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The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing

March 1, 2022

As the world confronts the compounded impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and structural injustices, societies are bracing for a protracted and complex period of reassessment, reimagination, and restructuring. The culture and arts sector must be at the table and included in decision-making processes as societies seek to eschew a return to "normal" and instead reimagine more creative pathways towards human and planetary flourishing.Launched in 2021, Salzburg Global's The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing program brought together an interdisciplinary and inter-generational group of 90 creative practitioners, researchers, and policymakers from over 30 countries.The program began with a series of online Focus Group sessions examining the systemic relevance of the arts and culture sector for creative reforms in the four target areas of climate, health, education, and justice. In the process of convening these Focus Groups, however, it became clear that regardless of the area of focus – whether at the intersection of the arts and culture with climate, health, education, or justice – Fellows were confronting similar challenges in their work that were standing in the way of true systemic change. This report is the result of the Focus Groups as well as a joint convening of all participants, along with a collaboratory in-person meeting in Salzburg. By sharing the thinking of this global, diverse, and engaged group of Fellows in this report, Salzburg Global Seminar invites others to engage in a similar process of constructive inquiry to reflect deeply on what is dividing us, what is keeping us from collaborating better, and how we can achieve transformative change together.

Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability

May 8, 2016

The creative sector has played a significant role in efforts to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and encourage sustainable social, economic, and environmental practices worldwide. Many artists and cultural organizations have embarked on remarkable projects that make us reflect on our behaviors, our carbon footprints, and the claims of infinite growth based on finite resources. Sometimes treading a fine line between arts and advocacy, they have sparked extraordinary collaborations that reveal new ways of living together on a shared planet. The 'art of the possible' will become even more relevant as 2016 dawns - bringing the challenge of how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Change Agreement adopted at the end of 2015. Yet with negotiations overshadowed by scientific controversy, political polemic and geographic polarization, individuals can easily lose faith in their own ability to shape change beyond the hyperlocal level. Against this challenging backdrop, could the arts and creative practice become a particle accelerator - to shift mindsets, embrace new ways of sharing space and resources, and catalyze more creative leadership in the public and private spheres? The goal of this Salzburg Global Seminar session was to build on path-breaking cultural initiatives to advance international and cross-sectoral links between existing arts and sustainability activities around the world, encourage bolder awareness-raising efforts, and recommend strategic approaches for making innovative grassroots to scale for greater, longer-term impact.