Making the World Better and Beautiful Through Collaboration




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Jan 27, 2020
by Oscar Tollast
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Making the World Better and Beautiful Through Collaboration

Salzburg Global Fellow Jaimie (Joo Im) Moon discusses the impact of attending the YCI Forum and arts and culture in the Republic of Korea Jaimie (Joo Im) Moon

For Jaimie (Joo Im) Moon, her experience in Salzburg was “inspiring” for many reasons – none more so than her realizing “how so many great and creative people are out there making our world better and beautiful…” Her participation in the Young Cultural Innovators Forum (YCI) also helped her make connections that would have otherwise been difficult to make.

“It was also very meaningful for me to get to talk with global fellows from the regions that are comparatively rare to meet in East Asia, such as those from Eastern Europe and South America. The thoughtfully curated programs of YCI led us to become friends and to exchange thoughts and experiences in fun and mindful way[s].”

Moon, from the Republic of Korea, arrived in Salzburg in October 2016 as a senior researcher and cultural designer for the Bureau of Strategic Planning of the World Culture Open, a non-profit organization that promotes cultural diversity and unprejudiced cultural exchange around the globe. Now, she is the executive director of the Bureau that stands in its place: The Bureau of Research & Plan. Moon has since grown more confident about her life goal.

She said, “I think I was able to be clearer about my goal through YCI and recent years of work because I feel that there are more allies, the comrades, and friends to learn from and to exchange knowledge and experiences with for the common goal. Such [a] feeling of solidarity brings up confidence and willpower in me.”

Better Together

At World Culture Open, Moon is working on the organization’s Better Together Initiative, which tries to bring together social entrepreneurs from around the world who are working for the greater good. Moon said, “World Culture Open shares a very similar goal of what Salzburg Global Seminar has been achieving over 70 years - convening creative minds across sectors, fostering networks and partnership for social change, [and] connecting local innovators across the globe.”

One of the two pillars of this initiative is the Better Together Festival (Challenge), an annual three-day global gathering of change-makers where participants can share stories of their projects and win prizes through a contest-format program. They can also exchange knowledge, attend talks and concerts, have in-depth group discussions on social issues, and discuss potential partnerships.

Last year’s festival was held in Pyeongchang and featured hundreds of practitioners from around the world, including several YCI Fellows. Susanna Seidl-Fox, a program director at Salzburg Global responsible for culture and the arts, was also in attendance. Moon said, “Along with the Challenge, we were happy to be able to invite some YCI Fellows as advisory members to the Better Together initiative this year. Advisory members… are those recognized as proactive agents of change in their own communities who actively engage in shaping and implementing Better Together initiative with a collaborative network of practitioners and change-makers.”

Collaborative Partnerships

Moon said she had benefited personally and professionally from knowing Seidl-Fox. “She has been a great mentor for me in the aspect of leadership, management, and communication… I believe such professionalism that Susi shows throughout the process of work is also a very important learning element for young cultural innovators.”

The YCI Forum is building a global network of 500 change-makers in hub communities to design collaborative projects, build skills, provide mentorship, and connector innovators in different cities and countries. Moon has collaborated with Salzburg Global Fellows, including Phloen Prim, Siphiwe Mbinda, Rebecca Chan, Yu Nakamura, Sebastian Chuffer, Chunnoon Song-e Song, and more. Moon said, “The YCI network, a pool of hundreds of creative minds is an incredible source of greater-good practitioners [whom] I can invite, connect [with] and introduce [to] the field of work that I am involved in.

“For the projects that I curated in Korea, I could invite YCI Fellows as global speakers, facilitators and expert/advisory members, or connect the Fellows to other cultural projects and collaborative opportunities in Korea.”

Arts and Culture in the Republic of Korea

In the Republic of Korea, Moon said there are a “good amount” of grants and government-backed cultural foundations that support the arts. World Culture Open, for example, works closely with the public sector at various levels. Moon said, “We partner with the Presidential Committee for the National Balanced Development for a project to find and support the cultural innovators in local areas… They are the core element in terms of [the] sustainable development of the region. Such collaborative effort[s] [are] important, especially when the disparity between cosmopolitan urban [cities] like Seoul and the other regions is generating many social problems.

“The Better Together Global Festival has [also] been hosted and funded by the city-level regional governments each year. And we often get invited by the government bureaus for consultancy to various arts and culture-related matters in the regions.”

Despite this financial support, Moon believes the arts and culture sector in Korea is still considered a secondary subject when compared with technology, the economy, or politics. “We need to acknowledge cultural innovators – those who practice and promote arts and culture – are also the social innovators. Cultural innovators approach social issue[s] with [flexibility] and creative perspective[s] and find breakthroughs from unconventional approaches. Arts and culture brings advancement to technology, [the] economy, and even politics with creativity.”

If Moon could change one thing about the arts and culture sector in her country, it would be the arts education system. She believes arts and culture need to be taught as a natural means of expression and creativity. “Arts and culture should be appreciated and valued more importantly in terms of class time and resource allocation at schools, and it should be applied cross-sectoral throughout various subjects. Teachers need more learning resources and practical training. It is never enough. Governments and corporations need to invest more in arts education.”

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected changemakers in “hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.