburg Global have taken back from the experience. “It was inspiring to participate in the ANCER conference on Arts Ecosystems in Asia and connect with a dynamic network of cultural researchers and practitioners focusing on the Asia Pacific Region.” She said. “We received some extremely helpful feedback and advice on the Greater Mekong Delta Young Cultural Innovators Hub that we are developing in partnership with Cambodia Living Arts.”

To find out when Salzburg Global's staff might be in your city and to host a Fellowship gathering, please contact Salzburg Global Fellowship Manager, Jan Heinecke.
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Beyond Green - The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability
A street installation in Qingbu Sports Park. Photo by Yi-Lin Tsai
Beyond Green - The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability
Patrick Wilson 
Practitioners and thinkers committed to promoting social, economic, and environmental sustainability through the arts and cultural innovation gather this week for the session Beyond Green:The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability from February 19 to 24, 2016, at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. This program aims to to build on ground-breaking cultural initiatives to advance international and cross-sectoral links between existing arts and sustainability activities around the world, encourage more impactful awareness-raising efforts, and recommend innovative strategic approaches to achieve greater and longer-term impact. The Salzburg session that is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and Arts Program is held in partnership with the Edward T Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. It will bring together 58 participants of 28 different citizenships and spanning different sectors including artists, designers, architects and creative entrepreneurs to politicians, policymakers, environmentalists, urban planners, educators, scientists, game developers, community leaders, philanthropists, scholars, and business leaders.  This will be a highly interactive session with expert presentations, demonstrations and debates between participants. The topics brought up within these discussions will then feed into flexible small group work to deepen practical discussions and problem-solving that will enable the Fellows to implement their ideas into tools and new approaches for future work, and arrange cross sectoral collaborations. This session will attempt to facilitate dialogue and exchange new forms of networking and collaboration between the cultural sector and representatives of other sectors working in the areas of sustainability across all fields. The event will also be hosting a travelling exhibition called Facing the Climate, in which five Swedish and five Austrian cartoonists take a sharp and disturbing look at the climate issue. The Facing the Climate project is part of a bilateral cultural exchange series between Sweden and other countries around the world as a result of cooperation between the Swedish Institute, the Swedish Embassy in Vienna, the Caricature Museum in Krems and the University for Applied Arts in Vienna. Previous sessions in the Culture and Arts Program have explored neuroscience and the sources of creativity and innovation in 2015 and conflict transformation through arts and culture in 2014. This year participants will attempt to raise greater awareness of the unique and often underestimated role of the arts in promoting sustainable strategies.
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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Salzburg Around the World - From South Africa to Singapore
Salzburg Around the World - From South Africa to Singapore
Heather Jaber 
The Salzburg Global Seminar team is more active than ever, connecting with Fellows and foundations around the world. Recently, our ambassadors were in South Africa, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Italy talking about culture, education,  youth, and bridging societal divides. Hot on heels of her trip to Cape Town, South Africa at the invitation of Red Bull's Amaphiko project last month, Clare Shine, Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer, together with Andrew Ho, US Development Director is this week gearing up for the upcoming session Philanthropy in the Global Age, which will take place December 4-5 in Hong Kong. The session marks the inaugural convening of The Global Friends, a consortium of global philanthropists leading values-driven social innovation. Part of this broader Asian trip also has Shine and Ho in Japan, meeting with the Japan Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, and many of our Japan-based Fellows. Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program Director for Culture and the Arts, traveled to Florence, Italy to discuss the pressing need for Western societies and global Muslim communities to comprehend and communicate with each other. The Brademas Centre at NYU brought twenty artists, conveners, practitioners, and funders together from November 11-13 to identify the work that needs to be done to achieve this. The findings from the session Conflict Transformation through Culture were relevant here, and Seidl-Fox discussed Salzburg Global's culture and arts programs and the need to promote capacity-building in the MENA region.  “Most participants agreed that we need to harness the transformative power of the arts to bring about change and that we have to engage cross-sectorally in order to achieve progress,” she said. Seidl-Fox also travelled to Gwangju, Korea, where the discussion of culture continued at the Asia-Europe Foundation’s conference "Cities: Labs for Culture?" Seidl-Fox moderated a panel focusing on leadership in the cultural sector, particularly next generation leaders. The program director also met with creatives and cultural leaders in Seoul at the World Culture Open, a network which invites people to engage in intercultural exchange and collaboration. The Seoul visit also saw the gathering of Young Cultural Innovator (YCI) Fellows from the local hub. Six Fellows from the past two years joined Seidl-Fox and In Dong Cho, Vice-Mayor of Seoul and head of the Innovation Department and recent faculty member at YCI, for a traditional Korean dinner. During the YCI Forum this year, Stephen Salyer, Salzburg Global President and Chief Executive Officer, visited Singapore for another youth initiative. Salyer attended the first International Liberal Education Symposium on October 11 at the inauguration of the Yale-NUS College, a conference which encouraged dialogue about education in an increasingly interconnected world. 
To find out when Salzburg Global's staff might be in your city and to host a Fellowship gathering, please contact Salzburg Global Fellowship Manager, Jan Heinecke.
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Young Cultural Innovators Leave With Big Plans For Future
Young Cultural Innovators Leave With Big Plans For Future
Louise Hallman and Heather Jaber 

The sixty artists, photographers, theatre producers, inventors, cultural entrepreneurs, doctoral students and city officials, traveled to Salzburg from cities including Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Oxford, Phnom Penh, Rotterdam, Seoul and Tokyo, with a shared mission: expand cultural innovation and positive social change in their home cities and connect with cultural change-makers across the world.

Held at the historic palace of Schloss Leopoldskron, former home of theater impresario and Salzburg Festival founder Max Reinhardt, and led by an expert faculty, this was the second installment of the ten-year YCI Forum led by Salzburg Global Seminar.

The five-day session (October 17 to 22, 2015) combined theory and praxis through lectures, group discussions and skills workshops to help 50 of the world’s most dynamic young minds in the cultural sector develop the entrepreneurial, leadership, communication, problem-solving and technological skills, vision, and global networks needed to advance their organizations, their causes and their communities. A faculty of experts from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Korea, Japan, the UK and the US led the program. Participants were also encouraged to showcase their own work and projects in a nightly open forum, and were given a tour of the city of Salzburg by local artists and cultural change-makers.

"Day one, session one, felt completely like I was in the right place, because that’s the thing about social impact or impact entrepreneurs…you’re meant have something larger than a bottom line governing your parameters of operation, and that was a big validation for me.”

-- Rowan Pybus, co-founder of Sunshine Cinema and
Greenpop and a founder and director of Makhulu Media

The Forum not only gathers participants annually in Salzburg, but also encourages Fellows to continue engagement throughout the year in their local city “hubs”. Since last year’s session, there have been hub-led events including a mini-YCI Forum in Athens on “Nurturing the New Creator,” a “Baltimore after Freddie Gray” salon, and a public artwork competition in Rotterdam. 

At this year’s Forum, plans for future hub-based projects included regular recurring cultural salons in Salzburg and Baltimore; participation in the Rotterdam “Viert De Stad” festival, marking 75 years since the rebuilding of the city post-WWII; a conference on conflict transformation through the arts in Cambodia; team- and skills-building classes in Athens, starting with a cooking class at the Museum of Greek Gastronomy; continued networking and planning for future events to tie in with the upcoming Summer Olympics and Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan; hosting Salzburg Global staff during upcoming trips to Cape Town and Seoul; and a “pay-it-forward” skills exchange program in Argentina.

“Our second annual Young Cultural Innovators Forum bought together another outstanding group of dynamic cultural change-makers from our growing YCI Hub network around the world,” said Susana Seidl-Fox, Salzburg Global Program Director for Culture and the Arts, “We look forward to connecting this year’s and last year’s Fellows both virtually and on the ground in their respective YCI city hubs, and we are more than ever committed to making the YCI Forum an ongoing vibrant focal point for international exchange, emerging leadership, urban transformation, and innovation in the cultural sector.”

“I want to take back what I learned from here — how to talk, how to communicate...and instead of looking at the small section that I’m in over in Baltimore — even the United States — but also looking at global issues and taking my work global…If I can do this in two years, what could I do for the rest of the world if I had the chance to?” 

-- Devin Allen, self-taught photographer whose photographs of
the 2015 Baltimore protests landed the cover of TIME Magazine

Margaret Mead, renowned anthropologist and chair of the first ever Salzburg Global Seminar session in 1947 once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Closing this year’s program, session facilitator Shelagh Wright echoed this sentiment saying: “Every time I leave here, I think maybe the world will be alright after all because it's in the hands of people like you!”

The YCI Forum grew from the 2012 program “The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders,” held in collaboration with the US-based National Arts Strategies. Salzburg Global Seminar has a long history in programs around culture and the arts. Founded in 1947 as the “Salzburg Seminar in American Studies”, the independent, non-profit organization has held more than 70 programs dedicated to the cultural sector, including theater and cinema, literature and libraries, museums and galleries, and cultural heritage.


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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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.