Past Program

Session Overview

Today's world is disrupted by manifold sources of shock, violence and conflict. The complexity and sheer speed of change are testing the limits of people, place and community. Increasing social inequality, accelerating urbanization, unprecedented migration flows, rapidly evolving technologies and climate-related changes are generating physical, virtual, and cultural challenges that have no precedent in recent history. To add to the complexity, these trends are playing out against a backdrop of exceptionally low trust and widening polarization in societies worldwide.

Resilience refers to the capacity of nature and of humankind to withstand shocks and to adapt and renew dynamically in the face of adverse and potentially destructive conditions. Historically, most efforts to better understand capacities for resilience have focused on material responses, whether technological, scientific, physical, socio-political, or economic. More recently, however, the roles of culture - writ large - and the arts have become a new source of inquiry. The creative sector, as a source of unconventional thinking and innovation, opens up promising opportunities to harness civic imagination for greater cohesion and resilience. The goal of this Salzburg Global Seminar session was to identify and better understand ways in which artists, cultural workers, and creatives may inspire and strengthen capacities of individuals, communities, and our societies at large to confront the unexpected, and to respond creatively and courageously to seemingly infinite sources of shock and disruption.

The founding of Salzburg Global Seminar seventy years ago - in the wake of the Second World War at a moment of massive global disruption - was itself a creative and courageous response to conflict. This session continues our commitment to bridge barriers in the mind and on the ground in conditions of trust and openness. Its goal is to connect path-breaking efforts to explore relationships between culture, the arts, and resilience and to identify how creative practitioners can inspire individuals and communities to confront the unexpected and define their own futures.

Against this challenging backdrop, pioneer thinking and holistic approaches to problem-solving will be critical to navigate ever-shifting boundaries of global interdependence. Artists and cultural innovators are uniquely positioned to envision positive change and foster collaborative engagement and empowerment across sectors and scales. How can their strengths, talents and imaginative power help us re-imagine the possible and enhance the resilience of our shared planet?


Anida Yoeu Ali
Artist, Educator, Global Agitator, USA
Chadi Bahouth
Journalist, Author, Lecturer, Germany
Marina Barham
General Director, Al-Harah Theatre, Palestinian Authority
Anna Beech
Head, Executive Director's Office, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, UK
Nicholas Boraine
Actor and Associate Artistic Director, Global Arts Corps, South Africa
Elizabeth Brabec
Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Canada
Fred Branson
Co-Director, Amantani, UK
Eileen Briggs
Nation Building Portfolio Director, Bush Foundation, USA
Dawn Casey
Chief Operating Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Australia
Patrick Degeorges
Foresight and Strategy for Climate Change, French Ministry of Environment, France
Mary Ann DeVlieg
Artists at Risk Case Worker, Belgium
Severina Eggenspiller
Catalina Escobar Bravo
Executive Director, MAKAIA, Colombia
Yasmin Fedda
Documentary Filmmaker, Canada
Tom Fern
UK Strategic Communications Manager, European Climate Foundation, UK
Ann Fox
Professor of English, Davidson College, USA
David Garneau
Associate Professor, Visual Arts, University of Regina, Canada
Daniel Gorman
Executive Director, Shubbak Festival, Ireland
Charles Henry
President, Council on Library and Information Resources, USA,
Richard Higgott
Research Professor, Institute of European Studies, Australia
Abid Hussain
Director of Diversity, Arts Council England, UK
Nike Jonah
Director, Connecting Dots, UK
Katese Odile Gakire
Playwright, Actor, Director, Rwanda
Ntarugera Gakire
Chief Executive Officer, Select Kalaos, Rwanda
Karima Kadaoui
Executive President, Tamkeen Community Foundation, UK
Francis Kuzler
Executive Director, DecadesOut, USA
Beatrice Lamwaka
Director, Arts Therapy Foundation, Uganda
Kok Heng Leun
Artistic Director, Drama Box, and Arts-Nominated Member of Parliment, Singapore
Erwin Maas
Artistic Director, International Society for Performing Arts, Netherlands
Virág Major
Freelance Cultural Manager, Hungary
Rosemary Mangope
Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Council of South Africa, South Africa
Elena Mavromichali
Lead for Community Engagement and Entrepreneurship, SolidarityNow, Greece
Lerisa Ansuya Naguran
Academic and Applied Theatre Practitioner, South Africa
Nicholas Nuttall
Director of Communications, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UK
Aine O'Brien
Co-Director, Counterpoints Arts, Ireland
Deniz Ova
Director, Istanbul Design Biennial, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Turkey
Margaux Portron
Rapporteur, UK
Diane Ragsdale
Doctoral Candidate, Erasmus University, USA
Shaymaa Zaatout
Program Officer, Arts and Culture, Anna Lindh Foundation, Egypt
Clorinda Romo Gonzalez
Director of Creative Projects, Laboratory for the City, Mexico
Alma Salem
Independent Curator and Cultural Advisor, Lebanon
Emad Salem
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Battery Dance, USA
Prairie Rose Seminole
Program Director for American Indian Alaska Natives, Evangelical Lutheran Church, USA
Arijit Sengupta
Graphic Artist, Cartoonist and Designer, India
Bunrith Suon
Culture and Arts Education Project Manager, Cambodia Living Arts, Cambodia
Alison Tickell
Founder and CEO, Julie's Bicycle, London, UK
Hannah Van Den Bergh
Project Manager, Julie's Bicycle, UK
Margaret Omolola Young
Independent Crossbench Member, House of Lords, UK Parliment, UK

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Jul 13, 2017

The Art of Resilience - Creativity, Courage and Renewal

Apr 06, 2017

Nick Nuttall - “We Need to Bring Together Different Voices, and Use Every Single Resource We Have to Cooperate”

Mar 29, 2017

Chadi Bahouth - "Ethnic Minorities Are Still Very Marginalized in German Media"

Mar 11, 2017

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Feb 23, 2017

Inés Sanguinetti - “We Should Redesign past Models of Learning”

Feb 21, 2017

Dawn Casey – “Museums Usually Talk About Dead Things... Contemporary Issues Should Also Fit in These Spaces”

Feb 14, 2017

Eileen Briggs - "We Are Definitely in a Reactionary Mode"

Feb 12, 2017

What Can We Learn from the Art of Resilience?

Feb 10, 2017

Anida Yoeu Ali - “You Can Have Very Powerful Conversations Without Speaking a Single Word”

Feb 10, 2017

Orijit Sen - "Comics Allow the Audience to Identify with the Characters – It Lets Them Enter Their World"

Feb 10, 2017

How Art and the Cultural Sector Can Support Indigenous Communities

Feb 09, 2017

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Feb 08, 2017

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Program Format and Key Questions

The highly interactive program combined theory, policy and practice across sectoral silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities. Participants explored cross-cutting questions during short plenary sessions featuring presentations and demonstrations by groundbreaking practitioners. They then worked flexibly in small groups, examining new tools and approaches for collaboration across urban design and planning, policy development, education, research, and community engagement.

Overarching questions to kick-start open discussion included:

  • What do we mean by resilience, and how far does current research shed light on its relationship with culture and the arts? Where are the main gaps we need to address?
  • What are we learning from the ability of cultures to survive, adapt, and renew themselves, especially in post-conflict settings?
  • What happens to culture as a result of disruption or conflict?
  • Can we apply these insights to better manage complex challenges and trends in the 21st century
  • Can the arts act as an early-warning system to help “future-proof” our societies?

The session then examined relationships between culture, the arts, and resilience through the lens of problem-solving at different scales. In line with Salzburg Global’s strategic vision, participants focused on:

Human Transformation: Discussions examined how the arts and creative endeavor can contribute to resilience and renewal at the personal level, including enhancement of treatments and therapies of trauma, mental illnesses, and psychological disorders leading to violent behavior. Recent neuroscientific research and innovative social, health, and juvenile justice policy initiatives and case-studies informed the discussions.

Urban Transformation: As the world moves towards 75% urbanization, cities are widely recognized as playing a pivotal role in advancing strategies for resilience. Discussions will focus on how culture and the arts can expand the capacity of cities, urban leaders and citizens to anticipate and collaborate on key trends and risks. Which cities have already embraced the efforts of artists and the creative sector in their resilience planning, and how might more mayors and community leaders follow suit? What evidence is available on the impact of human-centered design upon community cohesion, health and wellbeing? What best practices in urban planning and public space have emerged and how can they be replicated or adapted elsewhere?

Conflict Transformation: Arts and culture are increasingly understood to play a promising role in peace-building and reconciliation for conflict and post-conflict settings, although most initiatives remain fragmented and rarely broach issues of region-building and fostering regional community. As pressures on human security rise around the world, discussions will center around issues of displacement, migration, destruction of cultural heritage and community cohesion. The particular needs for resilience among indigenous populations and refugees will be given special consideration, including issues of belonging, multiple identities, allegiance, language, and of cultural fabric and expression.

Program Goals and Outcomes

  • Raise awareness of the unique and still-untapped potential of the arts to enhance resilience across sectors and scales and to increase the effectiveness of existing resilience initiatives.
  • Generate dialogue and new forms of networking and collaboration between cultural activators and representatives of other sectors working on resilience, including policymakers, NGOs, scholars, and the media.
  • Inspire, catalyze and sustain creative and unorthodox projects and practical alliances at the nexus of the arts, culture, and resilience over the next five years, engaging the broader Salzburg Global Fellowship to help take the most innovative actions to scale.
  • Share learning and new ideas from the session with a broad international group of stakeholders through blogs, newsletters, and substantive reporting.

Session Newsletters

Days 1 & 2

Days 3 & 4

Session Photos

View full set on Flickr

All images are available for download. Please credit Salzburg Global Seminar/Herman Seidl. Unwatermarked images are available on request.

Resource List

ACAPS (Assessment Capacities Project). Special Reports: Greece.

 “Art Action for Climate Action: International Conference Fires Up Partnership Between Cities and Artists”.  n.p. UN Climate Change News Room. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.

Ainsworth, Peroline, and Kiran Nihalani. “Five ways to build solidarity across our differences.” Transformation, 16 January 2017. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

“Immunity to Change: An Exploration in Self Awareness” Allen, Scott J. n.p. n.d. Print.

Apffel-Marglin, Frederique with PRATEC, ed. The Spirit of Regeneration: Andean Culture Confronting Western Notions of Development. London: Zed Books, 1998. Print.

Appignanesi, Richard. ed. Beyond Cultural Diversity: The Case for Creativity. London: Third Text, 2011. Web. 1 Feb 2017.

Arts Council England. Create 1. 2014. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Bartatilas, Loukas. “Kypseli: Researching and mapping of the neighbourhood.” NEON, 2015. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Bartlett, Ken. ed. Animated: The Community Dance Magazine, 2013 Web. 2 Feb. 2017.  

Basaninyenzi, Uwimana. “From Kigali to Kabul: The Role of Art in Post-Conflict Reconciliation.” The World Bank, 2012. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin, 1972. Print.

Bird, Clara.“The Art of Resilience: How Current developments in the environmental art world can better inform and improve natural resource management". Stockholm University. 2007.

Blasim, Hassan. A Refugee in the Paradise that is Europe. Trans. Jonathan Wright. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Bohme, Kai, et al. “Looking ahead: Preparing the Baltic Sea Region for the future.” n.p. 2016. Print.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1979. Print.

“Community Project | Aigaleon Walk: Getting to know Aigaleo City ” NEON, 2014. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

“Community Project | Kypseli | The Ring” NEON & Radio Athenes, 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Cooley, Jessica, and Ann Fox. RE/FORMATIONS: Disability, Women, and Sculpture. Davidson College, 2009. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Coutu, Diane. “How Resilience Works.” Harvard Business Review, 2002. Web 6 Feb. 2017.

“Crear Vale La Pena” Fundacion Crear Vale La Pena. n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Understanding the value of arts & culture: The AHRC Cultural Value Project. Crossick, Geoffrey, and Patrycja Kaszynska. Swindon: Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2016. Print. 

“Cultural Diplomacy Toolkit.” Battery Dance Company International. n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

“Culture after Conflict: rethinking the role of art and culture in post-conflict contexts.” Littoral, n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2017. 

“Deadline 2020 – How Cities Will Meet the Paris Agreement.” C40 Cities and ARUP, n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

DeVlieg, Mary Ann. “Analyzing the Art of Resistance.” World Policy Blog, 9 July 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

“Diversity” Arts Council England. n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

“Equality, Diversity & the Creative Case: A Data Report, 2012-2015” Arts Council England, 2015. Web. 1 Feb 2017.

Fedda, Yasmin. Gorman, Daniel, and Tory Davidson. “Creation and Displacement: Developing new narratives around migration.” IETM: Mapping (2016). Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Fox, Ann. et al. Re/Presenting HIV/AIDS. Davidson College, 2014.

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Looking Away, Staring Back.” Staring: The Way We Look. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Gorman, Daniel. “The Art of Disobedience: Arts and Politics.” IETM: Fresh Perspectives 3 (2015). Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Henry, Charles. “Digital Libraries and Social Justice.” Council on Library and Information Resources, 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Jonah, Nike. Maas, Erwin and Peach, Ricardo. Presentation. 2017."Pan-African Creative Exchange: An Interdisciplinary (Performing Arts Provocation."

Keidan, Lois, and CJ Mitchell. Eds. Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability. London: Live Art Development Agency, 2012. Print

Kokache, Mokhtar. “Creation out of Crisis, A Historic Moment to Leverage Arts and Culture’s Contribution to Social Change in the Arab Region.” Centre for Culture and Development, 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

“MENA-rapport: Kunst og kultur skaber engagement og social forandring.” Centre for Culture and Development, n.d. 1 Feb. 2017.

Miranda, Mario. ed. “Mapping Mapusa Market: Exploring the Histories, Mysteries and Peculiarities of Mapusa Market.” Wordpress. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Moore, Jina. “In the ‘Book Of Life,’ Rwandans Write Letters To The Dead.” Buzzfeed, Apr. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Nwachukwu, Tony and Mark Robinson. “The Role of Diversity in building adaptive resilience.” Arts Council England. (2011) Web. 1 Feb 2017.

Pleasant, Amy. “Artists as Activists: Pursing Social Justice.” The Huffington Post, 2016. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Ramon, Marta. “Integration of Immigrants into Cities through Culture: The Case of Barcelona.” Quaderns de la Mediterrania 12, 2012. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Rathwell, Kaitlyn J. and Derek Armitage. “Art and Artistic Processes bridge knowledge systems about social-ecological change: An empirical examination with Inuit artists from Nunavut, Canada.” Ecology and Society, vol. 21, no. 2, 2016. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.  

REAP & SOW”, Lumen Station #3. Lumen Foundation. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Refugee Integration.” Battery Dance. n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Satloff, Robert. “Winning over Arabs, One Dancer at a Time.” The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East. Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2004. Web. 2 Feb. 2107.

Sidford, Holly. And Alexis Frasz. “Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability.” Salzburg Global Seminar. 2016. Print.

Siebers, Tobin. “Introducing Disability Aesthetics.” Disability Aesthetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2010. Print. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

The Art of Resilience, the Resilience of Art,” n.p. 2013. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.

The Creative Case for Diversity: Innovation and excellence in the arts” Arts Council England. n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.

Tsegaye, Salem. et al. “Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives” Createquality, 2016. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Multi-Year Series


Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running series on Culture, Arts and Societyfocuses on the transformative power of the arts within and across sectors, acilitates cultural exchange at multiple levels, and provides unique networking and capacitybuilding opportunities. Culture and the arts have had  a prominent place in Salzburg  Global Seminar’s programs since its beginnings as the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies in 1947. Today, through multi-year projects and strategic convenings, the Culture, Arts and Society series seeks to secure a more prominent role for the arts on policy agendas and to bring creative change-makers, influencers, and communities together to drive lasting change at scale. As part of our deep commitment to next-generation talent, we support the continuously evolving needs of the creative  sector as a major driver of sustainable economic development and social improvement, particularly through theSalzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators

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