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Culture and the Arts Program

This Is Why One Man Is Keen to Protect Spoken Languages
Chao Gejin, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, at Salzburg Global Seminar
This Is Why One Man Is Keen to Protect Spoken Languages
Lucy Browett 
When it comes to societal advancement, Chao Gejin argues there are “at least two wheels to bring human civilization… forward: literacy and orality.” Chao is a senior researcher and deputy director of the Institute of Ethnic Literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He also serves on the board of other institutions focusing on folklore or oral traditions. He leads an archive that collects oral traditions from marginalized societies - “one of the biggest in China,” Chao said. He attended the Salzburg Global Seminar program, What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential, which took place from March 16 to March 21 at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg. How did Chao’s work come about? He said, “At the very beginning, I worked on contemporary modern literature. I composed some papers about some novelists in China…. then I gradually realized that those oral traditions in especially minority peoples are declining rapidly.” This led to a shift in his career to focus on preserving these oral traditions. His recent focus has been on preserving Mongolian oral traditions, interviewing others who use languages which don’t have a written form. While tangible cultural heritage has been historically promoted and studied over the years, intangible cultural heritage, including oral tradition, has received less of a focus. He said, “We really need to take this part of the knowledge seriously… UNESCO launched this Intangible Cultural Heritage campaign; it is to try to make things correct. “In many countries, folklore is not a discipline. It's not a core program. In most of the universities in Europe …. you cannot find any programs on folklore. “In North America, it's OK. In India, China, Estonia, Japan, and some other countries, it's developed quite well. But on the other side of the world? No. We need to bring some new ideas to make people aware this living oral tradition is so important.” How would Chao suggest his fellow participants become more aware of intangible culture and oral tradition? It’s about recognizing global illiteracy. He said, “Oral tradition, generally speaking, is as important as literacy. [It] contains enormous information of humankind in many forms. Furthermore, for many peoples, oral tradition is the only information technology they have to deliver messages from generation to generation. “I think it's very important for today's academia to [be] aware that in today's world about 7,000 to 10,000 languages are spoken on this planet and most of them without writing. “For these people, you talk to them, exchange ideas or try to persuade them things, or try to have a dialogue with them…” What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Fulbright Greece, and the Korea Foundation. For more information on the program, please click on the following link: https://bit.ly/2HF3WDF
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Reflecting on the Emerging Field of Geoethics
Salzburg Global Fellows Martin Bohle and Rika Preiser at Schloss Leopoldskron
Reflecting on the Emerging Field of Geoethics
Lucy Browett 
It’s common for first-time participants at Salzburg Global Seminar not to know what to expect during a program. For Martin Bohle, an advisor to senior management at the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, the one thing he did expect was to stand out. “I was prepared to be the outsider – [an] official of the European Commission (Eurocrat) and STEM-loving,” Bohle said. “In that sense, it was true, but [it] did not feel like that after some initially very suspicious looks faded away.” Bohle arrived at Schloss Leopoldskron at the beginning of 2018 for the Salzburg Global program, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology, and Making Sense of the Future. The program, which ran from February 20 to 25, sought to answer questions about the arts, technological advancements, environmental preservation and defining the future. Despite Bohle’s concerns of being an outsider, his experience at Salzburg led to a significant outcome: finding a new co-author for a book he had begun writing with his colleagues called Exploring Geoethics - Ethical Implications, Societal Contexts, and Professional Obligations of the Geosciences. The co-author in question was Rika Preiser, a senior researcher at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Bohle and Preiser both spoke on the program panel entitled “Connecting Creative Foresight and Policymaking.” As a result of meeting in Salzburg, both Preiser and Bohle co-authored the chapter "Exploring Societal Intersections of Geoethical Thinking." Bohle said of the collaboration, “Her thoughts have enriched the book and strengthened the reflections about system dynamics and cultural contexts. In turn, she [has] discovered new ground that enriches her thinking.” The book itself is a joint effort of Bohle’s colleagues, all of whom are experts in geoscience with different professional backgrounds to reflect on ethics in geoscience. He said, “We present the emerging field of geoethics, its potential, and limitations. “This work is about how ethical subjects relate to professional duties, scholarly interests, activities in professional geoscience associations, or responsible citizenship in times of anthropogenic global change.” Bohle and Preiser have since joined forces again to create the publication Handling GeoEndowments Geoethically for this year’s EGU General Assembly, which took place earlier this month. Reflecting on his time in Salzburg, Bohle said, “Participating at [the program] strengthened my determination to think about ‘The Future’ from various angles. “I got exposed to people and their ideas that otherwise I would not have met. In consequence, I understood deeper that geosciences have a cultural meaning, in an educational sense as well as in daily societal practices. That meaning needs to be expressed, what brings artists closer to my thinking - thanks to Salzburg Global. The book refers to arts in some places, but that relationship I have to explore further.” How did the program impact him personally and professionally? Bohle said his network had been enriched and he had become exposed to different ideas. He added, “This [experience] has co-shaped what I did last year; the book is one example.” The Salzburg Global program, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future, was part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The program was supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the program can be found by clicking on the following link: https://bit.ly/2Z6mcw0
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Pioneering a New Vision for the Cultural Heritage Sector
Participants of the Salzburg Global Seminar program, What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential
Pioneering a New Vision for the Cultural Heritage Sector
Oscar Tollast 
Salzburg Global Fellows have set the groundwork for countering threats to cultural heritage and exploring new frontiers in heritage innovation. Following an intensive five-day program at Schloss Leopoldskron – What Future for Culture Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential – participants expressed their vision for the future and several calls to actions in a series of presentations. More than 45 participants working in 30 countries were divided into focus groups which examined topics including cross-sector alliances and development partnerships, technology, decolonizing heritage, youth engagement, and the relationship between cultural heritage and sustainable development. Another group also dedicated their time toward making a case for cultural heritage. To create cross-sector alliances, you need to have a clear a statement about what you’re doing, the first group to present argued. Part of the group’s mission statement reads: “Cultural heritage considerations need to be embedded within all sectors of government and civil society.” Among other strategies, participants called for each national International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) chapter to evaluate heritage with the potential to be lost through climate change and migration. In addition, participants recommended each chapter should develop a mitigation plan for heritage identified through this survey, which could include documentation and identification of partners in other sectors. Greater coordination with agencies such as the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and partners in the philanthropic, technology, and business sectors would also be beneficial, according to participants. The presenter indicated Salzburg Global Fellows could be the nucleus of a coalition to implement these strategies, which they declared “achievable” over the next 20 years. The next group to present focused on “putting the cultural heritage in tech.” Participants recommended creating a Cultural Heritage Resource Defence Council. This council would convene, support, and act to host critical conversations, advocate for shared action, collect and create learning patterns and tools, and build capacities within different constituencies. One participant argued, “We can’t predict the future. But we can design toward the one we want.” There is uncertainty whether society is on a path toward re-colonizing the digital or de-colonizing the digital, the group put across, suggesting society is at a crossroads. Participants advocated centering ethics and equity at the core of the way the cultural heritage sector works within, and across other spaces, as acts of reparation, restitution, and decolonization. They said communities deserve to be valued and respected, and also expressed their belief in the power of integrating ethical and equitable technologies in producing and amplifying cultures and knowledges. The next group to present had spent their time looking at decolonizing heritage. What was presented with a “useful starting point,” participants heard, but not a blueprint. The presenter discussed re-examining how colonial imposition works, the importance of centering, recentering, and decentering, and developing a space to address unjust practices, ideas, thinking in shared equal environments. Participants also heard about having practices informed by collaborative, dialogical, and multi-logical values. In response to this presentation, one participant suggested it made her think, “What do we do in the world, and how do we do it?” If looking toward the future, the sector has to consider how to engage youth. How does the sector make youth engaged and build on existing interest? How does the sector bridge the generation gap? How does the sector create spaces for dialogue and creativity? Participants who focused on youth engagement outlined a vision for the future. In this future, cultural heritage will be globally recognized as a dynamic process for participation and inclusion for the youth. Spaces of dialogue and creativity will be realized between the generations. Culture, arts, and humanities will be significant in education. In a call to action, these participants asked for spaces to be created, for better exposure to be given to cultural heritage, and more action from policymakers to integrate youth in relevant discussions. Participants said these actions can be achieved through policy development, staff training, and the integration of digital and analog experiences. The penultimate group examined the relationship between cultural heritage and sustainable development. Participants within this group came up with Vision 2039: mainstreaming cultural heritage in sustainable development and sustainable development in cultural heritage. This vision is guided by several principles, including having a holistic all-inclusive approach to cultural heritage, and the concept of cultural heritage as a driver and enabler of all aspects of sustainable development. Participants argued cultural heritage is dynamic, for all, and a container for multiple values. Proposed strategies include building alliances with different audiences, integrating cultural heritage into development and planning processes, empowering communities, building capacity, strengthening the cultural heritage sector, harnessing digital technologies, improving evidence-based reporting, diversifying funding sources, and strengthening the role of cultural heritage within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

View full set on Flickr The final group to present set out to make a case for cultural heritage. The group summarized that in an ideal world, scientists should be able to pin their hopes on data, and presenting this evidence should be enough to convince policymakers and the public the benefits of cultural heritage. “But sometimes that isn’t enough,” the group said. Many challenges are facing the planet right now: climate change, conflict, hate against difference, displacement, poverty, social inequalities, access to education, conflicting agendas, literacy, and decolonizing history, to name but a few. What can cultural heritage do? Participants in this group came up with a few ideas. Among other things, participants agreed cultural heritage can celebrate humanity, bring joy, enhance understandings, instill respect, combat climate change, increase confidence, foster discovery, strengthen well-being, renew hope, and promote peace. To make a case for cultural heritage, the group said practitioners had to engage with representatives from other sectors. Participants proposed the creation of social media accounts and a hashtag campaign (#HeritageCan) designed to showcase the value of cultural heritage. Other ideas include writing opinion pieces for different platforms, such as The Conversation. As the program concluded, all participants were asked to note down and express a commitment to the group. Participants were also encouraged to continue their work outside of Salzburg, to take advantage of their new connections and networks and help raise greater awareness of the role and significance of cultural heritage. What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Fulbright Greece, and the Korea Foundation. For more information on the program, please click here.
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New Answers on the Importance of Culture
Chunnoon Song-e Song speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar
New Answers on the Importance of Culture
Lucy Browett and Oscar Tollast 
In 2014, Chunnoon Song-e Song arrived at Schloss Leopoldskron looking for answers. She was one of 50 rising talents invited to attend the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. At the time, she was in charge of cultural and international relations at the National Museum of Korea. Now, almost five years later, she is working for the UNESCO Office for Afghanistan as associate program manager of the National Program for Culture and Creative Economy. A lot has changed. “When I joined Salzburg Global Seminar (in 2014), it was really an eye-opener for me because it was when I was starting to think whether culture is an essential thing in your life,” said Song, speaking at Salzburg Global’s latest program, What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential. Responding to this dilemma was difficult. “But I wanted to find an answer,” said Song. “I wanted to help a project, or I wanted to be a person who deals with an important thing. I wanted to find the enthusiastic point of my work...” In her role, she was coordinating the Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces, an Asia-Europe Museum Network project encouraging cooperation between museums in both continents. She said, “Sitting [at a] desk in Seoul, surrounded by beautiful objects, it was [an] amusing experience, but at the same time it was very painful because I couldn’t find the answer to this question: does cultural heritage actually matter to people? In Salzburg, she realized there were other practitioners like her asking similar questions and trying to find answers in “the most innovative way.” Song looked within herself and considered whether her interest lay, reminding herself of her love for cultural heritage and cultural projects. The Asia-Europe Museum Network project involved around 150 museums. The essence of the project was to gather the digital information of these museum’s masterpieces. Song said, “At first I would just continue with the work, but then after coming back from Salzburg Global Seminar, I started thinking, can’t we make use of this in a better way to show that culture actually matters? Then I started thinking that maybe we should include the museums that people actually cannot visit.” Recognizing many of the participating museums were based in “relatively safer environments,” Song thought, “What’s the point of showing the objects that people can actually see?” She developed an interest in museums based in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. The National Museum of Afghanistan was the first institution Song got into contact with about inventorying and documenting the digital data of the museum’s objects. UNESCO Afghanistan, Song, and the National Museum of Korea collaborated and launched a project in 2015. Song then asked herself another question: does cultural heritage matter in a country which is experiencing conflict? She accepted a job offer from UNESCO and went to work with people in Afghanistan. Three and a half years later, Song says she has an answer. “Culture actually matters to people – really matters to people… Often some donors, who are not residing in Afghanistan, they would ask, do you really think that culture matters in Afghanistan when children die [from] starving and etc.? I tell them you should have an interview with the Afghan people. They feel depressed without culture. “They feel they do not get the opportunity to show their pride if they are deprived of culture. I have been working in the most unfortunate places – even in Afghanistan – which is the refugee camps and internally displaced people camps and discovered how much joy that cultural projects can bring to these people and how much of a hope that it actually brings to people. It’s something that’s not tangible. It’s something that you cannot actually see or measure. It’s often neglected by the international society which doesn’t really know the situation, but if you actually go on the field, you immediately see the change.” To highlight to donors how significant cultural projects are, Song and her colleagues recently organized a participatory theater project to bring host communities and internally displaced people closer together. Song said, “There were interventions by U.N. agencies and in other international agencies to tackle the issue of lack of food and lack of water and lack of education. But there really hasn’t been any attempts to tackle the issue of lack of cultural connection or cultural communication.” Children received professional acting classes for three months. They performed plays highlighting the narratives of their parents. Song said, “They are the stories of why they had to move to this province, this area, and why they had to leave their own hometown… the reaction that we got from the host community was really immense. The host community [said], ‘We wouldn’t have imagined the difficulties that they had to go through to come and live with us…’ They would feel that these internally displaced people are human beings who they can communicate with now… “It’s not just bread and water that they need because they are human beings and if they want to live the future, and if they want to build the future for the country and not having people to leave the country and flee the country all the time, what really matters is the cultural project.” Since working for the UNESCO Office for Afghanistan, Song has been based in Kabul, Bamiyan, and in Seoul. She is mainly in charge of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and enhancing the diversity of cultural expressions in conflict areas. One project Song is responsible for is the Bamiyan Cultural Centre, which is due to open in May 2020. It will be based near the boundaries of the World Heritage property of the Cultural Landscapes and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, a site which made headlines following the destruction of the standing Buddhas in 2001. Song says the community is ready to move on from this incident. She said “We started supporting their festivals, and we started supporting the expression of their cultural diversity and the diversity of their cultural practices… after five years of this implementation, we now have at least one festival every month. It’s really fun to watch that. It’s really enjoyable to watch it because you see that it was triggered by UNESCO, but then it was the role of the community to prolong with that…” What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Fulbright Greece, and the Korea Foundation. For more information on the program, please click here.
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Responding to the Hidden Crisis of “Unknowing”
Anasuya Sengupta at Salzburg Global Seminar
Responding to the Hidden Crisis of “Unknowing”
Lucy Browett 
“Here’s the internet. It has the potential to be democratic and emancipatory. It has the potential to be all the things people are claiming it already is. It is not.” Anasuya Sengupta is co-founder and co-director of Whose Knowledge?, a global campaign which aims to center the knowledge of marginalized communities on the internet. She formerly held the position of the chief grant-making officer at the Wikimedia Foundation. While 75% of the world’s online population is from the global South, much of the content online stems from Europe and North America. Whose Knowledge? believes there is a “hidden crisis of ‘unknowing’” which is responsible for crisis of violence and injustice in the world. Reflecting on her work, Sengupta said, “What we try and do is to work with communities who consider themselves marginalized in different ways to create with them, to curate with them, to map with them, and to bring online their different forms of knowledge, whether that is textual… visual, oral or experiential and embodied in some ways.” Sengupta attended the Salzburg Global Seminar program, What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential, which took place from March 16 to March 21 at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg. She considers “culture” and “knowledge” as interchangeable terms and believes the culture of marginalized communities is often sidelined from the internet under the hierarchical structure of what constitutes “knowledge.” Sengupta said, “As a political anthropologist by training and as a community organizer by practice, I think of culture very much as knowledge. There are different ways of knowing and we express those ways of knowing in different forms that are different forms of cultural artifact. “I think centering it very much in ways of knowing, allows us to talk about the fact that there are multiple ways of knowing, and we have constructed through history a hierarchy around those ways of knowing.” During her stay in Salzburg, Sengupta worked alongside various practitioners from the cultural heritage sector and representatives of cultural ministries and heritage associations. What can these people do to help to assist with the decolonization of the internet? Sengupta said, “Decolonizing the internet for us is to recognize the challenges that are in the real world, see that they are reified and amplified in the virtual world.” “We need to look at the way we understand knowledge and culture. All of these incredible people in the room [at the program] and what they're doing, we would love to see them thinking very much about this continuum between the work they do in the physical world and how to more freely and openly share that knowledge online, so that the rest of the world can also understand and know together.” However, Sengupta recognizes not all knowledge is destined to be online. She said, “Many indigenous communities have sacred knowledge, but the choice of sharing should be borne by the communities, not by those of us who might be seen as gate-keepers.” One of Whose Knowledge?’s initiatives is the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign, which aims to increase the visibility of women online. Sengupta said, “Of all the biographies on Wikipedia, only about 20 percent of them are of women in any given language. “What we've been trying to do to support those who are bringing the bios of women online is to say there's a further invisiblization literally through image. A fraction of those that exist of women's bios have images. “The invisibility is both real and, in this case, symbolic. What we've been trying to do is to get people from across the world to upload the images of the notable women, important and influential women in their communities.” Sengupta is inspired by stories, and the work of Whose Knowledge? will ensure that more stories will be unearthed and shared online for all to see. Discussing what inspires her to do the work she does, she said, “Recognizing that human life, human history, her story, and our stories are such rich, plural multiple, forms of knowledge that we have, I think, only just begun even to get a slight taste of in the 21st century. “That is the promise of the 21st century. That if we could get beyond all the ridiculousness of war, violence, conflict, and ego, so at the broadest macro level and at the most minute, intimate level, we could begin to see each other much more fully and through that, in some ways, find an extraordinary balance.” What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. For more information on the program, please click here.
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Reflecting on Cultural Heritage and Looking for New Answers
George Abungu at Salzburg Global Seminar
Reflecting on Cultural Heritage and Looking for New Answers
Lucy Browett 
In the fall of 2009, participants convened at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, for the program Connecting to the World's Collections: Making the Case for the Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage. At this program, the Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage was drafted, calling on governments, non-governmental organizations and the cultural heritage sector at large to commit to safeguarding cultural heritage for the future. Now 10 years on, a participant at that program, George Abungu, is co-chair of the program What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential. Abungu is CEO of Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants and was formerly director-general of the National Museums of Kenya. He said, “We did a lot with World Heritage sites, but I also work in the area of intangible heritage. So I've been able to assist a number of countries to prepare the nomination files for the nomination for ICH [Intangible Cultural Heritage], the 2003 convention, as well as the 1972 convention.” Speaking of his experience moderating panels as co-chair, he said, “The panelists have got very deep backgrounds in heritage matters and the fact that they can be questioned, they can interrogate and question the subject and stick to what they're supposed to do within a very limited time, but still be able to produce what is required, for me is quite commendable.” The program is being held from March 16 to March 21 at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, as part of the multi-year series Culture, Arts and Society. By the end of the program, participants will be asked to consider jointly drafting a Salzburg Statement on the problematics and potential of cultural heritage in the 21st Century, building and expanding on the 2009 Declaration. Reflecting on cultural heritage 10 years since he last attended the program at Salzburg Global, Abungu said, “Yes I think there have been improvements. “We've had an international meeting in Nairobi dealing with climate change which was attended by President Macron from France in Nairobi. It is something that we were talking about 10 years ago, and now it's materializing, and people are addressing that.” He went on to say, “I think now today we are developing even more risk management planning in advance.” However, there appear to be challenges within cultural heritage that were less prevalent back then. Abungu said, “Heritage that in those days could not be touched, things that we thought were very special that nobody would ever take, no human being could touch, have actually become targets for terrorism and making political statements. “So when you talk about Aleppo and all these places, heritage is now intentionally being destroyed as a political statement. Now 10 years ago I don't think that was something. “Things do seem to be changing very fast. Maybe we should try to also focus more on how do we deal with situations where because of the exposure, because of the attention, because of the resources that we are putting in, that we are now making heritage to become a target.” Progress has been made in terms of the promotion of African heritage through the establishment of the Museum of Black Civilisations in Dakar, Senegal, in December 2018, for which Abungu curated an exhibit. The museum is a realization of Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor’s, vision for a space to showcase “the achievements of the past of the continent to really showcase how Africans contributed to world civilization.” Abungu said, “When I was called to do that, I felt very privileged and, as an archaeologist and a heritage person, I felt privileged. “For me, it actually showcases the beginning of humanity. So one of the greatest things that Africa has contributed to the world is the emergence of humanity. That is why this particular museum for me is important. It's not only confined to the cradle element, but it goes up to the present - what we are today. “We are having a dialogue of civilizations from when the first human emerged from Africa up to the present. So for me, it is important because it actually sets the ground for the discussion about humanity and human life and how we have developed up to the present.” What does Abungu expect from the five-day program? He said, “I am hoping that we can question more, and in questioning more we can be able to start looking for answers that will answer those questions that we are asking. “That is really to be able to question more, to interrogate more, to try to question even the obvious because, for me now, I realize that it's not obvious… to question the concepts like cultural heritage and what it means, and what it means to who, and who defines what cultural heritage is.” What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. For more information on the program, please click here.
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Emerging Ideas in the Field of Cultural Heritage
Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash
Emerging Ideas in the Field of Cultural Heritage
Oscar Tollast 
Creative thinkers and ground-breaking practitioners from around the world will convene at Schloss Leopoldskron on Sunday for the start of a brand new program. What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society multi-year series. The five-day program, which begins on Saturday, March 16, will see participants reflect on and critique current approaches to cultural heritage and explore new frontiers in heritage innovation and collaboration. More than 45 participants working in 30 countries will take part in a highly interactive program featuring presentations, curated conversations, knowledge exchange, and practical group work. The program will be structured along a continuum of inquiry: perceptions of the past, problematics of the present, and potential for the future. The program’s co-chairs are George Abungu, CEO of Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants, and Vishakha Desai, senior advisor for global affairs to the president of Columbia University. Critical questions for participants include: In societies striving to be inclusive and equitable, how can we move toward more expansive approaches to and notions of cultural heritage? What practical approaches and innovations are already being taken to counter threats to cultural heritage? What obstacles are preventing success and how can collaboration be expanded to overcome these challenges and connect new generations to their cultural heritage? How could the cultural heritage sector better communicate with other sectors for mutual benefit, especially in the fields of education, urban development, and tourism? What innovative strategies can connect more people from all walks of life, especially new urban generations, to cultural heritage? What potential does digitization have for making cultural heritage come alive in ground-breaking new ways? How can advocacy work around heritage be improved? What do these developments imply for the education and training of the next generation of cultural heritage professionals? By the end of the program, organizers hope participants will be able to develop strategies for raising greater awareness of the role of cultural heritage and share learning from the program through dynamic reporting. Participants will also be asked to consider jointly drafting a Salzburg Statement on the problematics and potential of cultural heritage in the 21st Century, building and expanding on the 2009 Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Susanna Seidl-Fox, program director at Salzburg Global Seminar for culture and the arts, said, “Against the complex backdrop of today’s volatile and rapidly changing world, it is a critical moment to ask what cultural heritage means in the 21st century: why is heritage important to preserve? Whose heritage are we preserving? How do we as societies connect our pasts, presents, and our futures in meaningful ways to foster identity, confidence, and cohesion in our diverse cultures and civilizations?  By bringing together this diverse group of cultural heritage experts from around the globe, we hope to catalyze a new cultural heritage conversation around perceptions of the past, problematics of the present, and the potential for the future.” What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. For more information on the program, please click here.
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