YCI » Overview

Young innovators in the culture and arts sector are providing some of the most imaginative new impulses for social improvement and sustainable development around the world today. They change the way we see and interact with each other. Young artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders demonstrate the creative vision, talent, and energy that our societies so desperately need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) is a ten-year project launched by Salzburg Global Seminar in 2014 to engage fifty of the world's most dynamic young creative changemakers every year.

The young cultural innovators join the annual Forum in Salzburg from “YCI hubs” in six regions of the world to help them develop the dynamic vision, entrepreneurial skills, and global networks needed to advance their organizations, their causes and their communities. The YCI Forum represents a major commitment by Salzburg Global Seminar to fostering creative innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide with the intention of building a more vibrant and resilient arts sector and of advancing sustainable economic development, positive social change agendas, and urban transformation worldwide.

Upcoming Session in 2018:

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators V
October 16 to 21, 2018

 


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.

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A Message from Our Vice President and Chief Program Officer
A Message from Our Vice President and Chief Program Officer
Clare Shine 

As 2018 gets underway, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued engagement with Salzburg Global Seminar. In reflection of a landmark year celebrating Salzburg Global Seminar’s 70th anniversary, I wanted to look back on the journey traveled, new projects and horizons.

Our 2017 theme of “Courage” resonated throughout this turbulent year. The 1947 vision of Salzburg Global’s founders – a “Marshall Plan of the Mind” to revive dialogue and heal rifts across Europe - felt fresh as ever. Cracks widened in societies and institutions across the world, compounded by a mix of insecurity, disillusionment, and isolationism.

Yet the world should be in a better position than ever to tackle common challenges. There is an open marketplace for ideas, innovation, and invention, and opportunities to engage and collaborate are growing fast.

In Salzburg, we are privileged to meet individuals from all walks of life who have the courage to tell truth to power, confront vested interests, express artistic voice and freedom, build coalitions for change, and see through tough choices. In divided societies, people need courage to stay true to their beliefs. Leaders need courage to curb their exercise of power. Together, we need courage to rekindle our collective imagination to rebuild society from the bottom up and the top down.

Three strategies guide our own work for this purpose.

1. Given Salzburg Global’s roots in conflict transformation, our programs seek to bridge divides:

  • Our American Studies series – a discipline born at Schloss Leopoldskron – focused on Life and Justice in America: Implications of the New Administration, including the roots of economic and racial division;
  • The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change had its highest-ever participation on Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism and published an interactive playbook “Against Populism”;
  • Our Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention series is now applying tools developed in previous years to promote pluralism and tolerance and address issues of radicalization and violent extremism. Pilot projects to test these approaches are under way in five countries (Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt) with the potential to expand to other countries;
  • The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum marked its fifth anniversary with a major report assessing the influence and personal impact of a cross-sector network that now spans more than 70 countries and has inspired new partnerships and cultural initiatives.

2. Salzburg Global Seminar aims to inspire new thinking and action on critical issues to transform systems, connecting local innovators and global resources:

3. Salzburg Global seeks to expand collaboration by fostering lasting networks and partnerships:

After six years living in Schloss Leopoldskron and meeting the most diverse and talented people imaginable, I often hear myself describe Salzburg Global Seminar as “deeply human.” 2017 brought many reminders of the special bonds forged during our lifetime and the enduring need to advance trust and openness around the key issues facing today’s world. 

Thank you again for your commitment and recognition of Salzburg Global’s importance in your professional and personal development. We hope you will consider joining other Fellows who have already made a donation to Salzburg Global this year. Please click here to learn more.

With very best wishes from everyone at Salzburg Global Seminar, and we hope to welcome you back to Schloss Leopoldskron in the near future.

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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.


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Gerhard Feldbacher Returns to Salzburg Global with Mobile Tea House
Feldbacher (right) taking part in a tea ceremony with the fellows of the fourth YCI forum in the flying tea house. Photo by Heinz Holzmann
Gerhard Feldbacher Returns to Salzburg Global with Mobile Tea House
Mirva Villa 

For three years, Gerhard Feldbacher had been playing with the idea of a mobile tea house. The simple, geometric shapes and lightness of traditional Japanese houses had fascinated the Austrian designer and architect for a long time.

The final push to make the project a reality came after Feldbacher offered to finish the tea house to be used at the fourth session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.
Feldbacher attended the YCI Forum the previous year and had an “intense” experience.

“I thought [the mobile tea house] would be nice as a communication place,” Feldbacher says. “By offering it to Salzburg Global, I wanted also to oblige myself to finally do it.”

The tea house consists of white paper walls, woven tatami mats and a fireplace. The sunken hearth is the focal point of the house. Above the fire, the teapot is hung from a jizaikagi - a small hook adorned with a fish sculpture.

Feldbacher ordered the jizaikagi from an antique shop in Tokyo. It’s thought to be more than a century old. The fish and blue fireplace tiles symbolize water and are meant to protect the paper house from catching fire.

The flying tea house can be put together in a matter of hours, and it is light for a house, weighing less than 300 kilograms. The lightness was another aspect that interested the architect. “I made another mobile house some years ago which is 10,000 kilograms,” Feldbacher says. “Three hundred kilograms is nothing compared to that.”
Once Feldbacher had his mind set on making the tea house, it took three months to complete. The architect had expected the delicate paper walls to require the most work, but the roof ended up being the most difficult part to build. He says, “It had to be stable, but also very light because the whole thing sits on a trailer.”

During the fourth session of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, several participants used the tea house as a meeting place to work on their projects. One group stayed so long, Feldbacher had to politely ask them to leave at the end of the day.

“I had to actually kick them out of the tea house because I had to cover it for the night, so that was a nice compliment,” Feldbacher laughs.

One of the participants from Japan held a traditional tea ceremony in the tea house, which other YCI participants attended.

In addition to Schloss Leopoldskron, the flying tea house has also appeared at the Hallein-based arts festival Schmiede.

Feldbacher is looking forward to seeing what else the tea house will be used for in the future, whether that’s as a stage for performances or a place to stay for travelers.

In the immediate future, the tea house will travel the Salzkammergut region in the spring and feature at street art festivals in the summer.

To improve the tea ceremony experience, Feldbacher plans to make binchō-tan, a type of hardwood charcoal. He says, “It’s visually very nice and difficult to get here in Europe. I want to do that coal by myself as a part of the ceremony.”


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV is part of a ten-year multi-year series. This year's program is supported by the Albanian-American Development Foundation, American Express, Arts Council Malta, Cambodian Living Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Fulbright Greece, Japan Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Adena and David Testa, and the U.S. Embassy Valetta, Malta. More information on the session can be found here. More information on the series can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtag #SGSyci.

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Minneapolis YCIs Organize a Skills Sharing Workshop to Address Housing Issues in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Minneapolis YCIs Organize a Skills Sharing Workshop to Address Housing Issues in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Mirva Villa 

Passionate to bring about discussion on the issues related to land use in the city of Minneapolis, Salzburg Global Fellows Chaun Webster and Carla Schleicher set about creating a workshop bringing together local communities.

A group of 30 participants from multi-racial and indigenous working class communities came together to develop skills, share knowledge, and produce creative strategies to address the local challenges in housing by creating alternative economic models.

North Minneapolis, Webster and Schleicher explain, is a densely-populated historically black neighborhood that has faced decades of divestment. More recently, however, there have been sharp increases in housing costs while wages remain stagnant. This has led to an “extreme number” of evictions.

Notably, the
rising number of evictions is hitting the low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis the hardest, with many families either being displaced from their homes or having to spend too much of their income on housing expenses, by the federal standard.

Both Webster and Schleicher attended the third meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016, where Webster together with New Orleans YCI Imani Jacqueline Brown facilitated a breakout session to encourage the YCI fellows to think about development in the context of their own backgrounds.

Titled “Development Without Displacement,” the breakout session encouraged discussion around how working class communities could be empowered creatively to engage with land use issues affecting them. The discussion was framed by the work of American Studies scholar, Bench Ansfield, on development as an extension of colonial logic.

Building on the themes of the breakout session, Webster and Schleicher created a day-long workshop titled ‘Development Without Displacement: Skill Building & Knowledge Share,” held in May 2017. The project was made possible thanks to YCI project funds provided to Salzburg Global Seminar by the McKnight Foundation.

Nia Umoja, from a grassroots neighborhood collective called Cooperative Community of New West Jackson, came to lead the session, which saw the participants develop their views on cooperation through discussion and group exercises.

A report about this project, authored by Webster and Schleicher said, “These exercises were points of tension and conversation as we thought through the rapid growth Minneapolis is facing and the extreme number of evictions that North Minneapolis has undergone that coincides with the lack of affordability and stagnant wages.”

The intense five-hour workshop allowed the group to think about next steps for Minneapolis, with the discussion ranging from just causes for eviction laws to banking accountability and electoral strategy for the municipal elections in November 2017.

The report continued: “The feedback that we got was that the space was rich with vision and was an important connecting point. The convening also functioned to do some important work in deepening the relationship between West Jackson and North Minneapolis and we are in the process of envisioning a Mississippi River Connection Network that would enable continued knowledge and skills sharing to take place.”

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

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Young Cultural Innovator Includes Max Reinhardt Mirror in Art Installation
The Coming to See exhibition is taking place at the Salzburger Kunstverein until November 26 (Picture: Annelies Senfter)
Young Cultural Innovator Includes Max Reinhardt Mirror in Art Installation
Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global Fellow Annelies Senfter included a mirror that once belonged to Max Reinhardt in her first art installation.

The antique, recently acquired by Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron and Salzburg Global Seminar, was loaned to Senfter to be used in her Coming to See exhibition, which took place at the Salzburger Kunstverein between October 13 and November 26.

The installation included a collection of acorns from Schloss Leopoldskron, which were spread out in the Kabinett space. Completing the display was a photo of another antique mirror once owned by Reinhardt.

Senfter, a visual artist who lives and works in Salzburg, attended the third meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators last year.

Describing Senfter’s work, the Salzburger Kunstverein said, “Annelies Senfter’s work is situated between photography, research, and poetic investigation, and investigating notions of memory and trauma. Her work resonates with an urge to uncover repressed subjects without stirring up negative sentiments.

“Thus this exhibition brings together these few elements, including the artist’s photographic work, to take a glance back 100 years and weigh upon not only the time caught between that moment and ours but also to weigh upon the immediacy of our collective present. Surviving through all that time is art, the great and pure mirror upon which we as a people may gaze. And if we choose not to gaze at this reflection, the reflection is still produced for others to see, nonetheless.”

Speaking to Salzburg Global, Senfter said, “This project belongs to another bigger project I started in 2014. I did a lot of research on sites in Salzburg the Nazis took away during World War Two, such as parks and gardens. I started with Schloss Leopoldskron.

“I started collecting leaves from elder trees, trees which were planted before World War Two happened – like all the trees here at Schloss Leopoldskron. I collected the leaves and then made a botanical collection…. I combined it with the story of the building.”

These stories and leaves appeared in Senfter’s Asking the Trees project, which also included leaves collected from Villa Zweig and Villa Trapp.

While continuing with this project, Senfter received an invitation from the Salzburger Kunstverein to put on an exhibition. She said, “I thought, ‘Okay, if the name of this exhibition (room) is Kabinett, maybe I should do something with a mirror. I did photographs of mirrors here because to Max Reinhardt, of course, mirrors were important. He was a theater man. Mirrors are important to create certain atmospheres.”

Ahead of the exhibition, Senfter returned to Schloss Leopoldskron to view Reinhardt’s mirrors in the Venetian Room and his former office. It was during this visit she was offered the chance to use one of Reinhardt’s former mirrors that had been recently acquired from the hotel.

The mirror is an original piece, crafted by a Berlin carpenter around the beginning of the 20th century. It previously hung at the palace nearly one hundred years ago. Carved out of coniferous, the mirror is silver- and gold-plated.

Senfter said, “I’m really thankful that the Schloss was so supportive with the mirror because I know that they just bought it this summer, and I’m taking it away for six weeks. I really appreciate that, and I’m thankful for it.”

Fellows from the fourth meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators surprised Senfter by coming to the exhibition’s opening.

Having attended the Forum in 2016, Senfter described the experience as “breathtaking” and something which had helped her with her projects.

She said, “Very often I’ve heard of things we were talking about, like being brave, going forward, going to places you’ve never been before, doing something new – something you don’t know if it will out or not.

“Take the risk that if something is not working out, you will survive. If you never try, you will never know. This was very, very helpful if you’re working in the arts because it’s always something new. You never know what’s going to happen or you never know if it will work out. You can just say, ‘Okay, if I’m lucky, it will work out. If not, okay. This is what it is. I will do the next thing.’” 

WATCH: Annelies Senfter speaking in 2016 on developing projects in an intuitive way


Annelies Senfter took part in The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016. The list of our partners for this session and further information can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/569

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Kristina Borg – “I’m always interested in encouraging the people I work with to become co-creators, not just participants”
Kristina Borg at the fourth Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Kristina Borg – “I’m always interested in encouraging the people I work with to become co-creators, not just participants”
Mirva Villa 

People and community are at the very center of Kristina Borg’s work. Through her career as an independent visual artist and arts educator, she has supported people in creating their own art and has invited others to take part in her art projects.

“I’m interested in working with specific groups of people, different communities… People brought together either because of a particular place they come from, like their town or city, or particular working place,” Borg tells Salzburg Global, speaking at the
fourth meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.

“I’m always interested in encouraging the people I work with to become co-creators, not just participants,” Borg says. Her deep interest in bringing art to ordinary people’s reach and creating a dialogue is evident in one of her latest projects, You Are What You Buy,  an interactive performance set in a supermarket that she shared with other participants of this year's Forum during the open space showcase.

During the playful performance, performers would move around the store like robots, piling their carts full of items. Sometimes the group could be seen using the ordinary items in unexpected ways such as musical instruments or makeshift shelters.The confused and curious ordinary shoppers who watched these exploits as they unfolded became part of the audience.

The thought-provoking act aimed to highlight issues of sustainability and ethical consumption. The interdisciplinary project also contained an element of research on consumption habits with the main collaborators being social anthropologist Virginia Monteforte and academic Silvia Simoncelli. The year-long project culminated with a live performance.

“To a certain point it was an intrusion in this private, semi-public space, with an element of shock, maybe,” says Borg. “It was participatory at times, depending on how the clients reacted to it. Hopefully, it allowed us shoppers to reflect on what we buy and how we buy.”

Simple moments of connection

When asked what inspired her to take up her career path, Borg stops to think.

“This is a very interesting question because I’m in a transition phase. Three months ago I had a teaching post at a secondary school – so that’s one side of my career. But parallel to that, I always, as long as my memory takes me back, I remember being involved in the visual arts,” says Borg, adding that she had always been passionate about socio-community projects.

These parallel versions of Kristina co-existed, but for some reason, she never thought she would be able to merge the roles.

“But two or three years ago I started realizing that all this could merge. After all, it’s just me and part of my personality.”

Borg also felt the need to move away from “rigid” world of art schools for a while and focus on her own projects and freelancing.

Borg has recently combined her love for arts and people by coordinating a community project, entitled Naqsam il-MUZA (Sharing the muse), as part of the Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture program. The project aims to bridge a connection between the national fine art collection of Malta and the local community, finding ways for art to become a tool in everyday life and conversations.

In the project, Borg meets locals and discusses art with them. Meeting new people and being introduced to their lives is one of the most rewarding aspects of her artistic practice, she says.

“I always start off by having one to one meetings with the participants… I find it so fascinating that I meet this person. I have no idea who he or she is; they have no idea who I am… There would have only been some communication via email or the phone… and I find it so beautiful how they open up.”

Borg fondly remembers a time when a participant felt the need to share something very personal with her to set the ground for their conversation. She often finds herself being invited to people’s homes and being offered food they have prepared. “I find these simple moments beautiful,” says Borg.

Citizen of the world

The chance to attend the fourth meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators came at the right time in Borg’s life.

“It’s an awesome experience on so many levels. It’s a learning experience and a self-reflective experience which I think I needed at this phase in my life,” Borg says. “I always had this dream in my life to be able to answer the question, ‘Where do you come from?’ and say, ‘I’m a citizen of the world.’ And for the first time in my life - in these few days here at the seminar - I’ve felt the possibility to say that.”

The Forum has also given Borg the willpower to realize her ideas. Before, she had a lot of ideas, but she never thought it was quite the right moment to put her them into action.

“What I’ll take away from here is, ‘Just do it.’ It’s either now or never,” Borg laughs.

“It makes you realize that what your worries are, and what you might perceive as a weakness are just common things with other participants, and just form part of the process,” Borg says.

“Without support, we can’t get anywhere. It’s important to exchange ideas, to exchange fears and experiences, and offer solutions.”


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV is part of a ten-year multi-year series. This year's program is supported by the Albanian-American Development Foundation, American Express, Arts Council Malta, Cambodian Living Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Fulbright Greece, Japan Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Adena and David Testa, and the U.S. Embassy Valetta, Malta. More information on the session can be found here. More information on the series can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtag #SGSyci.

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