Cultural Innovation, Leadership and Collaboration: A Global Platform





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Feb 28, 2020
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Cultural Innovation, Leadership and Collaboration: A Global Platform

Latest report from the Young Cultural Innovators Forum now online to download, read and share

Many cities and regions around the world are facing radical environmental, social, political, and economic transformation, confronting challenges such as climate change, social injustice, the need for educational reform, and growing economic disparities. Addressing these challenges takes action at all levels and in collaboration across multiple different sectors.

Recognizing that some of the most imaginative solutions at the local and community levels are found in the arts and culture sector, where young cultural innovators are helping to drive change, Salzburg Global Seminar launched the Young Cultural Innovators Forum (YCI Forum) in 2014 to connect and empower a critical mass of talented change-makers across the world to shape a more creative, just and sustainable world.

In October 2019, 50 new members joined this growing global network of cultural changemakers and creative practitioners, by taking part in the sixth program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators – Cultural Innovation, Leadership and Collaboration: A Global Platform.

Supported by local partner organizations and individual philanthropists, the newest members of the YCI Forum came to Salzburg from 17 countries including Austria, Canada, India, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malta, Philippines, South Africa, the UK, and the USA, and represented diverse artistic disciplines from the visual and performing arts, literature, and cultural heritage, to foods, fashion, architecture, and design. As ever, all participants were aged between 25-35 with at least two years of professional experience in the arts or cultural sector and a demonstrable passion for creating social change within their community.

YCI Program Director Susanna Seidl-Fox said, “By connecting this next generation of creative changemakers, Salzburg Global aims to support and strengthen the evolving cultural ecosystem, catalyze cross-sectoral connections, and expand the possibilities for civic innovation and social improvement through the power and creativity of the arts worldwide.”

Continuity and Co-creation

For the first time, the Forum also saw a large number of existing members of the YCI network from previous years’ programs return as facilitators, who helped co-create the program along with the long-serving faculty and Salzburg Global staff. 

Faye Hobson, YCI Program Manager, said, “The goals of the program in Salzburg are to welcome the new YCIs into the YCI Forum network, connect them with each other, and provide opportunities for them to reflect on their own practice, as well as on their role in their community, in their city or region, and as part of the YCI network worldwide. This year the YCI Forum is being co-created by Salzburg Global, the YCI facilitation team, and members of the YCI Forum network. We believe that co-creation taps into the collective insight and potential of groups, and is especially effective when bringing together YCIs from around the world who are facing common challenges in their work to generate breakthrough solutions that shape a better world.”

The annual week-long residential program at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar, is designed to help participants develop the dynamic vision, practical skills, and global networks they need to bridge divides, expand collaboration, and transform systems at the local, regional, and global levels. The program combines theory and praxis, with capacity building sessions focusing on communicating value, principles of self-organization, cross-sectoral collaboration, and leadership and values. This 2019 program was also aligned with several Sustainable Development Goals. Participants examined how people within the arts and cultural sector can create sustainable cities and communities as well as positive innovation for the future.

Now entering its seventh year, the YCI Forum is growing and nurturing a dynamic international network that catalyzes an expanding range of local and cross-border collaborations. The Forum represents a major, ten-year commitment by Salzburg Global Seminar to fostering creative innovation and social entrepreneurship for more inclusive and sustainable development. 

This new report does give an overview of each of the programmatic elements in Salzburg, but the majority of the report includes interviews with and accounts directly from YCI Fellows about why they value the program. An account of the ongoing “Contested Histories” project, sparked by a protest at the 2018 YCI Forum, is also included.

Download the report as a PDF

The 2019 program of the Young Cultural Innovators Forum was held in partnership with Adena and David Testa, Arts Council Korea, Arts Council Malta, the Bush Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, Sheika Salama Bint Hamdan al Nahyan Foundation, Shalini Passi Art Foundation, and World Culture Open.