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


Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators hosts first US offsite event
Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators hosts first US offsite event
Oscar Tollast 
The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators will host its first American offsite meeting later this week.

More than 20 YCI Fellows will convene at the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators - Regional Fellows Event: Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans.

The event, which takes place between April 27 and 29, will bring together several YCI Fellows from an expanding network of US city hubs. This network includes Memphis, TN, Detroit, MI, and New Orleans, LA. Those in attendance will include authors, cultural organizers, creative directors, strategists, and artists.

These participants, among others in the culture and arts sector, are a source of inspiration for new ideas to tackle social improvement and sustainable development around the planet. This event will be building on the participants’ creativity, talent, and energy to drive forward positive action.

The three-day event, supported by The Kresge Foundation, will challenge participants to think of ways to accelerate change in cities. They will work on micro-innovation projects linked to the creative economy and social innovation. Facilitators for the upcoming session include Amina Dickerson, president of Dickerson Global Advisors, Peter Jenkinson, an independent cultural broker, and Shelagh Wright, director of ThreeJohnsandShelagh and Mission Models Money. Dickerson has been a skills workshop leader at the YCI Forum in Salzburg for two years, with Jenkinson and Wright co-facilitating the YCI Forum sessions in Salzburg and Fellowship event in Athens since the Forum launched in 2013. 

During the program, participants will take part in panel discussions, small workshop exercises, and will undertake several site visits. One of the first activities participants have already been tasked with is producing an overview of critical data and examples of good practice in the creative sector in Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans. These briefs are set to be shared in advance of the session and will serve as a basis for discussion.

A key outcome expected from the event is a practical toolkit to facilitate more regular convening and engagement activities by Young Cultural Innovators in other city hubs in the Salzburg Global YCI network around the world.

The YCI Forum has city hubs in six regions across the planet. City hubs include Adelaide, Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Detroit, Manila, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, Phnom Penh/Mekong Delta, Plovdiv, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, Slovakia, Tirana, and Tokyo. The Forum also has a dedicated hub for Rhodes Scholars.

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) launched in 2014 as a ten-year project designed to engage fifty of the world’s most dynamic young creative change-makers every year. The Forum is a significant commitment by Salzburg Global Seminar to foster creative innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide. The hope is to build a more vibrant and resilient arts sector while advancing sustainable economic development, positive social change agendas, and urban transformation worldwide.
The Regional Fellows Event: Detroit, Memphis, and New Orleans is part of the multi-year Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. This session is being supported by The Kresge Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/577.
Salzburg Global Fellow Deana Haggag highlighted as woman leading the fight to protect the arts in America
Salzburg Global Fellow Deana Haggag highlighted as woman leading the fight to protect the arts in America
Oscar Tollast 
Salzburg Global Fellow Deana Haggag has reaffirmed the importance of the arts in America and the impact it can have on others. Haggag, who was recently appointed President and CEO of the non-profit United States Artists, made the argument while speaking to Vogue as part of a Q&A. The article, published online earlier this month, discusses the nature of arts in the United States following a proposed budget by U.S. President Donald Trump. If approved, the budget is set to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Haggag attended The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2015. At the time, she was director of The Contemporary Museum of Baltimore. Following the session, she continued to work with her fellow alumni. Haggag helped support the Citizen Artist Baltimore project, led by Rebecca Chan, along with Priya Bhayana. The project's aim was to mobilize the Baltimore arts and culture sector to make their interests a critical issue in the city's 2016 mayoral election. It led to the first-ever Mayoral Forum on Arts and Culture in Baltimore's history. Speaking to Vogue, Haggag discusses her new role with United States Artists, the need to protect the existence of art, and the greatest challenges she faces. She also discusses her belief how art is for everyone and its ability to do everything. Toward the end of the Q&A, she says, "I think about people who didn't grow up with art or don't have art in their lives, who are perhaps missing that thing that art can help bridge, which is having empathy for another person and another experience. "If you can't meet someone day to day who different from you, if you don't have that in your life, then you can find that through music and the arts and books. That's why we exist."
Deana Haggag took part in The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2015. The list of our partners for this session and further information can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/554
Young Cultural Innovators present their passions
Young Cultural Innovators present their passions at the Third Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Young Cultural Innovators present their passions
Chris Hamill-Stewart 

Who are you and what are you passionate about? This was the question put to the Young Cultural Innovators (YCIs) of the third annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.

The video responses to this question were produced as part of a communication workshop hosted by Natasha Cica, Director of Kapacity.org. In the dialogue-based workshop, YCIs worked in larger and break out groups to co-create the conversation, share perspectives and ultimately built capacity to “own their own voices.” The workshop challenged and supported the group to experiment with different communication styles and methods, with the ultimate goal of delivering a powerful presentation in their videos.

You can watch the videos of the YCIs who have chosen to make their video public in the list below, on both Facebook and YouTube.

Dong-Hee Cho, founder of the Well Done Project and creator of an inexpensive educational math book for children in Africa, on her own work, how education can bring us closer together and the Salzburg Global Seminar.

Natasha Cica, director of Kapacity.org, talks about her experience of facilitating a communications work shop at Salzburg Global Seminar, and what she's most enjoyed about meeting this group of young innovators.

Sebastian Chuffer, filmmaker, director and CEO of Cineastas del Futuro (Future Filmmakers), discusses the importance of storytelling and its role in our personal and civil lives.

Yuki Uchida, co-representative of Re:public Inc, on why it's important for citizens to be involved with the design of their own spaces.

Shelley Danner, co-founder and program director of Challenge Detroit, discusses what she's enjoyed about attending a Salzburg Global Seminar session.

Netta Avineri, assistant professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and co-founder of the MIIS Intercultural Digital Storytelling Project, discusses her interests in storytelling, creative hubs, and moving forwards from the session.

Anouza Phothisane, co-founder of Loabangfai, the first Laos-based break dancing crew, discusses what he enjoyed about attending the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators and how he presents his work and country to many other creators.

Meryam Bouadjemi, filmmaker and storyteller, describes how her experience at Salzburg global Forum for Young Cultural innovators has helped her in an important time of her life.

Taulant Dibra, architect and founder of TD architecture Studio, on why he became an architect and his projects that he considers successful.

Joo Im Moon, senior researcher at the World Culture Open Arts & Culture Lab, shares her dream through quotes that inspire her.

Steven McMahon, choreographic and associate artistic director with Ballet Memphis, discusses how his experience at The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators has affected his personal growth.

Cadeatra Harvey, or C. Harvey, owner of Generation of Dreamers and Baltimore's Gifted, on empowering the youth in Baltimore through their own art and creativity.

Samuel Oliver, manager of executive affairs and capital projects for Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, on making his voice heard and his message understood.

Edwin Kemp Attrill, founder and artistic director of ActNow Theatre, discusses how artists, creatives and citizens are becoming a force for global change, and how cultural innovation is an integral part of the shift from hierarchies into networks.

Maria José Greloni, regional director of communication and online campaigns at Wingu, explains how her time at Salzburg Global Seminar has influenced her ideas for future projects, and made her realize the value of humor in creativity.

Chryssa Vlachopoulou, communication, press officer and events manager for BIOS, on her experience attending a Salzburg Global Seminar session and what she'll take away from it.

Rachel Knox, program associate for Innovate Memphis, discusses how Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural innovators has helped her realise she's not alone in her struggles and how she's enjoyed meeting such a diverse goroup of people through the program.

Carla Schleicher, artistic programs and project coordinator for West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, reads a message addressed to her from one of the people she has helped through her work.

Melvin Henley, creative industries strategist, implementer and advocate, discusses his own work in Detroit, and how things are looking up for the city.

Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran, writer and curator of Post Vidai, on her own work and how art can be used to build bridges between fractured parts of society.

Despina Gerasimidou, creator of Future Libraries, on how the traditional idea of libraries is fading out and being replaced by modern and exciting new centers of experience and learning.

Annelies Senfter, visual artist and photographer, on developing her projects in an abstract way and trusting in herself.

Alphonse Smith, talks about his own path to where he is now, and how he is working in New Orleans to build on the rich culture that already exists there, and making it more accessible to all residents.

Yuki Oka, explains his motivations for doing the work he does, and how this has driven him to try to help others.

Joana Stefanova, cultural manager and part of the One Foundation for Culture and Arts, on love.

Maia Asshaq, author, publisher and co-founder of the Detroit Art Book fair and DittoDitto Books, on creating an online companion piece to her already existing work.

Aaron Davis, Ph.D candidate and expert on cities and their changing role in the 21st centuries, discusses involving citizens in design processes and why this is important in the first place.

Amanda Lovelee, visual artist and city artist for City of St Paul, on how important art can be for cities.

Kreshnik Merxhani, freelance architect known for his writings and artistic restoration projects, on why he has always wanted to be an artist and the work he does to restore more than just physical objects, but memories, relations and knowledge

Brian Gerardo, entrepreneur, dancer and co-founder of the Baltimore Dance Crews Project, discusses how his personal experiences have influenced him to set up his own after-school dance activities.

Nicolas Aziz, project coordinator for Converge, on the importance of new cultural experiences, bringing them to youth for their benefit and helping them to exceed what is expected of them.

Imani Jacqueline Brown, co-founder of Blights Out and director of programs at Antenna, discusses the crisis of capitalism we're experiencing right now, and especially its effects on arts and culture.

Lomorpich Rithy, independent filmmaker and founder of Plerng Kob (meaning campfire), on coming together to share stories, hear other peoples' stories and exercize the right to have your voice heard.

Mark Salvatus, contemporary artist exhibited in multiple exhibitions, on defining his life and creating meaning through art.

Victor Yankov, festival director of the Open Arts Foundation, on the role of culture in cities and societies.

Lauren Kennedy, executive director of the Urban Art Commission, on how her early exposure to art was influenced by her interactions with her father, and how her understanding of public art continues to grow and evolve.

Miku Kano, member of ISHINOMAKI 2.0, discusses her work in the post-tsunami town of Ishinomaki, and how they're creating the "most interesting town in the world" by fostering creativity.

Nafsika Papadopoulou, External Collaborator and Project Coordinator for Neon Organization, on the transitional stage Athens is going through, and how urban art and creativity may aid in this transition.

Wandisile Nqekotho, founder of 18 Gangster Museum, on how he's helping young people to stay away from gangsterism in South Africa.

Rebecca 'Bucky' Willis, project manager for Detroit Collaborative Design Center, discusses the concept of Design Superheroes and why they're important.

Sacramento Knoxx, multi-discipline performance artist, on the city that he's from.

Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, producer and creative director of Pineapple Lab, on empowering creators and artists by providing them with a platform to share their experiences and stories.

Chheangly Yeng, co-founder of the Magic Library and Slap Paka Khmer (Khmer Collaborative Writers), discusses Cambodia's troubled past and how his work in telling stories to children can benefit those children and their futures.

Yu Nakamura, who runs 40creations, a group which preserves the recipes of octogenarians, on why she likes wrinkles, meeting a grandma and finding the right way to solve problems or change your situation.

Seda Röder, "the piano hacker," on the value of creativity, the 21st century as the century of creative thinking, and concentrating on the core of what makes us humans - creativity.

Adam Wiltgen, arts administrator, presenter and technical communicator, on using creativity to overcome community challenges.

Cameron Shaw, writer, editor and executive director of Pelican Bomb, discusses her work in empowering artists and providing a platform through which creators can critically examine issues in everyday life.

Siviwe Mbinda, founder of the Happy Feet Youth Project, on using dance to attract children to his project, and then positively influencing them through education.

Shawn Burnett, co-founder and executive director of Walks of Art, has a message for anyone who doesn't wake up with hope in their hearts.

Mirela Kocollari, director of Cultural Heritage and Tourism for the Municipality of Tirana, on being cautious of our limits, knowledge, and abilities in order to bring out the best in ourselves.

Michele Anderson, rural program director for Springboard for the Arts, on the importance of rural communities and making sure they are a part of the conversation in the future of our societies and creative thinking.

Bora Baboci, architect and visual artist, presents an image introduced to her during her time at Salzburg Global Seminar.

Steven Fox, writer, poet and actor from Memphis, Tennessee, discusses being accepted as a creative.


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators III is part of a ten-year multi-year series, which is generously supported by: Albanian-American Development Foundation; America For Bulgaria Foundation; American Express; Arts South Australia; Asia-Europe Foundation; Cambodian Living Arts; Edward T. Cone Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Korea Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; Red Bull Amaphiko; The Kresge Foundation; Japan Foundation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Adena and David Testa; and the Yeltsin Center. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/569 More information on the series can be found here: yci.salzburgglobal.org
Report now online - Young Cultural Innovators Forum III
Report now online - Young Cultural Innovators Forum III
Denise Macalino 
The report from the third annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators is now available online to read, download and share. The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum), is an annual series that supports emerging young artists and cultural actors who are using innovative practices to catalyze urban transformation in their communities.  Our biggest and most diverse cohort of sixty-four young cultural leaders from sixteen different cities, including six new hubs, gathered in the Schloss Leopoldskron in mid-October. Salzburg Global was fortunate enough to host future innovators this past Fall from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, the Mekong Delta Region, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Russia, and the United States.  This group of young leaders spent a week in each other’s company, exploring concepts on how to foster strong culture in order to transform communities. The YCI Fellows, passionate about the growth in their local hubs, connected with like-minded individuals to spread their innovative thinking with a global network. With a revitalized energy towards their work, the YCI Fellows returned to their communities with new perspectives and ideas on their role as leading innovators.  Download the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators II report (PDF) (low-res)  

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators III is part of a ten-year multi-year series, which is generously supported by: Albanian-American Development Foundation; America For Bulgaria Foundation; American Express; Arts South Australia; Asia-Europe Foundation; Cambodian Living Arts; Edward T. Cone Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Korea Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; Red Bull Amaphiko; The Kresge Foundation; Japan Foundation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Adena and David Testa; and the Yeltsin Center.  More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/569 More information on the series can be found here: yci.salzburgglobal.org  You can follow all the discussions and interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSyci.
Baltimore Rise Up
Baltimore Rise Up
Tony Abraham 
One hundred men and women are gathered inside a lecture hall at Baltimore’s esteemed Johns Hopkins’ University early on a Saturday morning, and though they range in age, race, class and gender, they all have one thing in common. They’re all here to learn how to be social entrepreneurs. From wannabes to seasoned vets, the room is filled with social entrepreneurs like Steven Nutt, a cyber security professional who just received funding from the Warnock Foundation for his food donation app, Are You Going to Eat That, and Andrew Foster, who received funding from the same foundation last spring to develop Baltimore Pooch Camp, a program he launched to help both at-risk youth and shelter dogs. A woman named Gladys wants to start a program for disadvantaged youth. The woman next to her, Kimberly, hopes to do the same. 

Darius Graham, the director of Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab, is hosting the bootcamp, a taste of the Lab’s social enterprise incubator, in hopes of drumming up interest and fostering talent while keeping a community of innovators connected.

“This is an opportunity for you to share with us, with each other and with the speakers what your experience has been so far as an entrepreneur or changemaker in this city,” he said.

Social entrepreneurs, community organizers and artists in Baltimore have been galvanized by the uprising that ignited three miles Southwest of this lecture hall in the spring of 2015, sparked by the murder of Freddie Gray by six police officers in the spring of 2015.

Poet and entrepreneur Brion Gill remembers her reaction to the live news coverage that day.

“Baltimore’s about to explode.”

In a way, the city did. But the brutal injustice that was Freddie Gray’s murder did not happen in a vacuum. Gill herself has seen how systemic injustice impacts low-income people of color – especially youth. The poet used to be a teacher at Eager Street Academy, a school for teens who have been charged as adults and are subsequently housed in the city’s detention center.


Now, Gill runs Free Verse, a poetry workshop for Baltimore youth that bolsters creative expression and initiates dialogue about race.

Zeke Cohen, an entrepreneur and candidate for Baltimore City Council, used to be a teacher, too, at a school in the neighborhood where Freddie Gray grew up. Students at the school, which he likened to a prison without heat or air conditioning, were unable to drink water from the lead pipes. They had to walk past “liquor stores and heroin dealers” to get to class – if they could even make it to class.

That’s why Cohen and a handful of his fellow educators collectively launched a nonprofit called The Intersection, to teach high school students civic leadership and community organizing. The nine students in the pilot program went on to register 100 people to vote, build a community garden to address fresh food crises, lobby for inclusive immigration legislation, document neighborhood blight and host a mayoral forum.

“I have come to truly believe that if we’re going to change our city, state and country, it will have to come from young people,” said Cohen. “If you think about movements that have happened in our country, it’s often the youth, young people, who start the movement.”

Cohen, is now running for City Council as the candidate who will work across sectors, silos, districts – just about any boundary – to create real equity in Baltimore. That will mean working closely with the city’s social entrepreneurs. For example, Cohen vowed to hire an ambassador from Baltimore Corps, a fellowship for social changemakers in the city.

Brian Gerardo, founder of Baltimore Dance Crew Project, was one of the first Baltimore Corps fellows. Like Cohen and Gill, Gerardo was a teacher before becoming a social entrepreneur.

“There are so many entrepreneurs here in the city who have found needs, and I think a lot of us are from education backgrounds. People see education as being a very big need,” he said. “The work we’re doing is never easy, especially for people of color.”

Baltimore Dance Crew Project takes a multi-pronged approach to youth development by using hip hop dance to strengthen the relationships across generations. Students are not only engaging in dance, they’re forging relationships with older dancers who maintain careers outside of dance. Plus, the crew itself is a very necessary support network.

“The average mentorship relationship only lasts five months. That’s not a long time to build a lasting relationship,” said Gerardo. “When I was a teacher here in the city, I myself was having a hard time building relationships with my students beyond my classroom. Having that positive relationship changes the school environment.”

Gerardo said the uprising has magnified the social impact work being done in Baltimore. The urgency has always been there, he said, but there has been an uptick in donations and volunteer power.

Sammy Hoi, the impact-impassioned president of Maryland Institute College of Art, said he feels there’s been a heightened sense of urgency since the uprising – a sense that the city has to create equity “as soon as possible.”

But the galvanization of the social impact community is undeniable, said Hoi.

“Baltimore has a culture of fragmentation, meaning we can be a lot better at coming together for a common agenda. Post-Freddie Gray, there’s a great sense of awareness that we need to come together,” he said. “There’s no lack of good will but the actual synergy is very much a work in progress.”

Hoi is trying to expedite that progress by reframing MICA’s activities and programming, making them mission-based and inclusive while “translating Baltimore’s rich creative capital into a vibrant and equitable creative economy.” In other words, MICA’s students and program staff are partnering with grassroots organizations to bring arts education to underserved neighborhoods like Freddie Gray’s West Baltimore community.

There, a conscious collective of grassroots organizations, anchor institutions, social entrepreneurs, investors and artists called Innovation Village have banded together to invest in their own community, which has largely been subjected to generational marginalization.

“We’re hyper-focused on making sure there’s access to food, health, housing and education, and using technology as an enabler to be created in how those services are delivered,” said chairman Richard May. Earlier this summer, Innovation Village announced a free public wifi initiative in partnership with public-private collaborative OneBaltimore and an upcoming incubator for social entrepreneurs.

You cannot pelt a pebble in Charm City without hitting someone working on, around or within close proximity to a social project or social entrepreneur. And, odds are, they’ll be working with youth.

Back at Johns Hopkins, Graham is instructing the room of nascent social entrepreneurs to communicate with one another.

“Always know who else is doing the kind of work you’re doing. You’re going to want to talk to them and learn what is and isn’t working,” he said. “View them as competition or collaborators – either way, find people doing similar work and ask them questions.”

Gill, Gerardo, Hoi and fellow Baltimore changemakers Meryam Bouadjemi, Shawn Burnett and Cadeatra Harvey just had a chance to do exactly that this month. All six are Fellows of the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. In Salzburg, the Fellows shared best practices with international leaders in the space and brought back lessons on how to improve the city’s cultural ecosystem.

If the uprising was the explosion Gill initially perceived it to be, the city’s social entrepreneurs, artists and community organizers are ready to raise a phoenix from the ashes.

Meet the entire YCI-Baltimore-Hub online and find general information on the Young Cultural Innovators Forum. The original of this article was produced by Red Bull Amaphiko and it can be found here: https://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/magazine/baltimore-rise-up
YCI-Fellow Develops Tech Solutions for Social Change
YCI-Fellow Develops Tech Solutions for Social Change
Tony Abraham 
María José Greloni might have over a decade of experience working with NGOs under her belt, but it didn’t take a decade for the communications pro to understand the financial limitations NGOs face. That’s why the native Argentinian has made a career out of helping nonprofits get their hands on innovative technologies that give them a leg up in the marketplace. Those technologies, which range from customer relationship management software to virtual reality, allow NGOs to compete with the private sector and offer high quality social services that governments aren’t usually built to provide. Ironically enough, Greloni does that work through a NGO called Wingu, a spinoff of U.S.-based nonprofit Idealist that works with tech developers and communications experts to empower organizations through technology. “One of the things that I believe is that NGOs and social projects should have a profitable or sustainable way to get money,” said Greloni. “Many times, the people who work at NGOs are not professional enough because NGOs don’t have the money to pay as well as the market does.” That’s where Wingu steps in. While Greloni herself hones in on communications and data, she’s seen her organization develop some seriously game-changing technologies for NGOs across Latin America.

1. Digital donation platformsDonar Online is really big. What we have built is a platform where NGOs from all of Latin America can receive donations. Right now, we have more than 1,000 NGOs from the region that have received more than $300 million and we don’t charge anything. Our model in this case is sponsorships. Big companies are sponsoring this tool.”

2. Bringing transparency to underserved neighborhoods “Before we did Caminos de la Villa, the slums you see in Google Maps were just a grey hole. We have walked all the slums in Buenos Aires and have mapped them in alliance with another NGO that works in human rights. The citizens who live in slums can report the state of the slum. For example, if the government has promised to build something or do something with water and hasn’t provided a solution, citizens can report it. One of the challenges we have with this mapping is that once the platforms are built, it’s not that easy to get the citizens to make reports. If we wish for them to participate, we have to invest our resources in communication.”

3. Virtual reality for cancer patients “This is a different case because what we did was create an alliance with a virtual reality company. When a patient goes to take their long term chemo treatment, we give them virtual reality lens and they can choose where they want to be when they get their medicine. It was an experiment that got huge. One of the things virtual reality does for patients is relax them so they are not so focused on the treatment. In a way, that anxiety gets lowered. We want to get this treatment to other private and public hospitals. That’s the dream.”

4. Crowdsourcing citizen data “We have a project that is related to crowdsourcing of citizen data called DataShift in four countries. What we’re doing, in alliance with CIVICUS, we’re trying to create solutions so that the citizens come report on the platform and make the invisible visible. In many cases, the data governments have show one side of reality. What we’re trying to do is show the other. Many countries in Latin America are part of Open Government Partnership, and in Argentina right now we just got access to this information. Just two weeks ago, we had the first Open Government Forum. I think Argentina is walking the good path."

5. Data-driven communication campaigns “There’s a need to communicate. We are doing Camp-Camp right now to help NGOs think their campaigns. We’re collecting data and helping a few organizations do that. For example, our project with health centers right now is in a testing phase. What they do is ask citizens to answer a very brief questionnaire about their socioeconomic conditions and how they are received by services. Usually, the service is terrible. We will be able to have that data and go to the government with that. It’s super, super new.”

Maria Jose Greloni was attending the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural InnovatorsThe original of this article was produced by Red Bull Amaphiko and it can be found here: https://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/magazine/the-tech-solutions-revolutionalising-social-change
The National Shelf Service
The National Shelf Service
Phil Hoad 
“From collection to connection, and from connection to creation.” That’s the mantra of Despina Gerasimidou, who is convinced that Greece’s libraries can become beacons of social change. The country, with its chronic public-funding shortage, doesn’t from the outside seem like a promising candidate. But the Future Library initiative, where Gerasimidou is director, has high ambitions. “We are talking about a revolution here, about the renaissance of the physical library as space,” she says, “More and more libraries are transforming themselves into local hubs, community centers and offering solutions to people’s problems, and services we could not have imagined before: maker spaces, media labs, music studios and business centres.” 

Established in 2011 in Veria, Macedonia, to spread the model of the city’s pioneering central library, Future Library now operates across 140 libraries in Greece and the Balkans. Among many things, it has transformed nine into state-of-the-art media labs, and organises librarian training and summer-reading campaigns.

They’re backed by the philanthropic Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which this summer opened a €600m Athens cultural centre; FL also plans to extend the network out into 11 other countries in the region, including Turkey, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Promoting traditional literacy as well as digital-era skills obviously ticks the kind of egalitarian nurturing role that is the purpose of all libraries, and which can be a starting point for greater social mobility. But Future Library’s support programme could benefit one group in particularly dire need: the estimated 60,000 refugees in limbo in Greece.

“Libraries demonstrate a long tradition of attracting and embracing people regardless of their countries of origin,” says Gerasimidou, “They have the power to advocate for the refugees’ rights of access to education and information, but even more than that: free access to education and information is a fundamental right of all people.”

Future Library has mapped the availability of such services in Greece to refugees, and last year organised a multi-disciplinary training workshop in which librarians, municipal staff, social and NGO workers could learn how to help.

It has been a turbulent time for all public services in Greece – part of the reason why a private philanthropic organisation like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has decided to step in to stimulate an already-outdated library network. Navigating this partnership hasn’t been plain sailing. The National Library will move to new premises in the Athens cultural centre, while the Foundation will only hand over the Cultural Center, the building and the park to the Greek state. In parallel, the achievements across the wider library networks are already significant – the second time a great library-builder has come out of Macedonia.

Future Library director Despina Gerasimidou was attending the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural InnovatorsThe original of this article was produced by Red Bull Amaphiko and it can be found here: https://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/magazine/the-national-shelf-service

Displaying results 29 to 35 out of 75