Home » Topics » Fellow Updates
Fellow Updates
Research Communication Takeaways from Interdisciplinary Research for the SDGs
Research Communication Takeaways from Interdisciplinary Research for the SDGs
Sajid Chowdhury 
This op-ed was written by Sajid Chowdhury, director at Big Blue Communications. Chowdhury attended the Salzburg Global Seminar session, Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education: Targeting Interdisciplinary Research to Meet the SDGs. In March, I joined a brilliant three-day seminar of 60+ researchers, funders and policymakers brought together to highlight opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary research in meeting Sustainable Development Goals.The session was convened by Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and with UK Research and Innovation. Salzburg Global has held 500+ similar events since post-World War II, bringing people together to address complex challenges and build networks.Interdisciplinary research is what it sounds like. It brings together minds from diverse fields, attempts to break siloed thinking, and tackles research challenges from varied viewpoints. It also has challenges. According to journal Nature in 2015: ‘Research that transcends conventional academic boundaries is harder to fund, do, review and publish — and those who attempt it struggle for recognition and advancement.’ This sentiment was echoed through the seminar.Through interactive exercises and discussions, we mapped interlinkages and tensions between the SDGs that relate to four sectors of climate change, conflict, health, and education. We also discussed strategies for communicating complexity and shaping policy to help countries meet those SDGs. Finally, we jointly offered recommendations to research funders, policymakers, and practitioners for future research. Day 3 Panel: ‘Communication for the Infobesity Era’ On Day 3, our four-person panel discussed research communication in an era of information overload. How can communicators compete for audiences’ attention? How can research teams ensure that their engagement with audiences is meaningful, relevant, and current? Where do concepts such as social media, mobile phones, fake news, and increasingly aggravated perceptions of 'experts' fit in? My take: More than ever, research findings must compete with a whole lot of other messaging. That means research communication should be targeted, with the fat trimmed off so that a journalist or politician or citizen can understand the important bits right away.By nature, research findings can be complex, and complexity takes time to clarify. Assuming that audiences such as citizens and government representatives and politicians may not have much time, then it makes sense for research teams to ensure their messages are clear, compact, and punchy. Research findings will often need to exist in different formats, whether as news, a series of memorable events, communication campaign, or visual experience featuring stories that audiences can connect with. This can be a new, but exciting, world for research teams that may be more accustomed to [the] production of written content for academic publications.For research teams that want to rise above the noise, there is incredible value in finding great communicators. Just as there are people who love conducting cutting-edge research, equally, there are people who love to communicate it. A great starting point, then, is for research teams to align with people who know and love research communication. Yes, information overload is real, but there are also tremendous storytelling opportunities for research teams that take the plunge into the world of faster, visual, online communication. Four Key Research Communication Takeaways from Salzburg Not everyone sees science and research in the same way. In general, researchers see empirical knowledge, science, and expertise as necessary, but they are not the ‘be all, end all’ to influence behavior and lead to positive change. Some audiences may just value science and research differently or may see research as vulnerable to politics, corruption, and falsification.Dialogue, not dissemination. Researchers can tend to see ‘communication’ as one-way, and indeed, this is reflected even right down to project terms of reference, when research teams are asked by donor teams to produce a ‘dissemination’ strategy that assumes that production will lead to uptake. But at Salzburg, we repeatedly returned to the idea that localized, contextualized dialogue and conversation can be more effective creators of change.Communication throughout the research process. Communication and conversation around research needs to start before the research, not as an add-on at the end.Involve communicators, and craft your research messages. We talk about the gap between research and policymakers, but this overlooks communities and citizens. For well-thought communication, researchers need to consider message, language, and medium. The session, Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education: Targeting Interdisciplinary Research to Meet the SDGs, was held in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). More information on the session can be found here.To join in the discussions online, follow the hashtag #SGSsdgs on Twitter.
READ MORE...
Anwar Akhtar - "It's a Privilege to Work on Projects Like Dara"
Anwar Akhtar - "It's a Privilege to Work on Projects Like Dara"
Helena Santos and Tomás De La Rosa 
Anwar Akhtar is the chief-executive of The Samosa, a London-based arts and media charity. What first started as an online media platform in 2009 has since transformed into an organization which works with South Asian and Muslim communities across the UK to enable positive discussion through the arts. Akhtar has shared his valuable insights at Salzburg Global Seminar multiple times on how arts can act as a social transformer and help bring communities together. At Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism, he led a discussion after a screening of the acclaimed play Dara. Dara made history as the first Pakistani play to be chosen and adapted by the National Theatre in London. Set in 1659, Dara tells the story of the succession war between Dara and Aurangzeb, the two Moghul princes who had two very different visions on how to interpret the Quran. “One, it is just an incredibly powerful story, but two, it has a lot in it about the relationship between Muslim traditions, Sikh traditions, Hindu traditions. Dara was accused of apostasy by Aurangzeb for his relationships with Sikh gurus and Hindu pandits, and essentially there was a war, and the war was over religious identity in some ways. Many people point to it as that moment in Indian history that laid the seeds for the tensions that erupted vis-à-vis the partition of India in 1947 and creation of Pakistan,” Akhtar says. Alongside his work as Samosa’s director, Akhtar is also a production consultant at the National Theatre and Ajoka Theatre, and it was the conjunction of these different responsibilities that brought Dara to one of London’s biggest stages. After seeing the play staged by Ajoka Theatre in Pakistan, he decided to bring a CD and pitch the narrative in the UK. “The National Theatre was very interested in it because they saw parallels and similarities with religious and sectarian conflicts that had occurred in Europe in a similar time period. There’s some comparison with the conflict between Charles I and Cromwell. There’s some comparison vis-à-vis the conflict between Elizabeth and Philip in Spain.” The creative team behind Dara includes Shahid Nadeem, writer at the Ajoka Theatre; Nadia Fall, director at the National Theatre; and Tanya Ronder, writer and adapter at the National Theatre. Akhtar states having a play that is not about European history on a European stage is not that common and advocates for more projects like this since it brings depth to issues around Islamic identity and has a great educational potential especially with working-class young people from diverse communities. “Just the message of having an all-Asian cast on the main stage at a national [theater] inspires young people that they don’t just have to be shopkeepers or cab drivers. They could reach those giddy heights as well.” At Schloss Leopoldskron, the screening of Dara was part of the third day of the session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism. Akhtar praises the support he and The Samosa have had from Salzburg Global over the past few years. Having the opportunity to engage with stories from all around the world and shed some light on misconceptions is one of the things Akhtar cherishes the most about his job. Akhtar says, “I also love working in the arts and culture, and it’s a privilege to work on projects like Dara, and the educational work that we do and the cultural work that we do, I think, brings a positivity to some very negative debates.” Press Channel 4 - Dara: the tale of Two Islams hits the stage The Telegraph - Peter Tatchell - "Every child in Britain should see the National's latest play: Dara dramatises the historic struggle against Islamist extremism - it can reach people that political debate cannot." The Guardian - "The story of Dara, the newest production to take to the boards at the National Theatre, is one that begins thousands of miles away from the concrete jungle of London’s South Bank."TimeOut - "Where do we find stories about Pakistan… that also affect us in Britain? That’s a question outgoing NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner asked, and this is the epic and often highly affecting response. A magnificently ambitious project…The best scene by far – and one it’s easy to imagine will be studied in schools – is when Dara is brought before the Sharia court in Delhi, and is forced to prove that he is a true Muslim." The session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism is part of the multi-year series Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program, which is held partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. More information can be found on the session here, and you can follow along via the hashtag #SGShol on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
READ MORE...
YCI Transforms Historic Phone Booth into Storytelling Kiosk
YCI Transforms Historic Phone Booth into Storytelling Kiosk
Oscar Tollast 
A phone booth repurposed by a YCI has given residents in Lanesboro, Minnesota, the chance to have their story heard. Adam Wiltgen, who attended the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, restored the beloved landmark and donated it to the Lanesboro Museum in December 2016. The phone booth, which was decommissioned by Acentek, Inc., now acts as an interactive storytelling and story collecting exhibit. Visitors can listen to local stories installed in the phone booth and contribute their own by leaving a voicemail message on a dedicated telephone number. Wiltgen received funding for the hardware, equipment and interpretive signage for the project through a grant from Salzburg Global made possible by the Kresge Foundation. He received a follow-on grant after attending the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, one which was given for a new project that had a cross-sector approach and gave back to the community. Adam Wiltgen, program director at Lanesboro Arts, said, “I immediately thought of the Lanesboro Phone Booth when this opportunity arose. It is such a charming historical asset and repurposing it as a storytelling exhibit is a great way to amplify the amazing work the museum has been doing preserving our history and collecting stories from all walks of life.” Nine stories were collected for an open house and story celebration which took place in October last year. Stories included Glen Nyenhuis’s experience hunting and riding the caboose in Lanesboro, Bonita Underbakke’s memories fishing as a child at Watson Creek, Ann Madland’s reflections on living and working as an artist in Lanesboro, LaVonne Draper’s recollection of a trick played while tending bar, an e-mail message David Hennessey wrote in the aftermath of the 2002 Lanesboro fire, Blake Coleman’s memory of visiting Lanesboro for the first time, Betty Michaud’s tale of being surprised while swimming alone, Yvonne Nyenhuis’s anecdotes about the White Front Café, and Duane & Melissa Benson’s adventure swimming with horses.   These stories were collected during storytelling projects organized by Lanesboro Museum. Story circles were conducted in partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center for the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibition in 2016. Story circles were also held in 2017 for the Be Here: Main Street initiative, a pilot project developed between the MuseWeb Foundation and the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street program. Since this event, the phone booth has continued to receive a positive reaction. Wiltgen said, “The Museum is changing out the stories regularly and adding new ones. Folks are using the voicemail box to leave messages and photos of the phone booth continue to pop up on social media. I'm looking forward to seeing how visitors interact with the phone booth this year during the high season. I love the cross-cultural and inter-generational appeal of the phone booth as well.” For more information about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, please click here.
READ MORE...
Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of Former Director Robert P Youngman
Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of Former Director Robert P Youngman
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Robert P. Youngman, who served on Salzburg Global Seminar’s Board of Directors (1992-2005) and since a Senior Fellow has passed away at the age of 77 following a long illness. Youngman was an investment advisor, philanthropist, and enthusiast of Asian art. After completing Board service, Youngman continued as a member of the Board Investment Committee until months before his death on January 1, 2018. Salzburg Global President and CEO Stephen Salyer commented, “Bob’s quiet wisdom helped us navigate the storms of the great recession, and steer Salzburg Global toward a safe harbor. He was initially attracted by our long-time connection with Middlebury College but never wavered after we closed our Vermont office several years ago. He was a true friend of the Seminar and will be deeply missed.” After graduating from Middlebury College in 1964 with a B.A. in Political Science, Youngman began his career in finance with the American International Reinsurance Company in Manila, Philippines. In 1976, he founded the investment management firm Granite State Corporation, now known as Griffin Asset Management. Youngman joined the Board of Trustees of Middlebury College in 1980 and served as Chairman of its Board for several years. To learn more about Youngman’s life, please click here.
READ MORE...
Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of Peter Sutherland
Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of Peter Sutherland
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Fellow Peter Sutherland has passed away at the age of 71 following an illness. Sutherland, known as the “father of globalization,” died on Sunday, January 7 at a Dublin hospital. He held a distinguished career, serving as director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a European Union (EU) commissioner, and Ireland’s attorney general. He also served as chairman for BP and Goldman Sachs International. Sutherland took part in programs at Salzburg Global Seminar on two occasions. He first attended Schloss Leopoldskron as a guest speaker for the June Board of Directors Weekend in 2008. He returned just under four years later to deliver the keynote speech at the session, The Future of the Multilateral Trading System and the World Trade Organization. Sutherland joined government officials, trade negotiators, lawyers, academics, and business sector representatives for the session at a time when the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) had grounded to a halt. Participants assessed how talks in the Doha Round could be resumed and how stumbling blocks could be overcome. They also looked at how the WTO’s functions which had proven to work well could continue if the Doha Round failed. Sutherland, who attended while chairman of Goldman Sachs International, spoke on “Generating Political Support and Leadership.” In an interview with Salzburg Global at the time, Sutherland said, “The key stumbling block is the inadequate global leadership that is being provided. The last time in the Uruguay Round – which was itself a ground-breaking round, not least because it created the WTO – there was a basic, broad consensus, which was real in the leadership of the developed economies and the leading developing economies; they wanted the round concluded. I do not see evidence of any such will this time.” Sutherland said then that new thinking was required on issues like plurilateral agreements within the WTO framework. He added, “We can do a lot of things, I think, to improve the WTO and the way it functions. For an example, we should have annual meetings of ministers; we should raise the political profile also by having every five years a meeting of the heads of government of member states. Leaving the entire discussion at a bureaucratic level in Geneva, which is unnoticed and unremarked in national capitals, is disgraceful.” Sutherland was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1946. He studied at University College Dublin and the Honorable Society of the King’s Inn before practicing as a lawyer at the Irish Bar. In 1981, he was appointed as Ireland’s youngest attorney general. He was reappointed to the same role again between December 1982 and December 1984. After being nominated as Ireland’s EU commissioner in 1985, Sutherland took on responsibility for the competition portfolio at a time when the EU’s single market was coming to fruition. He was the first commissioner to receive the Gold Medal of the European Parliament. In 1995, Sutherland became the first director general of the World Trade Organization, having previously served as director general of its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) since 1993. While at GATT, Sutherland received plaudits for his handling of the Uruguay round of world trade talks, which led to more than 100 countries reaching an agreement on rules that governed trade in areas concerning agriculture, textiles, services, and intellectual property, and the creation of the WTO. Sutherland stepped down from the WTO in the same year of its creation and became chairman of Goldman Sachs International, a position he would hold until 2015. He also chaired BP between 1997 and 2009. Toward the end of his life, Sutherland served as the UN’s representative for international migration. Between 2006 and 2017, he helped lead initiatives to encourage cooperation on issues such as protecting migrants affected by crises and ensure migration was taken into account in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Speaking after Sutherland’s death, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker paid tribute to his life and career. In a statement, he said, “In every sense of the word Peter Sutherland was a true European. He believed strongly in the work of the European Union and other international organizations and their importance for cooperation and international dialogue. He … was instrumental in shaping our internal market in the early days and competition policy as we know it today.” Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said, "Peter Sutherland was a statesman in every sense of the word; an Irishman, a committed European and a proud internationalist. He played a very important role in Irish public life throughout the 1980s, first as Attorney General and then as EU commissioner. Among his achievements was the creation of the Erasmus exchange program which allows European students to study in other EU countries and which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.” Sutherland leaves his wife Maruja and three children.
READ MORE...
Young Cultural Innovators Hub Project Explores How Art Can Be Used to Help Build Healthy Communities
Young Cultural Innovators Hub Project Explores How Art Can Be Used to Help Build Healthy Communities
Oscar Tollast 
A YCI Hub project designed to highlight the importance of healthy, active living through art has reached more than 350 people. The Challenge Detroit YCI Art and Community Health Project led to four different art installations being created and showcased in various parts of Detroit. The project was co-designed and led by Shelley Danner, program director of Challenge Detroit. Danner attended the third meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016 and is a member of the Detroit YCI Hub. Danner looked at the intersection of art and health, collaborating with Dr. Asha Shajahan from Beaumont Family Medicine, Challenge Detroit Fellows, and other community partners. Challenge Detroit’s mission is “to challenge leaders to learn by doing through a year of meaningful employment and intellectual work with area nonprofits designed to positively impact” a “diverse” and “culturally vibrant” Detroit. It invites 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, give, and lead. The art installations, built by four teams of Challenge Detroit Fellows, included “Let’s Play,” “Elevated Cardio,” “Step into Something,” and “Limitless.” These four pieces of art were showcased at Central City Integrated Health and its Clubhouse, as well as the Butzel Recreation Center and Chandler Park. While on display at the Central City Clubhouse, “Elevated Cardio” allowed members with disabilities to use a set of decorated stairs as part of their physical therapy program. “Step into Something New” highlighted the physical activities that can be undertaken every day, from jumping to dancing. Silhouetted motions on 4 by 8 foot banners, paired with oversized shoes and motivational phrases were created for this installation. “Let’s Play” involved Challenge Detroit Fellows taking photos of themselves in parks based throughout Detroit to show how physical activity can be fun. The Fellows behind this project used refurbished windows from the Architectural Salvage Warehouse in Detroit to frame the photos. “Limitless” saw Challenge Detroit Fellows co-create art using bikes with children from Detroit’s eastside with neighborhood nonprofit Mack Avenue Community Church (MACC) Development. The project featured at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ National Arts and Health Symposium in September and was also included in Detroit’s Open Streets community festival in October.  The design question for the project was: How might we use art as a medium to build healthy communities and create a culture of active living in Detroit? In a report about the project, Danner said, “Through the various presentations and site showcases thus far, we have interacted and raised awareness with over 350 community members and residents, and counting, of the importance of healthy, active living with low-barriers-to-access through these creative art installations.” This project was made possible thanks to YCI project funds provided to Salzburg Global by the Kresge Foundation for follow-on work after last year’s YCI Forum. For more information about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, please click here.
READ MORE...
Alison Tickell – Salzburg Global is “a very special creature, and I think it needs our thanks”
Alison Tickell – Salzburg Global is “a very special creature, and I think it needs our thanks”
Oscar Tollast 
“I do think Salzburg has been very, very important to my thinking personally,” Alison Tickell says, reflecting on her experiences at Salzburg Global Seminar. “There’s nothing quite like getting out of your comfort zone for a bit… I have hugely appreciated it. I think it’s a very special creature, and I think it needs our thanks.” Tickell, the founder and chief executive officer of Julie’s Bicycle, first attended Salzburg Global Seminar to help examine the arts’ role in advancing sustainability. She was one of 58 change-makers who convened at Schloss Leopoldskron in February 2016 for Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability. Tickell says, “It was an incredibly exciting opportunity to meet with people who had been working in the same field as us but from completely different perspectives. It was a very compelling invitation.” The session concluded with Fellows putting forward proposals for new ways in which the arts could advance sustainability. These ideas ranged from organizing a separate workshop to expand new alliances to producing a “Creative Communication Canvas” tool. “For me, it was very good to see the relationship between culture, climate and social justice very well-exercised,” Tickell says. “We had some great conversations about that, so it widened my perspective very much.” Participants benefited from hearing from others coming at the same set of problems but from different perspectives.” Tickell says, “It was also quite validating to recognize that actually we were doing some pretty unique work and that might be of value to others just as their work might be and has definitely been of value to us.” Julie’s Bicycle was established as a non-profit company in 2007 and set about helping the music industry to reduce its environmental impacts. Julie’s Bicycle has since extended its remit to other art forms and has become a leading organization for bridging sustainability with the arts and culture. In the same year Tickell attended Salzburg Global, she helped launch Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership Training Program. This program is designed to support and strengthen the emerging cultural movements around climate and the environment. Tickell says, “We’ve run three sessions on it, and it was incredibly useful – Salzburg Global – both for the scale of the ambition, really feeling that there were lots of people out there internationally, but also in terms of format.” Tickell says she was able to take a few lessons from her first experience in Salzburg and focus on the idea of taking people outside of their comfort zone and pose them with leadership questions. She adds, “All of that has been incredibly useful. [The sessions] get better and better every time.” At the beginning of 2017, Tickell had the chance to return to Salzburg Global and help convene her own focus group of change-makers for The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, which focused on understanding and identifying ways in which artists, cultural workers, and creatives imagine and strengthen the capacities of communities and societies to confront and adapt to the seemingly infinite sources of shock, violence, conflict and disruption. Among those Tickell invited was Nick Nuttall (pictured below), the director of communications and spokesperson at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). She says, “Although he didn’t attend the whole session, he did attend for enough of it for us to really make the case that climate and the environment needed to have the voice, and the complex and many narratives that culture and the arts provide. His big takeaway promise was to work to promote culture as a key mechanism to communicate climate.” Nuttall delivered on his promise. Alongside Tickell, he helped coordinate a new #Art4Climate series on the UNFCCC’s website. This weekly series provided a spotlight on arts and cultural responses to climate change and global efforts to take action. The series was launched in the run-up to the UN Climate Conference in Bonn in November, 2017. Among others, there have been features on the world’s first sustainable dance floor, art exhibitions, and comic art. Tickell believes it’s just the “tip of the iceberg” and anticipates further collaboration in the future. Tickell says she found both sessions at Salzburg Global really interesting and much more challenging than she initially thought they would be. Commenting on The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage and Renewal, she says there was a much broader frame which looked at culture through a wider prism. The session covered topics such as sustainable development, immigration and refugees, post-conflict trauma and reconciliation, indigenous rights, and climate justice. “A lot of my assumptions needed to be prodded and poked and that was one of the great values of Salzburg Global. It’s precisely that. You come away often uncomfortably disturbed and thoughtful, and it takes a while to really process some of that learning and put it into positive practice,” Tickell says. Looking forward, Julie’s Bicycle is doing policy work with the World Cities Culture Forum and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “A lot of that has had a lot to do with Salzburg Global because when I went [and] because I was able to curate a [focus group], they specifically asked me to bring people who could help the policy work. That’s why [the group] that I [convened] was very much focused on that, and we’ve really been able to build that into some super work.” Tickell says Julie’s Bicycle is developing some diagnostic tools for global cities to help bring together climate and cultural policies. She adds, “We’ve written the World Cities Cultural Forum Handbook for City Leaders and will be developing that work in at least six pilot cities [in 2018], so that’s quite exciting.” “We also are publishing this research which is on the seven cultural trends and, again, it’s been hugely informed by [Salzburg Global], which is really identifying what’s going on across the cultural sector globally and how the cultural sector is beginning to drive very positive change. We’ll be publishing that research in early March at an event, but hopefully, that will be the start of another bigger project.”
READ MORE...
Displaying results 1 to 7 out of 139
<< First < Previous 1-7 8-14 15-21 22-28 29-35 36-42 43-49 Next > Last >>