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YCI Project Helps Develop Historical Understanding of Memphis’ Past and Present
YCI Project Helps Develop Historical Understanding of Memphis’ Past and Present
Oscar Tollast 

A creative-writing project initially designed to bridge divides and help Memphis’ underserved communities thrive will leave behind a lasting physical imprint.

Project Gratus, the brainchild of Steven Fox, highlighted the theme of gratitude to create workshops that kick-started intergenerational conversations between the youth and elderly generation.

In addition to project-based workshops, dialogue and reflection sessions also took place, which then evolved into financial literacy workshops for youth and an MLK50 project Fox was selected for.

Fox said, “The mission of these workshops was to develop [a] historical understanding of past and current events, invoke empathy and leverage self-confidence, self-worth, creative and critical thinking skills necessary to help citizens thrive artistically, socially, educationally and economically.

“The need for this innovative approach was and still is high due to the persistent issue of childhood poverty, high crime rates and failing students/schools in the Memphis community.”

Fox is a writer and spoken-word artist who attended the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. After participating in the session, Fox received a follow-on grant to push ahead with Project Gratus.

In June 2017, Project Gratus hosted financial literacy workshops at Ed Rice Community Center in the Frayser Area of Memphis, Tennessee. Educator and volunteer Dione Smith used a financial literacy curriculum called JA Our City.

In five sessions, twelve students from a third-grade social studies class were introduced to subjects such as the importance of economic exchange and how money is managed by people and businesses in cities.

As a result of the program, students were able to examine the importance of money to a city, why people pay taxes and develop an understanding of how entrepreneurs promote a healthy economy within a city.

Between August and September 2017, Project Gratus worked alongside Cliff Garten Studio, the City of Memphis, and the Urban Art Commission.

Together they looked at community workshops focused on the I Am A Man Plaza, based next to Clayborn Temple, a gathering place for Martin Luther King Jr. and sanitation workers before they marched during the Sanitation Workers Strike in 1968.  

As part of the interactive plaza, which opened last month a day after the 50th anniversary of King’s death, a stone sculpture was built. Fox wrote the text that is etched in it. He was recommended for the role by Lauren Kennedy, a fellow member of the Memphis YCI Hub. The plaza gives visitors the opportunity to interact with art and inspire future generations to stand up for positive change.

Discussing the content of the workshops, Fox said, “Each workshop included project details and proposed design elements for the I Am A Man Plaza, as well as a review of quotes and text identified from prominent civil rights leaders that will be incorporated in the plaza design. As collaborator… I led a conversation with participants to derive contemporary text for the plaza design.”

Project Gratus hosted workshops at the New Chicago Community Development Corporation, Orange Mound Community Center, Clayborn Temple, and Whitehaven Community Center.

Fox asked visitors how to honor the sanitation workers and if there was something they could say to them now, what would that be? Citizens were encouraged to be present with one another, learn from one another, and recognize the impact of the Sanitation Workers Strike.

Commenting on this methodology, Fox said, “When we do this, we will fulfill the purpose of the I Am A Man Plaza with intention, and it will truly be a place of reflection, inspiration and hard work. Through these workshops, our hope is that the community will recognize opportunities and actions through our commemorating the strike in the history of Memphis.”

For more information about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, please click here.

Young Cultural Innovator Creates Online Poetry Archive
Visitors exploring the 2017 Detroit Art Book Fair (Picture: Maia Asshaq)
Young Cultural Innovator Creates Online Poetry Archive
Helena Santos 

A young cultural innovator (YCI) has created a free poetry audio archive where artists from all over the world can share their work in their mother tongue.

Maia Asshaq, a member of the Detroit YCI Hub, is hoping the Recording Reading Archive will provide a connection between artists that goes beyond the poetry readings she hosts in Detroit.

Asshaq, co-founder of the Detroit Art Book Fair and founder of DittoDitto, said, “Since many of those performances occur undocumented, and many of the performers live elsewhere my focus has shifted slightly from events to figuring out a way to connect these artists and make their work more accessible.”

The archive, which is available to access online, came about after Asshaq’s experience at the third session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. During this session, Asshaq met a Japanese writer, Mariko Asabuki, with whom she connected through the power of poetry-reading.

Asshaq said, “Even though I can’t speak or understand Japanese, I was so curious as to how she may read her own work and what I could learn about it just by listening. I began work immediately on collecting recordings from friends and poets I was familiar with.”

After experimenting with playing pre-recorded poetry in both Paris and Berlin, Asshaq went back to Detroit where she designed a “sort of release party” with musician Matthew Conzett. Each month, Asshaq invites an experimental musician to incorporate recordings of their choice into a live performance. Musicians are then free to manipulate the recordings.

Asshaq timed the first official release party with the Detroit Art Book Fair, an annual event which draws thousands of people. This event featured performances from Detroit musicians Claire Cirocco and Matthew Conzett, which have since been added to the Recording Reading Archive.

The Recorded Reading Archive is available online, and even though the files cannot be downloaded, everyone can listen to the recordings for free. Asshaq said the archive gives “listeners a chance to not only listen to works by their friends and favorite writers but also to explore new work.” So far, the archive has more than 20 recordings.

This project was made possible after Asshaq received a follow-on grant after attending the YCI Forum at Salzburg Global Seminar. Discussing the next steps for the archive, she said, “In addition to building the archive and the monthly releases, my hope is that bookshops all over the world that I’ve built relationships with will feature the recordings as well. I am also trying to tap into existing archives and feature those sounds on my site as well.”

Mechanics for the Future - How Can Governments Transform Themselves?
Governments are in a race against time to put mechanisms in place to help prepare their societies for a changing world
Mechanics for the Future - How Can Governments Transform Themselves?
Oscar Tollast 

A select group of senior officials from governments and multilateral institutions will convene at Salzburg Global Seminar this afternoon for the annual meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Network.

The Network was created at
a Round Table in Salzburg in 2017 to provide a platform for collaboration and to connect governments and innovators to face the challenges and opportunities ahead for their societies.

Participants at this year’s three-day meeting – Mechanics for the Future: How Can Governments Transform Themselves? – will explore several topics, including the top priorities and risks facing their countries, innovative trends in public service, and how to equip governments for a new era. The future of human capital and governing in the age of artificial intelligence will also be examined.

This meeting is part of a multi-year initiative which was first launched as an annual high-level Round Table by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court in 2010. Last year, Salzburg Global was chosen to be the politically and geographically neutral convener of what has since become the Public Sector Strategy Network. This year’s meeting is being held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and in cooperation with Apolitical.

During the meeting, participants will engage in interactive debate and hands-on problem-solving under the Chatham House Rule. They will be encouraged to test out new ideas which can be followed up afterward at a technical level.

In line with the Network’s goals, participants will be asked to consider how they could reimagine the design, delivery, and funding of core services and develop more effective partnerships and communication with citizens, civil society, and business. The Network aims to enable active ongoing peer-to-peer learning under the values of trust and open exchange and provide a space for the sharing of best practices.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Charles Ehrlich, a program director at Salzburg Global, said, “Complex challenges and opportunities are taking public sector leaders down uncharted paths. We need to understand the world today – and where it might be in 2030 or 2050. For governments to transform themselves, they will require the right mechanics, meaning both the mechanisms of government as well as the people in government whose job it is to fix things. Otherwise, events will leave the public sector behind, broken down at the side of the road. 

“We have gathered a small group of thoughtful, committed, public servants, who will not only examine the cross-cutting priorities and risks but will together build out the Public Sector Strategy Network to inspire new thinking and action at all levels across the globe.”

Mechanics for the Future: How Can Governments Transform Themselves? is part of the Public Sector Strategy Network, a multi-year initiative held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and in cooperation with Apolitical. More information on this session can be found here.

Young Cultural Innovators “Move from Me to We” at Regional Meeting
Fellows and program staff who attended the second US regional meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Young Cultural Innovators “Move from Me to We” at Regional Meeting
Oscar Tollast 

Young cultural innovators (YCIs) from Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans have strengthened their network following the conclusion of the second US regional YCI meeting.

This year’s program, supported by the Kresge Foundation, took place at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans with 27 YCIs from both the third and fourth sessions of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators participating.

The two-day program involved YCIs taking part in a series of discussions, workshops, site visits, and interactive exercises.

Fellows from the New Orleans YCI Hub led site visits. This included an exhibition opening and performance of The Rent is Too Damn High, an event curated by YCI Fari Nzinga; an exhibition tour and talk from the Curator of the Contemporary Arts Centre, exploring new models for interdisciplinary arts centers; a walk-through of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a cultural corridor in New Orleans; and a tour of Studio BE showcasing work of Brandan 'Bmike' Odums.

The workshop’s theme was “Moving from Me to We,” exploring further what it means to be a YCI Hub and what YCIs want to accomplish as a community of Fellows in their cities and local communities.

Salzburg Global’s Young Cultural Innovators Forum has hubs in six regions around the globe. Hubs include Adelaide, Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Canada, Cape Town, Detroit, Malta, Manila, Memphis, Minnesota, Nairobi, New Orleans, Mekong Delta, Plovdiv, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, Slovakia, Tirana, and Tokyo.

Chase Cantrell, the founder of Building Community Value, based in Detroit, said, “Every time I get together with other YCIs, I realize how universal problems are in each of our cities. It has gotten me to think more about how to leverage the network for learning and collaboration.”

Yasmine Omari, marketing and education outreach coordinator at Germantown Performing Arts Center, said “meeting the YCI Fellows from the year before was really wonderful. Reconnecting with the YCIs from my year was also really great. I learn so much from listening to their struggles and projects that they are working on and it really makes me feel less alone in the work that I am doing.”

Alphonse Smith, director of place and civic design at the Arts Council New Orleans, said the experience of being able to evaluate his work and potential collaboration opportunities was productive. He said, “It challenged me to take a step back and critically reflect on the work. It was also nice to hear constructive feedback from non-New Orleans Hub members.”

YCIs were joined in New Orleans by Susanna Seidl-Fox, program director for culture and the arts at Salzburg Global, and Faye Hobson, a program associate at Salzburg Global. Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer at Salzburg Global, and Andy Ho, US development Director at Salzburg Global, also attended the meeting to engage with Fellows. The program was led by YCI Forum facilitators Amina Dickerson, Peter Jenkinson, and Shelagh Wright.

Seidl-Fox said, “As creative change-makers, the YCIs confront similar challenges in their cities. Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans are all contending with social inequality, weak public education systems, high unemployment levels, economic disparities, and a general lack of public support for the cultural sector.   

“Working at the intersection of the arts and social change, all 27 YCIs are committed to addressing these challenges. This regional YCI meeting in New Orleans provided a rich opportunity for the YCIs to share experiences, coach each other, and strategize for the future. They represent and will shape the future of their cities.  

“Their energy, talent, and commitment are what Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans need to help them overcome the challenges of the 21st century.”

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators is a ten-year project of Salzburg Global Seminar that champions young artists and cultural change-makers who are using innovative and creative practices to catalyze civic, social, and urban transformation in their communities around the globe. For more information on the Forum, please click here.

The Regional Fellows Event is part of the multi-year Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. More information on this event, which was supported by The Kresge Foundation, can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/594

Max Reinhardt – A Life in Pictures
Max Reinhardt – A Life in Pictures
Louise Hallman 

“Leopold contract signed. God grant us the happiest contents for this precious shell.”

So wrote Max Reinhardt in a telegram to his wife, Helene Thimig in April 1918. One hundred years later, that precious shell contained a special photography exhibition of the theater impresario’s life and career as the current owners of Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg Global Seminar, celebrated this centenary.

The exhibition has been curated by Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron’s General Manager and Reinhardt aficionado Daniel Szelényi, who has been diligently collecting the photographs over the last four years. It is a journey through time that impressively portrays Max Reinhardt’s life: from the beginnings of his acting career, his life and work in Berlin, and his career highlights in Hollywood, to private moments such as with his sons at the Lido in Venice and skiing in Switzerland (dressed in full suit, no less).

An event to mark the opening of the exhibition welcomed representatives of the local government, media, and arts and culture scene – including several key figures from the Salzburger Festspiele, which Reinhardt co-founded in 1920. 

View full set on Flickr

In his nearly two decades at Schloss Leopoldskron, Reinhardt lovingly renovated the once-dilapidated property, breathing new life into the palace, the neighboring Meierhof and surrounding grounds. He turned Schloss Leopoldskron into a hub of creativity, complete with a large art and sculpture collection, many state rooms, a two-story library, a new “Great Hall”, and even a garden theater. 

April also marks a much darker anniversary: 80 years since the aryanization of the Schloss following the 1938 Nazi Anschluss of Austria – eerily the same date, April 16, as Reinhardt’s purchase. On leaving his beloved Schloss, a heartbroken Reinhardt wrote: “I have lived in Leopoldskron for eighteen years, truly lived, and I have brought it to life… It was the harvest of my life’s work.”  Reinhardt died in exile in New York in 1943. His widow, Thimig, offered use of the Schloss to the founders of Salzburg Global Seminar in 1947. 

The non-profit organization purchased Schloss Leopoldskron in 1959, later expanding the property to include the neighboring Meierhof in 1974. In 2014, Salzburg Global Seminar opened Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, following extensive renovations to the Meierhof building and Schloss gardens

Speaking after the event, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Salzburg Global Seminar, Victoria Mars said: “Seventy years ago, an Austrian and two Americans founded Salzburg Global Seminar here at Schloss Leopoldskron. Tonight, we mark a much earlier anniversary: the centenary of Max Reinhardt’s purchase of Schloss Leopoldskron. Reinhardt had a strong connection to the USA as an acclaimed Hollywood director, long before he was exiled to New York. I was delighted, as an American with a strong connection to Austria, to open this exhibition.”

In his speech at the exhibition opening, Szelényi spoke of how Reinhardt’s vision for the Schloss continues to be reflected today, most recently with the renovations of the Schloss’ 12 hotel suites – the premier of which is Max Reinhardt’s own former apartment. 

“When I moved to Salzburg five years ago to take up my position at Schloss Leopoldskron, Max Reinhardt was well known to me… More and more, thoughts on Reinhardt influenced my actions: ‘What would Reinhardt say if he were here today? How would he tackle this or that? What vision would Reinhardt have for the Schloss today?’ These questions formulated over time to a ‘Vision Reinhardt 2.0,’” said Szelényi.

As the present owners and long-serving stewards of this magnificent property, Salzburg Global Seminar will continue to honor Max Reinhardt’s legacy and vision. 

Currently on display in the Great Hall of Schloss Leopoldskron, the photo exhibition will move to its permanent home of the neighboring Meierhof later in the summer. 

Salzburg Global Session Highlighted in International Journal for Quality in Health Care
Participants in discussion during the Salzburg Global session, Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?
Salzburg Global Session Highlighted in International Journal for Quality in Health Care
Oscar Tollast 

A supplement highlighting the conclusions reached after a Salzburg Global Seminar session has been published in the International Journal for Quality Health Care (ISQua).

The publication, authored by M. Rashad Massoud, Leighann E Kimble, Don Goldmann, John Ovretveit, and Nancy Dixson, reflects on the discussions and deliberations which took place at Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?, a session held in July 2016.

This program sought to examine how health and health care professionals could better understand how results achieved were attributable to interventions conducted.

In the background section of the supplement, readers are informed, “The field is at a stage where we must now improve our understanding of how we learn about the changes we test and implement. This means that we need to better understand whether or not the results being realized are related to the interventions we are testing and implementing. If so, we must also understand to what extent, how they worked and why, as well as whether the changes are generalizable or only specific to that context. The answers to these questions are not straightforward. The purpose of the Salzburg Global Seminar — Session 565 was to convene and address these questions and to think through how to approach this concern emerging in the field of quality improvement.”

Following an informative four-day program, participants took away knowledge to help in the design, implementation, and evaluation of improvement. They also left Salzburg with a greater understanding of which activities under which conditions were most effective at achieving sustained results in health outcomes.

Salzburg Global organized the session in partnership with the USAID ASSIST Project and the New Ventures Fund. M. Rashad Massoud, director of the USAID ASSIST Project and senior vice president of the Quality and Performance Institute at University Research Co, took on the role as session chair.

Work undertaken at the session helped enable several peer-reviewed articles to be included in the supplement, all of which address a key component of the discussions which took place.

Among the conclusions reached, the authors behind the supplement agreed, “The session quickly revealed that to find solutions to these issues, implementers, evaluators and researchers must work together to better learn about improvement activities. This is in contrast to the current situation in which evaluators too often work independently, rather than collaboratively, with improvement program designers and implementers…

“… In essence, participants concluded that the principal accomplishment of the Seminar was to ‘marry’ the world of improvement and evaluation to bridge gaps. A ‘wedding ceremony’ between rigorous implementation and insightful evaluation concluded the Seminar in the inspiring environment of the Schloss Leopoldskron and its magical surroundings where the 'Sound of Music' was filmed.”

To read the supplement published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care, please click here. To learn more about Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement? and explore other related articles, please click here. Salzburg Global’s report of the session can be read below.

Victoria Mars Shares Her Vision for Salzburg Global Seminar
Victoria Mars Shares Her Vision for Salzburg Global Seminar
Oscar Tollast and Louise Hallman 

When the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies (as Salzburg Global Seminar was first known) held its inaugural session in 1947, little did the three founders know that the organization would continue to be operating in 2018. 

Speaking on the occasion of the organization’s 70th anniversary and reflecting on her vision for Salzburg Global, newly-appointed chairman of the Board of Directors, Victoria Mars said the first thing she wants to focus on is successfully reaching the 100th anniversary and ensuring the institution remains relevant. 

Identifying the path ahead, Mars said it was critical for Salzburg Global to further build on its unique position and heritage and excel at in its mission of challenging current and future leaders to shape a better world. Mars has served on the board since 2014. Appointed as chairman in June 2017, Mars will now help lead these efforts and ensure there is an “efficient, effective, responsible, [and] passionate board” governing the organization. The former Mars, Inc. chairman replaces American artist and philanthropist, Heather Sturt Haaga, who stepped down after six and a half years in the role.

Mars says she agreed to take on the role for two reasons: timing and passion. Her assumption of the role of chairman of Salzburg Global’s board coincides with her relinquishment of the same title at Mars, Inc., and the new role will enable her to continue her long-held passion of bringing people together to communicate and resolve issues – something she had relished since her position as Mars Inc.’s first ombudsman in 1997.

She said, “My passion hasn’t changed. I saw [the role as Salzburg Global Chairman] as an opportunity to continue the journey that Heather started us on and to make us the best at what we do.”

In addition to her role as chairman at Salzburg Global, Mars remains a director of Mars, Inc. She also sits on the board of her alma mater Foxcroft School and serves as chairman of the school’s audit committee. She is also a board member for the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, and the Livelihoods Funds

With her wealth of board-level experience of different organizations, Mars strongly believes in the importance of having a board that motivates and engages staff, resulting in a collaborative relationship between the two. On taking up her Salzburg Global role, she said, “One of the things I’d really like to move the needle on is to make the board more effective and efficient.”

Mars also wants to entrench the word “inclusion” into Salzburg Global’s vocabulary. She highlighted a saying by a colleague at Mars, Inc.: “Start with inclusion, and that will bring diversity.” In her mind, Schloss Leopoldskron can act as a safe, inspiring environment where people can feel like themselves and implement the ideas generated during sessions. Mars says she’d like Schloss Leopoldskron to become a destination to which visitors – Salzburg Global Fellows and hotel guests alike – always want to return. She sees it as a “gem” that needs to be nurtured.  

As part of Salzburg Global’s 70th anniversary celebrations, a special luncheon was hosted in July for members of the local community. Given her own family connection to Austria and building on these efforts, Mars wants to extend this outreach further. 

“We’re an international organization, but there’s not a lot of representation from our local community. To me, one of the big things that I would like to improve is the inclusion of Salzburg community, Austrian families and businesses, government agencies, in supporting us, so that we truly are an Austrian-American organization.”

Returning to Salzburg for a special event to mark the centenary of Max Reinhardt’s purchase of Schloss Leopoldskron, Mars, who graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s degree in administrative sciences and German and French languages, addressed the local audience in German, sharing her long-held love for Austria. 

She also remarked: “Vor 70 Jahren gründeten hier auf Schloss Leopoldskron ein Österreicher und zwei Amerikaner Salzburg Global Seminar. Heute Abend erinnern wir uns aber an ein noch früheres Jubiläum: Vor genau 100 Jahren kaufte Max Reinhardt Schloss Leopoldskron. Reinhardt hatte eine Verbindung zu den USA als gefeierter Hollywood-Regisseur, lange bevor er nach New York ins Exil emigrierte. Es freut mich sehr, als Amerikanerin mit einer starken Verbindung zu Österreich, diese Ausstellung eröffnen zu können.” 

In English: “Seventy years ago, an Austrian and two Americans founded Salzburg Global Seminar here at Schloss Leopoldskron. Tonight, we mark a much earlier anniversary: the centenary of Max Reinhardt’s purchase of Schloss Leopoldskron. Reinhardt had a strong connection to the USA as an acclaimed Hollywood director, long before he was exiled to New York. I’m delighted, as an American with a strong connection to Austria, to open this exhibition.”

Mars will be continuing her local engagement over both the upcoming summer months and throughout the rest of her board term. 

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