The Bergen Salons were three virtual events hosted in response to a series of questions we didn’t see coming. The answers changed everything.

The Salons involved forty participants from nine different countries: artists, strategists, artistic directors, thought leaders, researchers, CEOs as well as representatives of the City of Bergen and even a biomimicist. All were convened to exploring three fundamental themes: 

  • The Fluid Human Dynamics of Place 
  • The Unrecognised Role of an Artist in a Social Setting 
  • Public Money, Decision Making and Power
The ideas and concepts that emerged have become the bedrock of how we plan to take this experiment forwards:
  • By reframing context from ‘place’ to ‘human ecosystems’.
  • A commitment to decentralisation and operating at a hyper-local level.
  • Shifting the bureaucratic mindset from ‘funders’ and ‘providers’ to ‘investors’ and ‘catalysts’.
  • Reimagining how the money flows as a means of rebalancing the power dynamic.
  • Adopting a risk-taking mindset, creating space for emergence, and learning-on-the-go.

None of this can be achieved without the artists, and in this too, we decided to learn from the Salons and experiment with a bold new approach:

  • To develop a cohort of ‘artists-in-service’.
  • Who will work with and be answerable to the community.
  • Supported by alternative models of finance
  •  Support and care that acknowledges the unique demands of socially engaged practice.

Read for yourself

All the goodness of the Salons have been distilled into a Digest. If you like what you see so far, why not download it and take a look.