Hot Topic - Young Cultural Innovators Discuss First Step Toward Transforming Systems

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Oct 25, 2018
by Anna Rawe
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Hot Topic - Young Cultural Innovators Discuss First Step Toward Transforming Systems

Young Cultural Innovators discuss first steps toward transforming systems in their cities and regions Young Cultural Innovators discuss the first steps toward transforming systems in their cities and regions

A select number of Fellows at the fifth program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators were asked: What is the first step toward transforming systems? We have published their answers below.

"I think the thing we consider injustice… [is that] in Taiwan not many people understand how important South East Asia is. It’s been a long time that we ignore people there, we do not understand the potential there… I think what we’re doing is a platform for a connection to exchange, and we want to actually support the people in Taiwan who are artists or cultural practitioners who have ideas to build up a bridge, to support and exchange. I’m not saying that Taiwan is okay now because there is injustice… and we ignore the talent and art in those countries… we either underestimate the potential or think of [them as exotic], but either way, I think the only solution is to build up more and more connections and make people know it’s possible for us to collaborate together… I’m not saying its efficient or we expect to achieve something right away because we are a really new NGO… I think it’s impossible when you see an injustice to say ‘Okay, I can solve it.’ That’s a good thought but not very realistic. When you fight prejudice for [the] long-term, the first thing is that we offer people [the] opportunity to observe, to participate… to build up a dialogue that would be [the first step].”

Patty Chan, Taiwan

Program officer at the Mekong Cultural Hub

"I think it would be education - education in the direction of opening minds… what scares me… as a piano teacher I see kids younger and younger using iPads, they’re using cell phones, and I see them coming to piano lessons with the smartphone, putting it away, playing piano, taking the smartphone [out again] after everything, which makes children have a really two-dimensional view of the world… As a musician, the sound we listen to has less and less quality… and somehow we get used to it… for [young people’s] education just looking at things is really primordial, really important… I try to do what I can with the kids I work with to open their eyes and ears… but I think it’s the first step to also question the things we see on Facebook, on the Internet, to question… we have to really get active, and these smartphones are really our first enemy.”

Matthias Leboucher, Salzburg

Musician and co-founder of New Art and Music Ensemble Salzburg (NAMES)

“[The] first step to changing systems I see as unfair [is] identifying them. Not a definition but really trying to understand what’s unfair about it and to who and how that reflects [onto] everybody’s life and then awareness raising. People need to understand that something is not just the way it is, but it’s really unfair and might change, and just acknowledging that you can change something eventually would lead to [change]. It’s like an empowerment; you understand that you have that power to improve things that you once took for granted.”

Anisa Lloja, Tirana

Program staff at Cultural Heritage without Borders Albania; co-founder of Nji-Mar, Nji Mrapsht

"We’ve already had a couple of other Memphis Hub people here that have collaborated and [are] working together, so trying to find ways to kind of push that outwards, and maybe intersectionally. Everything in Memphis is extremely black and white issue based. We’re trying to find ways to include other struggles in the one that we have already, and I guess maybe bridge divides that way because I don’t know if that’s been done. It’s always black organizations… how do we include as many narratives in our, I guess, bigger goal? … The collaboration is what I’m most interested in.”

Victoria Jones, Memphis

Executive director at The CLTV Collective


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators V 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, Arts Council Korea, Asia-Europe Foundation,  Bush Foundation, Cambodian Living Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Foundation Adelman pour l’Education, Fulbright Greece, Japan Foundation, Korea Foundation, the Llewellyn Thompson Memorial Fellowship, Robert Bosch Stiftung, The Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Nippon Foundation, World Culture Open, Adena and David Testa, and the U.S. Embassy Valetta, Malta. More information on the program can be found here. More information on the series can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtag #SGSyci.