I’ve just come home from a week in beautiful clean aired Salzburg with, ironically, a stinking cold. Here is a photo diary (with explanations) of a very fun and inspiring time.
Part of the reason I went to Salzburg was to attend the annual Civil Media conference which is basically a breeding ground for new media geeks who endlessly swap twitter tips in order to improve their citizen journalism. Great stuff, ultimately.
Even better is their participation remit – they pay for travel and accomodation for conference participants up to 200 euros which enables many people to come and give papers or simply immerse themselves in the worlds of the micro-media milleus who attend.
In other words, you get a nice free trip to Salzburg, a free dinner too, and get to meet lots of cool people from all over Europe.
Red Chidgey and Elke Zobl had the good idea to invite a range of queer/ feminist media practitioners to this year’s conference, luring them sp they can be interviewed for their research project. There was a happy gaggle of us hitting the conference, and Salzburg as a whole, for 3-4 days.
What is great about Civil Media is being exposed to inspiring projects like the ‘Wilkommen in Salzburg’ radio show, a multi-language radio show written and produced by migrant women living in the Salzburg community.
The show is broadcast in five languages – German, Russian, Turkish, English and BSK (Bosnian, Croation and Serbian) and covers a range of subjects from multi-cultural cooking to domestic violence. The women spoke of the empowering experience the radio show played in their lives, and it was inspiring to hear of women coming together to work on a project across linguistic and cultural differences.
The next presentation I went to was about the student occupation of universities throughout Austria in protest of the imminent neo-liberalisation of Austrian university education (only today did I read in the British newspapers that universities here are planning to hike tuition fees further for students – rubbish!)
The occupation – and the new media methods the activists deployed to spread communiques amongst their fellow protestors – is pretty impressive. Later on that day I visited the occupied University to show some support.
One of the most inspiring (and truly shocking, in the best possible sense) women I have met in a long time is Sarah Diehl. A passionate and committed reproductive rigths campaigner from Germany, her film Abortion Democracy has been touring the UK, Ireland and Poland in the past few months.
Sarah gave an interesting talk that pointed to how, despite all the possibilities of new, open access media for connecting activists and groups, right-wing, pro-life groups such as Doctors for Life are using them to mobilise their political agendas with alarming ease.
Sarah also took part in the ‘Feminist Media Production in Europe Panel’ with the very cute Yori who does Trouble X comics, Cris from Migrazine and Nicole from Swiss based women’s radio show, Radio Lora. You can watch a video of the panel here.
Red chaired this session and demonstrated the points I was making about long tail marketing and Print-on-Demand publishing by flaunting her long eye brow tail. Impressive.
In the evening we hit the streets of Salzburg….
…On our way to see Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird, a klezmer, Brecht (and Sound of Music) inspired anti-alienation and show tune band which, despite being all men (gasp!), were pretty amazing.
Michael Winograd played some of the best clarinet I have ever been lucky to witness. Youch and yum!
Talking of the Sound of Music, the local art gallery were obviously making a bold statement here:
On Saturday morning Red and I went along to challenge the pro-lifers who congregate at the hospital the first Saturday of every month. In Austria, like in Germany, it is illegal to have an abortion but you do not get punished for having one. Recently in Salzburg all the doctors in the city have grouped together and refused to perform abortions.
In many countries and cultures, despite laws allowing women to have an abortion (or at least not punishing them for it), negative and religiously motivated attitudes towards abortion (as killing life, so on) make it difficult for women to access services and the correct information (a point nicely demonstrated by Sarah’s film which shows that despite abortion being illegal in Poland, more women have access to it than in South Africa where it is legal).
In Salzburg, abortions are available to women in the city because a doctor from Vienna comes to perform them every week.
After the demonstration, Red & I walked back to the hostel, taking some snazzy snaps of Salzburg on the way.
Tea’s last name in Slovenian means ‘thankyou’ which means her name says ‘Tea thankyou’ in English, which I think would be a perfect way to live. She told me that people in Slovenia don’t get the joke because they call ‘tea’ ‘chai’, but some of her friends still call her chai.
We went into town and sat on the Marina Abramovic sculpture which encourages the people of Salzburg to sit and meditate amidst the busy city. The chairs you can sit on are pretty uncomfortable (but who said enlightenment should be easy?)
The big tall one looks pretty impressive, and is a friend to pigeons who live in the city
Then Tea, Red & I went to the Mozartiem to sneekily practise in the posh music rooms. We were in search of a harp but all we could find was a Steinway
It was fun and naughty (fun because it was naughty).
Well, that was about it for me and Salzburg this time, but here is a photo of a Mozart ball, just in case you ever wondered what one was.