Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the press conference in Yane.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am particularly pleased this morning to be here with you in
Guyana. I have made the French Overseas Territories one of my main priorities.
I wanted to meet those who participate in the cultural dynamism of this
region, whether they are artists, but also elected, cultural or
Ordinary citizens passionate about the future of your territory.
I am particularly happy because I feel supported by the
splendor of the landscapes, by their scents, by the human warmth that
surrounding me, through the traces of memory that manifest here at every
not but also by the creative impulse that comes from all sides. I am happy
because I feel this shift as necessary and decisive
for these Frenchmen from overseas strong in their culture and their identity, but
the centuries-old bond that unites them to the history of our country. I have
wished that political will abolish the distances of geography.
My presence here, in these remote places not only from the capital,
but also of the metropolis, is an illustration of this ambition for the
ultra-marine culture.
I was appointed minister shortly before the conclusion of the Estates General of
launched by the President of the Republic. They have led to
important decisions during the Interdepartmental Committee of the French Overseas Territories on
November 2009. I personally wished that my department
committed to this process. That is why I decided to entrust the
the realization of a relationship with a man who knows the French Overseas, to a
museum curator, Michel COLARDELLE, former
Director of the Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions appointed Director
Regional Cultural Affairs of Guyana, after giving me his
report on 15 April.
To fully appreciate the stakes, I also wanted to
meet with elected officials and personalities from the French Overseas Territories who have informed me
their analyses and ambitions for these territories. I had
several in-depth discussions with my colleague Marie-Luce
PENCHARD, Minister of Overseas. I also exchanged with Daniel
MAXIMIN, the Commissioner of the Year of the French Overseas which goes
open in 2011.
All this has allowed me to clarify the framework for a renewal of our
cultural and media policy in the Overseas Territories. It is this policy that I
wishes to present you today in these broad outlines.
The first inspiration for this new policy is to recognize and
the specificities of ultramarine cultures. It is important
to affirm that they are an essential element of cultural pluralism and
diversity of our country. They are also an opportunity in its ability to
understanding the cultures of a globalized world, marked by the
forms and the intercultural dimension.
I will not avoid the question of means. As of budget 2010, I have
decided, a financial effort of 7 million euros additional for
the entire French Overseas Territory. The financing of this plan, in the current state
of the budget is 180 million euros. This figure will be
The European Union will have to
period of high fiscal stress.
Beyond the means, I would like my department to show
of the Overseas Territories, including Guyana, which Michel
COLARDELLE nicely calls a «shift of the gaze». It is not a question of
not an imposed vision, it is a shared ambition.
This plan is based on eight operational objectives. All of these objectives
are common to all ultramarine territories, but they receive
a particular orientation according to the specificities of each of
The first objective is to promote the singularity of expressions
artistic and cultural of the French overseas territories.
The achievement of this objective involves a reflection on the creation
cultural institutions that are both emblematic and visible, such as the
Centre Jean-Marie TJIBAOU in New Caledonia. Its success and its
radiation can be a model.
My ministry will accompany the Department and the Region for the creation
a «House of Cultures and Memories of Guyana» in Cayenne.
It will be located in the former Jean Martial hospital and will regroup the
departmental archives, the museum of Guyanese cultures and
collections of the Franconian Museum. This is an ambitious project that
The aim is to make reference at national and international level.
Language issues are also central to the
work of this first objective. That is why I wished that a
additional €325,000 will be released this year
to support the various heritage development projects
overseas languages.
Guyana will be an essential laboratory in this respect, with the
creation of a Centre of Excellence in the language and
oral traditions.”
Special attention will be paid to the archives of the ultramarine world,
with the project of digitization of RFO archives carried by the INA. I
will also mention the creation of a site dedicated to history and
memory of slavery, which will be steered by the Committee for History and
Memory of Slavery, chaired by Françoise VERGÈS.
I would also like to point out the special attention I will give to
promotion of intangible cultural heritage. I will work to promote
its preservation, transmission and all forms of its valorization. I
support, in particular, the UNESCO nomination dossier
the ritual of maraké during which kawalu songs are performed.
Finally, a number of measures relating to the audiovisual sector, decided in the framework of the
of the Overseas Interdepartmental Committee, are being implemented. I
In particular, the extension of the distribution of France O
of the national territory, which took effect in mid-July, and
digital terrestrial television (DTT) which will take place at the end of the year
2010. "Living together" also means an audiovisual culture
shared: this is the mission of the Public Service of Audiovisual, it is a
demand for all our fellow citizens.
I also hope that Guyana can conclude a convention
with the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image animée (CNC)
French Guiana is indeed with the French
Martinique the only ultramarine region not yet benefiting from it. This
agreement will better help production and creation, because I know
in French Guiana, there is a real dynamism in the field of
film. I also intend to promote support for the many film festivals
cinema and the construction of new theaters, as the planned multiplex
on the island of Cayenne.
The second objective concerns the promotion of cultures and artists
ultramarine, overseas as well as in mainland France.
To this end, the Overseas Interdepartmental Committee (CIOM) has decided the
creation of a National Agency for the Promotion of Ultramarine Cultures.
This project is led by my department, in connection with the overseas department.
This agency will aim to create and develop networks,
to put artists in contact with production and
effective support for the professionalization of
ultramarine cultural actors.
The other essential measure, also decided by the CIOM, is the
in 2011, one year of the French overseas territories. Several
national events such as the Festival d'Avignon, the Francofolies
of La Rochelle, or the Paris Book Fair, will offer
Overseas programming in which Guyana will have all the
his place.
The strengthening and labelling of existing structures will be
works. I am thinking of the field of contemporary music in Saint-Laurent du
Maroni but also to the possibility of the creation of a
Choreographic Development (CDC) from the dance festival of
Cayenne, the Rencontres de Danses métisses.
The third objective is training. It is absolutely
essential for sustainable cultural development.
I hope that we can, together with the elected representatives, develop
higher arts education and specialized education.
Our objective is to create, in each zone, a coherent offer of
In this context, two major projects must be supported in Guyana:
1) The organization of the Assises de l'enseignement supérieur in 2011,
2) Support for the implementation of departmental plans
artistic teaching in connection with the Department in order to
establish a reasoned development plan.
The keystone of formation is, both overseas and in mainland France,
arts and cultural education. I made it a priority of my work, I
am convinced of its importance in the formation of sensitivity but
also the citizen. For there can be no cultural democratization
without appropriation of works by the public: it is necessary to educate, train and
arouse curiosity.
I therefore wish to strengthen the partnership established with the Rectorate. The
innovative forms of artist residencies will be implemented: the
“mission residencies”, welcoming artists in residence for 3 months
in a school.
Vocational training plan to be developed by DRAC
Guyana with the National Centre of Territorial Civil Service, of
to offer continuing training for all
professionals of local authorities.
The fourth objective concerns the policy of books and reading.
I asked for inspections, the findings of which were returned to me
In late July, the project will be carried out in all the overseas territories. The
to propose appropriate measures, which will be implemented in the
framework of the Reading Development Plan that I announced in the month of
In the field of the Book as in many others, it is
to give priority to young people, in a context
where combating illiteracy and improving access to reading are
priorities. A coordinated plan for library libraries libraries
will be implemented. The idea is to offer an accessible offer
throughout the territory, including the city of Cayenne, continuing
equipment in bookshells or bookpirogues. Finally, I intend to encourage
cooperation with metropolitan libraries, notably with the
National Library of France.
The fifth objective of this action plan is to strengthen the
between tourism and culture
Time is no longer empty opposition: tourism is a vector
for cultural development; strengthening the cultural offer is a
the attractiveness of the territories. It is important today to bring together
tourism and cultural professions. It is important to develop
consultation bodies and propose appropriate programmes
the strengths and priorities of tourism in your territories.
Guyana’s tourism potential is considerable, with a diversity
of landscapes, colours and lights. The Maison des cultures et des
memory of Guyana” will be a flagship institution. I have no doubt
not that it will be a factor of development and attractiveness for all
The development of the Kourou Space Centre will also
accompanied by my ministry.
The sixth objective aims to strengthen architecture actions
and urban planning.
This issue is crucial for the development of historic sites and
for the improvement of the living environment of
inhabitants. Background work on Native American and
will be led by the DRAC. The objectives are many:
promote the transmission of know-how, identify restorations
urgent and necessary, develop training for
professionals, including liberal architects. To fulfill this
objective, I hope that partnerships with national institutions
are concluded, notably with the musée du quai Branly.
The seventh objective is to increase regional and
Ultramarine cultures need to better integrate their environment
international, in order to increase artistic and cultural exchanges,
to promote their artists but also to develop co-productions and
Cross-artist residencies will be encouraged, as will
support for better dissemination in neighbouring countries:
Brazil, Suriname, the Caribbean countries but also the territories
North American francophones. They are a natural outlet, they are
also characterized by a common memory and a
Destiny” which makes it possible to nourish encounter and dialogue.
Finally, the eighth and final objective may seem technical and
administrative. It is no less vital: it is a question of working on a
better adaptation of my department’s methods and standards to
specificity of ultra-marine territories. We know our history,
we know what was the formation of the Nation and the Republic. They
have often led to excessive standardization and centralization
This time is now well past. The consideration of
individualization of cultural practices and the importance of diversity
In French society, we must deepen it.
Republican heritage must remain our common horizon, our culture
Its adaptation to changes in society and the diversity of
territories is a requirement: our ability to live
together” and my ambition of “culture for everyone”.
To refine the capacity of expertise of my administration in the service of a
ultramarine cultural policy is therefore indispensable. a requirement
today, it will be a necessity tomorrow. I asked the directors
the establishment of a working group
permanent in connection with the DRAC, in order to better meet the needs
elected officials and cultural operators.
That is the essence of this action plan for
Guyana. I would like to personally follow its progress and
developments. That’s why I decided to set up a
Steering Committee within my department.
It is a new page in the action of the Ministry of Culture and
Communication in Guyana I wish to write with you and for you.
I have long been convinced of the
this territory. The richness of your history, the fruitfulness of the
promise of a strategic situation are first-rate assets. They
are for Guyanese culture the “promise of dawn”, to take up the
beautiful expression of Romain Gary.
Thank you for your attention and I am at your disposal to
all the questions you want to ask me.