Dear Nadine, Secretary General of the Interdepartmental Committee on Disability, Dear Thierry Dieuleveux, Presidents, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am particularly pleased to welcome you to rue de Valois, with Nadine Morano, for this seventh edition of the Commission nationale Culture et Handicap.

This committee is a valuable forum for exchanges between the actors concerned by the access of all our citizens to culture, Ministers, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Disability, Directors of Central Administration, Companies and Public Institutions, Heads of Associations Representing Persons with Disabilities. I know their expectations, I know their commitment, I understand the importance of the challenges posed by access to heritage properties and works of art. Beethoven, Goya, Van Gogh, the examples of creators suffering from a disability and having developed their art with genius are not lacking. They are an invitation to perseverance, they are a call to the energy of the will and to action.

“Making the works of art that are the capital of humanity accessible” to each and every Frenchman, even when he suffers, including when he may be excluded, is one of the primary missions of this ministry. as thought by André Malraux. This ambition is also mine, it is the goal I set for myself with the project of the «Culture pour chacun» which guides my action rue de Valois.

In recent years, welcoming people with disabilities to all areas of social life has become a major national cause. The 2005 law “For equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of persons with disabilities” marks, from this point of view, a decisive moment and a historic turning point. It offers an ambitious and achievable programme of action.

In our country, on the issue of disability, our mindset must evolve, mentalities must change. This is a prerequisite for any sustainable action. Pedagogical work is necessary to raise awareness among cultural professionals, as well as those in associations. It is a long-term, demanding job; we have engaged it with determination.

Since 2001, this Commission nationale Culture-Handicap This allowed us, in close contact with associations representing persons with disabilities, to define an action plan and shared priorities. Without your presence, without your requirement, without your knowledge, the State can do nothing. You are the natural interlocutors of this Ministry, the millions of people you represent must also be regular users of heritage and cultural places. Culture and creation are places of exchange and intermingling; there is no reason why the audiences that frequent them should be uniform, be identical. For me, culture is aggregation, mixture, diversity: it cannot be a place of exclusion, it cannot create intimidation, it must not seem inaccessible.

I would like to briefly outline the three areas in which my Department and Nadine Morano have worked with you.

Substantial progress has been made in the field of information, access to cultural sites and cultural industries. They are a stage of the journey; they are not its final destination as the reality of disability requires attention, monitoring and continuity.

I - Training and awareness-raising, a plan was carried out in connection with professionals in the building industry. It concerns the initial and continuing training of architects and more generally all the professionals concerned of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. In a moment, Fabienne Fendrich, Director of the National School of Architecture of Normandy, will give us a first progress report on the implementation of accessibility training for people with disabilities provided in national schools of architecture. It is a matter of raising awareness and training upstream those who design and create cultural places. 450 officials of this ministry have already benefited from a programme of seminars and workshops.

· This training must be based on international experience. I therefore hope that the General Secretariat will organize, in March, a European seminar that will develop the themes of accessibility of the built environment and cultural offer for persons with disabilities. This seminar will take place at the Public Establishment of the Museum and the National Domain of Versailles. I would also like to thank Jean-Jacques Aillagon for having responded favourably to this request and to congratulate him for his commitment to the accessibility of the Versailles estate.

This day will be held in conjunction with the associative partners. On these and other topics, it is a question of creating a shared culture on the accessibility of cultural places, while taking into account the constraints related to the preservation of heritage.

In keeping with this awareness-raising initiative, my department is an important publication work in collaboration with the members of this commission.

The first “culture-handicap” guide for professionals of cultural structures, published in February 2007, was reissued in 2009. A new guide was published in 2009, it is dedicated to the accessibility of live performance. I want to thank Mr. André Fertier here for his collaboration in the development of this book.

Today the guide «cultural equipment and mental handicap» will be presented to you. Mental disability is suffering for those who bear it; it is a source of fear and anxiety for those who witness it. People with a mental disability make up the majority of the disabled population welcomed by our cultural institutions, and I hope that they will always be more welcome there. That is the purpose of this guide.

I also want to delve deeper into the accessibility of libraries, exhibitions and cinema. Books will be produced very soon on each of these themes. The person with a disability must enjoy the same rights as other citizens and must also enjoy the same dreams and emotions in the face of works.

II - To meet this requirement, my Ministry committed to a strengthened plan for accessibility of cultural facilities. Accessibility diagnostics have been conducted by public institutions.

At the same time as upgrading, a dynamic of dialogue between establishments has been active since 2003. I would like to commend the quality of the work of the 20 or so public institutions involved in the mission “Culture and disability”, identified under the generic term “ RECA » Meeting of cultural institutions for accessibility. The RECA is led in a remarkable way by Claudie Haigneré, President of Universcience, whom I greet. Without this shared expertise and this place of exchange, few concrete achievements would emerge. The Ministry of Culture and Communication also participates in the “Tourism and Disability” labelling campaigns of cultural institutions and sits on the national commission of the new “Destination for All” label led by the two Secretaries of State in charge of disabled people and tourism, Nadine Morano and Hervé Novelli.

I also want to focus on the reception of disabled people in the framework of the European Heritage Days. The 2009 edition had placed these days under the theme of “Accessibility for all”. On this occasion, more than 12 million visitors, including people with disabilities, were able to discover our monuments and sites open to visitors, some of which received the «Tourism and Disability» label. I welcome the commitment of many owners of monuments, public or private, who have sought to facilitate the reception of all: multisensory tours, shared readings in the dark, guided tours in sign language, visits in Braille were then proposed. To offer everyone, in his individuality, in his singularity, in his humanity, a shared culture, this must be our ambition.

For their 27e The European Heritage Days, held on 18 and 19 September 2010, celebrate the legacy of “great men.” The action of these women and men who have shaped our heritage must be accessible to each visitor. As sociologist Emile Durkheim said in 1883, no doubt these superior men, once trained, will return to this crowd from which they emanate to raise it up to them, to share in the treasure they possess ». The attention paid to welcoming visitors with disabilities remains an essential component of this event, which offers, during the weekend, access to places and monuments that are an integral part of our history and our collective memory.

As an illustration, the tour of the Palais-Royal will be accessible as a whole. In addition, the European Heritage Days website offers accessibility in French sign language, but also search criteria for visits by type of disability and geographical location.

In addition, it is essential to distinguish exemplary achievements in accessibility for visitors with disabilities. I am pleased to announce today the winners of the 2010 edition of the «Museum for all, museum for each» : the Centre historique minier du Nord/Pas de Calais de Lewarde and the Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon. In their diversity, they reflect the attention paid to issues such as sustainable design in terms of scenography and museography, the reception or information of disabled audiences. My wish is that, as of 2011, this award will be extended to the entire field of our cultural institutions: venues for live performance, monuments but also cinemas.

I also value access young people with disabilities in the cultural trades. A this title, we have put in place a funding plan that makes it possible to undertake the upgrading of buildings of national schools, the accessibility of educational content, competitions and exams, and the provision of transportation costs for disabled students enrolled in higher education schools under the Ministry.

Making it accessible also means promoting cultural practices as close as possible to people with disabilities. In host institutions, culture must not be an added value, it must be at the heart of the establishment project. Artistic expression and cultural development within medico-social institutions are a factor of vitality and openness to freedom. LIn this respect, access to culture is the best vector for freeing the mind from the “prison of the body” and for some, freeing the body from the “prison of the spirit”.

For more than 10 years, the Ministry of Health and Sports and the Ministry of Culture and Communication have been conducting a common policy of access to culture for all audiences in hospitals. That is why, in the framework of the new convention which I had the pleasure of signing on 6 May, we laid the foundations, with Roselyne Bachelot, of the extension of our Culture-Santé policy to the whole medical-social field. Starting in 2011, we will implement this new policy in four pilot regions, yet to be identified.

III - Before concluding, I would like to address the crucial issue of access to the audiovisual and cultural industries, which are a daily horizon for most of our fellow citizens but for which much remains to be done for people with disabilities.

The first is the exception to copyright for persons with disabilities. In order to guarantee access to works through suitable media, 40 non-profit structures have already been approved by my Ministry. I thank the members of the Comité d'entente who sit on the Commission d'exception for their involvement. In particular, I would like to commend the commitment of Alain Lequeux, who played the essential role of first chair of this commission. I also wanted him to be honoured by Arts and Letters at the 2010 Salon du Livre.

In the same way, the National Centre for Cinema and Animated Images (CNC), in consultation with associations and all professionals in the film industry, is mobilizing to facilitate access to films in theatres, DVD or VODTogether, let’s make digital a great springboard for people with sensory disabilities to access creation and heritage. As such, I am committed to ensuring that accessibility of films affected by the digitization plan provided for in the framework of the major loan. This commitment involves the implementation of the subtitling of 6,500 short films and 6,500 feature films over 5 years. I also appreciate the need for similar reflection on audio-description.

Beyond works of heritage, everyone must also have access to films that make the news.

It is for this purpose that the CNC has asked CANAL+ to commit itself during its pre-purchase contracts, to ask producers to carry out the subtitling of their works from the post-production phase. This has now been done and it is a remarkable step forward; it is the consideration of a requirement of equity at the very heart of the creative process.

As regards access to television programmes, I wish that we hold the objectives set by the law of February 2005. It is a question of adapting all the programmes of the France Télévisions group by developing subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing and, beyond that, audiodescription for the blind and visually impaired. Mr. Rémy Pflimlin, President of the France Télévisions group, will present to you the results of the group’s action and its development project; I have no doubt that he will be deeply committed to this subject.

Finally, as part of the report on the adaptation of television programmes to the blind and visually impaired, proposals for have been advanced. A joint reflection on this subject will be undertaken with the partners representing disabled persons, television professionals, the CSA and the Directorate-General for Media and Cultural Industries of my Ministry (DGMIC), in connection with the CNC. The quality standard for subtitling produced by the Union nationale des sourds et des déficients auditifs (UNISDA) can be used as a guide here.

I mentioned at the beginning of my speech the ambition of “culture for everyone”. It is at the heart of all the actions and projects undertaken by the Ministry for disabled people. It clearly signifies the desire to make works and creation accessible to every citizen, regardless of where they live, regardless of their age, regardless of their health and disability. To form one’s sensibility, to appropriate masterpieces, to nourish oneself with contemporary creation, this must not be a “it is preserved” to destination of an elite, it must not be a “inaccessible continent” for these women and men who suffer from disabilities but want to be moved, want to be amazed, want to vibrate in unison with their contemporaries. To open them, to open the doors of cultural places, is in a way to change our gaze and change ourselves, it’s making up words equality not just the listing of a republican virtue but a public policy that transforms daily life and life. I am convinced that our joint action, public authorities and representative associations, can do much in this area.

Thank you.