Oct 23, 2017
by Tomás De la Rosa
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YCI Forum highlights benefits of collaboration and exchange

Young cultural Innovators reflect on their takeaways from the Session Participants of the fourth Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators reflecting on their experience at the final plenary discussion

The fourth Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators has reached a resounding conclusion with a message of unity and cooperation.

After six days at Schloss Leopoldskron, 50 of the brightest and creative minds influencing urban and social transformation in their communities have left Salzburg with ideas on how to develop their causes.
This year’s Forum involved young artists and cultural leaders representing more than 30 cities and regions.

Participants exchanged their cultures, passions, opinions, and individual talents and explored how diversity in art is perceived and how it impacts communities.

In the program’s final plenary session, facilitators Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright suggested the session marked the beginning of some of the most thought-provoking conversations of the participants’ lives, something they hoped would influence participants throughout their careers.

Referring to Muhammad Ali’s poem, “Me. We,” Jenkinson and Wright explained that by raising complex issues and dilemmas, participants were pressured to think outside of their safe spaces and develop a greater sense of intimacy with those they would not normally relate with, thus improving their understanding of group dynamics.

The skills workshops and small work groups created to incentivize discussion and facilitate exchange throughout the session received high praise from participants during the closing plenary.

The exchanges throughout the final few days of the program helped refresh the participants’ vision and entrepreneurial skills. A number of participants said the experience had allowed them to enrich each other through different beliefs and approaches.

One participant said that by asking them to face challenges that could only be solved through collaboration, the session had made them more committed to working with people from different backgrounds as the variety of inputs helped them complement each other and make the challenges “not feel like such.”

Several of the facilitators described the Forum as a safe space for courage and peace where Fellows act as a bridge to the future.

Looking ahead, participants discussed potential projects to implement in their communities going forward, as well as how to strengthen the existing YCI network.

The YCI network has now grown to more than 200 creative change-makers across all continents.

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. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtag #SGSyci.