SAC 11


The Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change is a unique three-week action, research and critical-making program that brings together undergraduate and graduate students from around the world to critique and create civic media for social change.

Over 70 students and more than 20 faculty and guest scholars gather from five continents annually at the historic Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg to work in international teams and across disciplines. Since it was founded in 2007, a global network of innovators has emerged, with over 750 students, 150 faculty, and a host of visiting scholars and practitioners. 

Program Outcomes and Impact

The intensive program will aim to produce the following outcomes for students:
Understand key concepts of civic media, media literacy, global media, and civic imagination.

  • Reflect on personal and community stories, and how these relate to public media narratives around pressing global issues.
  • Analyze how media cover global problems, and the impact of digital and connective technologies on populism.
  • Create multimedia essays that aim to overcome intolerance, stereotyping, and misrepresentation of global culture.
  • Practice and implement participatory design use media to build tools, technologies and campaigns for social and civic impact.
  • Demonstrate competency in understanding the relationship between media, representation and culture.

Impact will be achieved through the development and dissemination of media texts that explore issues of global concern, and are created to help create dynamic media storytelling and engagement across borders, across cultures, and across divides.

Participant Profile

For three weeks each summer, undergraduate and graduate students from partner institutions around the world come together to work in teams tackling shared problems. The students are led by faculty, guest scholars and practitioners, who come from academe, media and communication disciplines, and the development, governmental, NGO, and corporate sectors. Together this group of emerging and established thinkers, does and leaders explore how media and technology can be harnessed to promote meaningful change in the world. 

Program Format

At the Salzburg Academy, students engage in participatory and interactive programming for three weeks, which combines exploration, interrogation, creation, and reflection. The Salzburg Academy explores the concepts, theories, methodologies, research, and practice that connects media and impact in digital culture. Our curriculum is anchored by seminars, workshops, reading groups, screenings, and more.

Multimedia Production
Students will explore issues of pressing global concern. Working in teams they will identify case studies related to those concerns, and create multimedia publications (using text, images, videos, graphics, interactive elements etc.) that will address those issues in compelling, inclusive and equitable ways. 

Civic Media Workshops
To build more creative approaches to using media for social change, civic media workshops will help frame our work in Salzburg. The goal for this workshop series is to harness applied media approaches to solving problems on a global scale and to create an array of approaches to stories that inspire us, unite us and define us as our ideas migrate from our home communities to an international stage. These reflective exercises provide a starting point for investigating a deeper issue, causality, or discourse that potentially links these individual stories within a global context.

The Academy this summer will feature seminars, screenings, and  skills workshops focusing on: Data Visualization, Game Design, Mobile Storytelling, Activism, Persistence, and more. Additionally, we will offer an evening “human library” experience for Academy students to voluntarily join. Information on seminars, workshops and lectures will be available at the start of the Academy.

Film Club
The Academy offers a film club where faculty and students curate regular showings of films related to the topic of the academy. Films will be mandatory and optional, shown afternoons and evenings.   

Seeing Media Image Contest 
Students will create or take one image that denotes a certain aspect of media. These images will collectively provide a mosaic of visual art that articulates how the media academy visualizes global issues today. 

Reading Groups
Each week a series of reading groups will be offered. Reading groups will be offered in parallel after lunch sessions, and will have a cap of 10 participants per group.

Reflections on Media & Global Change
The Academy provides space for students to offer regular reflections on their engagement with media and our program. At the end of each week we will review the board and use feedback to engage in constructive dialog about what we're learning, and where we want to go. 

In addition to the content of the program, our participants embrace culturally specific and poignant trips into the Alps and to the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial site. 

Key Questions

Throughout the three-week Academy, students will address the following questions:

  • How can media facilitate shared dialog and meaningful social action to support positive change across borders, across cultures, and across divides?
  • What is the role of multimodal storytelling in promoting positive social and civic impact in the world?
  • What are the barriers to global connectivity and what are the factors that perpetuate these factors?
  • How can young activists use their public narratives to help bridge cultural, social and cultural divides?
  • What are the core attributes needed to build and sustain global networks that can facilitate media for positive global change?