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Young Cultural Innovator Creates Online Poetry Archive
Visitors exploring the 2017 Detroit Art Book Fair (Picture: Maia Asshaq)
Young Cultural Innovator Creates Online Poetry Archive
Helena Santos 
A young cultural innovator (YCI) has created a free poetry audio archive where artists from all over the world can share their work in their mother tongue. Maia Asshaq, a member of the Detroit YCI Hub, is hoping the Recording Reading Archive will provide a connection between artists that goes beyond the poetry readings she hosts in Detroit. Asshaq, co-founder of the Detroit Art Book Fair and founder of DittoDitto, said, “Since many of those performances occur undocumented, and many of the performers live elsewhere my focus has shifted slightly from events to figuring out a way to connect these artists and make their work more accessible.” The archive, which is available to access online, came about after Asshaq’s experience at the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. During this session, Asshaq met a Japanese writer, Mariko Asabuki, with whom she connected through the power of poetry-reading. Asshaq said, “Even though I can’t speak or understand Japanese, I was so curious as to how she may read her own work and what I could learn about it just by listening. I began work immediately on collecting recordings from friends and poets I was familiar with.” After experimenting with playing pre-recorded poetry in both Paris and Berlin, Asshaq went back to Detroit where she designed a “sort of release party” with musician Matthew Conzett. Each month, Asshaq invites an experimental musician to incorporate recordings of their choice into a live performance. Musicians are then free to manipulate the recordings. Asshaq timed the first official release party with the Detroit Art Book Fair, an annual event which draws thousands of people. This event featured performances from Detroit musicians Claire Cirocco and Matthew Conzett, which have since been added to the Recording Reading Archive. The Recorded Reading Archive is available online, and even though the files cannot be downloaded, everyone can listen to the recordings for free. Asshaq said the archive gives “listeners a chance to not only listen to works by their friends and favorite writers but also to explore new work.” So far, the archive has more than 20 recordings. This project was made possible after Asshaq received a follow-on grant after attending the YCI Forum at Salzburg Global Seminar. Discussing the next steps for the archive, she said, “In addition to building the archive and the monthly releases, my hope is that bookshops all over the world that I’ve built relationships with will feature the recordings as well. I am also trying to tap into existing archives and feature those sounds on my site as well.”
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Young Cultural Innovators “Move from Me to We” at Regional Meeting
Fellows and program staff who attended the second US regional meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Young Cultural Innovators “Move from Me to We” at Regional Meeting
Oscar Tollast 
Young cultural innovators (YCIs) from Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans have strengthened their network following the conclusion of the second US regional YCI meeting. This year’s program, supported by the Kresge Foundation, took place at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans with 27 YCIs from both the third and fourth sessions of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators participating. The two-day program involved YCIs taking part in a series of discussions, workshops, site visits, and interactive exercises. Fellows from the New Orleans YCI Hub led site visits. This included an exhibition opening and performance of The Rent is Too Damn High, an event curated by YCI Fari Nzinga; an exhibition tour and talk from the Curator of the Contemporary Arts Centre, exploring new models for interdisciplinary arts centers; a walk-through of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a cultural corridor in New Orleans; and a tour of Studio BE showcasing work of Brandan 'Bmike' Odums. The workshop’s theme was “Moving from Me to We,” exploring further what it means to be a YCI Hub and what YCIs want to accomplish as a community of Fellows in their cities and local communities. Salzburg Global’s Young Cultural Innovators Forum has hubs in six regions around the globe. Hubs include Adelaide, Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Canada, Cape Town, Detroit, Malta, Manila, Memphis, Minnesota, Nairobi, New Orleans, Mekong Delta, Plovdiv, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, Slovakia, Tirana, and Tokyo. Chase Cantrell, the founder of Building Community Value, based in Detroit, said, “Every time I get together with other YCIs, I realize how universal problems are in each of our cities. It has gotten me to think more about how to leverage the network for learning and collaboration.” Yasmine Omari, marketing and education outreach coordinator at Germantown Performing Arts Center, said “meeting the YCI Fellows from the year before was really wonderful. Reconnecting with the YCIs from my year was also really great. I learn so much from listening to their struggles and projects that they are working on and it really makes me feel less alone in the work that I am doing.” Alphonse Smith, director of place and civic design at the Arts Council New Orleans, said the experience of being able to evaluate his work and potential collaboration opportunities was productive. He said, “It challenged me to take a step back and critically reflect on the work. It was also nice to hear constructive feedback from non-New Orleans Hub members.” YCIs were joined in New Orleans by Susanna Seidl-Fox, program director for culture and the arts at Salzburg Global, and Faye Hobson, a program associate at Salzburg Global. Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer at Salzburg Global, and Andy Ho, US development Director at Salzburg Global, also attended the meeting to engage with Fellows. The program was led by YCI Forum facilitators Amina Dickerson, Peter Jenkinson, and Shelagh Wright. Seidl-Fox said, “As creative change-makers, the YCIs confront similar challenges in their cities. Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans are all contending with social inequality, weak public education systems, high unemployment levels, economic disparities, and a general lack of public support for the cultural sector.    “Working at the intersection of the arts and social change, all 27 YCIs are committed to addressing these challenges. This regional YCI meeting in New Orleans provided a rich opportunity for the YCIs to share experiences, coach each other, and strategize for the future. They represent and will shape the future of their cities.   “Their energy, talent, and commitment are what Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans need to help them overcome the challenges of the 21st century.” The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators is a ten-year project of Salzburg Global Seminar that champions young artists and cultural change-makers who are using innovative and creative practices to catalyze civic, social, and urban transformation in their communities around the globe. For more information on the Forum, please click here. The Regional Fellows Event is part of the multi-year Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. More information on this event, which was supported by The Kresge Foundation, can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/594
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Detroit YCI Launches Project which Identifies Ways to Increase Creativity
Melvin Henley leads a discussion during Creativity in "Non-Creative" Places
Detroit YCI Launches Project which Identifies Ways to Increase Creativity
Maryam Ghaddar 
What does it mean to be creative in a work environment that often challenges the very definition of the word? How is creativity integrated into sectors and communities that are not considered creative per se? Everyone has a creative streak, whether or not it’s immediately apparent. Melvin Henley, who attended the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016, sought to explore this notion in a project titled Creativity in “Non-Creative” Places in Detroit, Michigan. The event was hosted in October 2017 at Lawrence Tech University’s Center for Design and Technology, which welcomes people from various backgrounds, fosters design thinking, and serves students, professionals, architects, artists, designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, etc. Henley received funding for the event through a follow-on grant from Salzburg Global after attending the forum for Young Cultural Innovators. Initially intended to convene industry experts from sectors not typically seen as “creative,” such as food, government, sports and education, Creativity in “Non-Creative” Places evolved into a series of group discussions, panel presentations, and an interactive activity between professionals from both “creative” and “non-creative” sectors. The aim was primarily to bounce ideas off each other, form networks, and engage in a friendly and open atmosphere for inspiration on creative brainstorming and idea generation. Shelly Danner, co-founder and program director of Challenge Detroit and another Detroit YCI from the 2016 Forum, led some of these idea generation exercises. Reflecting on the event, Henley said: “Four core competencies were identified as being essential for creative expression: capturing, challenging, broadening and surrounding. All are measurable and trainable, which means that no matter what a person’s current creative output is, when you build on these competencies, your creative output is likely to increase.” Conversations were prompted by a straightforward, yet thought-provoking inquiry: “Innovation and creativity are critical to our personal and professional growth as well as our economy. Do you agree or disagree?” Four dynamic panelists were convened to speak at the event and were chosen based on their diverse work and experiences in the community. The speakers included Sandra Yu Stahl, lead evaluator at Citizen Detroit; Abir Ali, director of design and culture at The Platform; Delphia Simmons, chief strategy and learning officer at COTS, and Rachel Perschetz, director of community investment at Quicken Loans. This particular project brought together 23 people from both “creative” and “non-creative” sectors, nurtured peer-learning opportunities for attendees, highlighted how creative thinking is used every day and offered ways to tap into that creativity in the workplace. In essence, it challenged participants to apply creative problem solving and encouraged individuals to acknowledge and embrace their creative confidence. While Creativity in “Non-Creative” Places was geared towards peer-learning, coaching of young and green programs, and applying brain science and social intelligence in work settings, Henley explained that it was a “prototyping event” and that there is still much room for improvement. For instance, gathering more individuals from the community and focusing more on age diversity would emphasize the project’s central goal. “Moving forward,” Henley noted, “the event has the potential to turn into a series of conversations that happen quarterly, but would like to start with one and see how it goes from there and/or if we can secure additional funding. One of the things that did emerge that I would like to build on is how creative can make room for “non-creative” in their creative output. Sometimes it feels like creatives produce work or spaces or experiences that can only be enjoyed by other creatives.” Creativity in “Non-Creative” Places investigated creative leadership and the many methodologies that can emerge when a group of individuals endeavors to bring about positive change. With this in mind, Henley said that “the THNK program in Amsterdam comes to mind as a great case study. One of the takeaways from the conversation is that people are unsure how to embrace creative ideas and use them to propel ideas and movements. The people in the room were unsure how to design programs for scalability, relevance, and impact outside of traditional business models. There appears to some [an] opportunity to further develop a framework or materials that could be helpful. If possible, I’d like to use more remaining funds to further investigate this subject and develop a Creative Leadership toolkit that is shared with others.”
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Salzburg Global YCIs Travel to New Orleans for Regional Meeting
The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (Photo: Flickr/Reading Tom)
Salzburg Global YCIs Travel to New Orleans for Regional Meeting
Oscar Tollast 
YCIs from Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans have been reunited to take part in the second US regional meeting. Thirty Salzburg Global Fellows, all of whom have attended the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in recent years, will convene at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, on Saturday afternoon (April 7). The two-day program will see YCIs reflect on what it means to be part of a creative hub in cities undergoing radical urban transformation and social renewal. The opening conversation is titled “From Me to We.” Fellows will explore city-based change-making and civic innovation. They will go onto share city briefs and reflect on what’s currently happening in Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans. Several YCIs have agreed to lead site visits in New Orleans on the first evening of the program, offering a range of options for participants to choose from. This includes a tour of Jockum Nordström’s “Why is Everything a Rag” exhibition and Sarah Morris’ “Sawdust and Tinsel” exhibition, both of which are at the Contemporary Arts Center. Alternatively, participants have the chance to attend an exhibition opening and performance of The Rent is Too Damn High, which takes place at the Crescent City Boxing Club. This event, run by YCI Fari Nzinga, is described as a combination of visual art with performance and political satire, exploring themes of home, belonging, cultural transmission, gentrification, and displacement. A third option is to walk to New Orleans’ French Quarter to visit the French 75 bar and the New Orleans Mardi Gras Museum. In this group, participants will discuss subjects involving private foundations and privately-funded cultural activities. A “Cultural Corridor Tour” will also take place, including visits to the Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Tulane Small Center for Collaborate Design, and Roux Carre. All three of these organizations are engaged in community-based art, education, and design. On top of this, participants could also take part in a tour of Studio BE, a 35,000 sq ft warehouse of art, currently housing Brandan Odums’ first solo show. Regardless of which site participants visit, all will be asked how their learning from it could relate to their own work and home city. They will report back at the start of the second day of the program. The rest of the day will be spent discussing modes of collaboration and developing impact plans for the hubs, before wrapping up and outlining the next steps forward. The YCI Forum has hubs in six regions. Hubs include Adelaide, Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Canada, Cape Town, Detroit, Malta, Manila, Memphis, Minnesota, Nairobi, New Orleans, Mekong Delta, Plovdiv, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, Slovakia, Tirana, and Tokyo. The Forum also has a dedicated hub for Rhodes Scholars. The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators engages the world’s most dynamic young creative change-makers. Launched in 2014 as a 10-year project, 50 innovators are invited each year to take part in a session held at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg Global Seminar is committed to fostering creative innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide. The Forum aims to help build a more vibrant and resilient arts sector while advancing sustainable economic development, positive social change agendas, and urban transformation worldwide. The Regional Fellows Event is part of the multi-year Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. This session is being supported by The Kresge Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/594
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Connecting Local Innovators with Global Resources
Connecting Local Innovators with Global Resources
Salzburg Global Seminar 
“With more than 250 Young Cultural Innovators now connected in communities around the world, the YCI Forum is one of the most dynamic and impactful global cultural networks and a dynamic creative catalyst for innovation, civic transformation, and social change worldwide,” says Susanna Seidl-Fox, Salzburg Global Seminar’s Program Director for Culture & the Arts. Now entering its fifth year, the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum) held its fourth annual session at Schloss Leopoldskron in October 2017. The global reach of Fellows now extends from Adelaide, Australia, to Valletta, Malta, and 21 cities – called “YCI Hubs” – in between. The 2017 Young Cultural Innovators (YCIs) hailed from 13 countries, with each participant facing unique challenges, tied to their specific heritage and industry. They were met with 10 facilitators and five speakers, and the committed staff of Salzburg Global Seminar.  Despite their geographical distances and differences in practice, the YCIs, the facilitators and speakers are intimately connected. A commitment to the arts and cultural sector, and shared ideals of community and justice make this a cohort of peers whose differences act not as barriers, but as bridges. The YCIs see themselves in a global context. They engage in international discourse without losing sight of their own communities. The new report from the latest session, written by returning YCI Sanja Grozdanic, chronicles the week’s events including the plenary presentations, skills-building workshops, small group discussions and vibrant “Open Space” events, organized by the YCIs themselves. “I have been in search of a world city that has intellectuals, artists and those trying to make the world better through their work, I have come to find that unlike the past there isn’t just one place for all these people they are spread out throughout the world and it really takes seminars like this to bring them together,” explains Yasmine Omari from the Memphis YCI Hub in Tennessee, USA.  Linda Kaoma, from the Cape Town YCI Hub in South Africa adds: “I am walking away better equipped to continue to do my work as an artist, cultural practitioner and leader in my community and with a strong affirmation to always lead with the heart. Salzburg Global Seminar has introduced me to new friends, colleagues, accountability partners and future collaborators from all over the world.”  The report includes many more testimonials from Fellows, as well as all their bios and those of the session facilitators and guest speakers. Download the report as a PDF (low-res)
To receive a hi-res edition of the report, please email press[at]salzburgglobal.org The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV is part of a ten-year multi-year series. This year's program is supported by the Albanian-American Development Foundation, American Express, Arts Council Malta, Cambodian Living Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Fulbright Greece, Japan Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Adena and David Testa, and the U.S. Embassy Valetta, Malta. More information on the session can be found here. More information on the series can be found here. 
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YCI Creates Intercultural Toolkit for Diverse Partners to Work Together
YCI Creates Intercultural Toolkit for Diverse Partners to Work Together
Oscar Tollast 
An intercultural toolkit designed to bring partners together from diverse backgrounds has been created by a YCI Fellow. Leni Stoeva, a member of the Memphis YCI Hub, has put forward a Cross-Partnership Development Toolkit, which will soon be available in multiple languages. Stoeva views the toolkit as an “invitation to partnership and creativity,” which will allow individuals and organizations to gain more perspective, skills, and networks. She said, “A significant takeaway from the [Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators] is new relationships formed. 21st century Europe is facing a growing complexity of societies and a standardization of lifestyles and cultures. “Meanwhile, USA is facing a time of self-segregation based on class, race, and values at the root of the country’s pressing problems. The world’s future depends on inter-community connection and partnerships that foster understanding between people who may have little in common.” Stoeva, who attended the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016, created the resource after partnering with the Bulgaria YCI Hub. Both worked together last year during the Bottom Up Culture Project, a project designed to highlight and discuss the current issues the creative community in Bulgaria is facing. Stoeva helped to facilitate two consecutive sessions, the first of which was a university talk in Sofia and later a workshop in Plovdiv. Both events brought more than 60 people together. Specific goals that were outlined ahead of the event to lead discussions included creating partnerships from a diverse set of interests, collaborating between major and smaller, local cultural institutions, establishing inter-sectoral partnerships, and introducing a specific cultural diversity strand to local partnerships. This project held a forum that explored culture-led urban regeneration, cultural entrepreneurs, creative places, creative quarters, and neighborhood change and gentrification. After the event, Stoeva searched for the best practices of partnership development on national levels to present as a structured toolkit. Stoeva said, “I believe that by participating in a cultural exchange seminar in Plovdiv provided me with compelling opportunities to continue conversations begun in Salzburg and foster learning across countries. With the project, we worked on identifying best practices for cross-partnership development.” For more information about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI), please click here. Download an English version of the Cross-Partnership Development Toolkit 
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Amy Karle - "It's Really Important That We Choose and Focus on the Future We Want to Achieve"
Amy Karle - "It's Really Important That We Choose and Focus on the Future We Want to Achieve"
Carly Sikina 
From a very young age, Amy Karle was taught to envision a future full of hope, and as a transdisciplinary artist, she applies this optimism to her work. Karle is an international award-winning bioartist and designer who examines how technology can be used to support and enhance humanity. Her artwork and designs combine digital, physical and biological systems to explore what it means to be human and how technology can be used to empower humanity.  Karle attended the Salzburg Global Seminar session, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future, which took place at Schloss Leopoldskron. Karle shared her work and insights during the session’s opening panel discussion. Karle understands the importance of transdisciplinary exchange, as many of her projects cannot be created using art and design alone. While producing Regenerative Reliquary - a bioprinted scaffold in the shape of a human hand 3-D printed in a biodegradable PEGDA-hydrogel that disintegrates over time – cross-disciplinary collaboration was crucial. “I definitely had to collaborate with scientists and doctors and technologists to be able to learn how to build these scaffolds, to learn how stem cells will be triggered to turn into different kinds of bone cells… in a way that will biodegrade.” Not only did she have to create partnerships across disciplines, but she also had to collaborate with other life forms. “It was really important that I collaborated with the actual stem cells and collaborated with this intelligence that creates life ...I see a lot of disciplines trying to harness nature and trying to harness the natural and control it. I’m more interested in witnessing it and letting it teach me how it grows, how it creates.” Throughout her career, Karle has used art and design to explore what it means to be human. It’s a “very interesting” time in history, according to Karle, a point in time many still consider technology to be outside of ourselves. “However,” Karle says, “just in communicating with these devices and working with these devices, we have actually now reshaped out brains to think in different ways.” Although many people see these changes as negative, Karle recognizes the benefits of developing new technologies. By consciously thinking about how we integrate technology into our lives, Karle believes we can explore how it can help empower us. Despite her optimism, Karle understands this issue is not always black-and-white. “Human induced evolution can occur much quicker than natural evolution and we can’t undo things like this [genetic editing] so this is where it takes the most conscious awareness.” Images of the future can often appear dark or grim. There appears to be an underlying assumption parts of society will be unable to keep up with advancements in technology and will pay the price. Karle strikes a different note. She says, “When we look at combining artificial intelligence and genetic editing, we can easily see the potential doomsday scenarios, but we can also see enlightened futures as well.” Karle identifies recognition and emotions as ways to explore what it means to be human. The vision behind Regenerative Reliquary was to create something “that was uniquely and immediately recognizable as human.” She chose a human hand design because of all of human bones, hands are one of the most identifiable. She continues, “I feel my contribution to humanity as an artist is that I have a platform to first share these common emotions - common feelings - of what it means to be human. Beyond our skin tone or economic status, what country we are from, or what language we speak, there are common truths about being human that we all share, that we all experience, like death and suffering, and most of us also have an opportunity - even if it’s just for one small moment - to experience this joy and the awe and mystery of life as well.” Karle’s inspiration derives from personal experiences. “What inspires me is human needs - some of them are my own needs and internal motivations that I can’t always identify.” She states, “They are what made me who I am from the moment that I was born – the way I tap into the world, the ways that I experience the world and I’m trying to share my exploration and reflections with others.” When asked about her time at Salzburg Global, Karle speaks passionately about the ideas she’s heard, including the notion that the artist is not a PR machine for science. She says, “This is really hard for me because in a lot of ways, I am a scientific and a medical illustrator, and that speaks to me. But being a PR machine reduces the importance of the artistic and scientific stories. But it’s a tension because we need the PR in order to keep producing the work, to get the funding for the work research, whether that be an art or science.” Karle has maintained an optimistic view of the future throughout her life. “From my very beginnings, I was painted a future of hope. I was born with a life-threatening birth defect, and most of the other cases before me had passed away from this, but my parents instilled and carried this vision of a future full of hope for me. “I can see all these different kinds of futures that are available to us, and it’s really important that we choose and focus on the future that we want to achieve. We cannot always achieve that, but if we are working towards that, we can get a lot closer than if we are blindly going into the future without thinking about it – without being conscious about it. It does require some work.” Karle took part in Salzburg Global session, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future, part of the multi-year series Culture, Arts and Society. The session is supported by the Edwards T. Cone Foundation. More information on the program can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter using #SGSculture.
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