On 16 and 17 March 2023, the CHEC Session 4 listeners met to reflect on the role of private actors in culture, and their relations with public structures and public policies. How can private and public actors mutually inspire, innovate and cooperate in the service of a living and shared culture? Explore issues through review of many initiatives and projects

The first day of this module dedicated to the relations between business and culture was held in the recent premises of the Pernod Ricard Foundation, near the Saint-Lazare station, in a building designed by the architect Jacques Ferrier.


Antonia Scintillia, new director of the Foundation, opened this first day by revisiting the history of this pioneering foundation, born of the initiative of Paul Ricard, from a first deployment, in the regional directorates of the group, cultural spaces Paul Ricard.

Since its creation, the foundation, whose main mission is to support emerging creation by accompanying artists in production and dissemination, has been concerned with developing partnerships with public institutions. The creation of the Prix Paul Ricard was born of a collaboration with the Centre Pompidou. Each year, the Foundation buys from the Prize-winning artist a work that enters the collections of the Centre Pompidou.

Today, the foundation continues its original mission and offers free exhibitions and conferences and meetings to the public. It has recently introduced a support component for artists abroad by organising aid for the production of their projects abroad and by inviting foreign authors to discover French artists and write texts about their work.

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The following sequence was devoted to the collaboration between science, technology and arts, illustrated through the artistic adventure born of a dialogue between a scientific institution, the National Centre of Prehistory and an artist, Nathalie Joffre, visual artist.

Geneviève Pinçon, prehistorian, specialist in parietal art, director of the National Centre of Prehistory in Périgueux, first recalled the immense wealth that France has in terms of prehistoric art. Of the 440 ornate caves known in the world, 190 have been discovered in our territory, allowing to take the measure of the achievement of parietal art, which has since the dawn of time deployed a wide variety of techniques. Archaeological research on these very old works has greatly evolved in function of technological evolutions, from the parietal survey on a direct layer to the digital 3D survey allowing immersive research in virtual reality, including of course photography, with the constant challenge of creating a dialogue between artistic reproduction methods and analytical and cartographic surveys. Collaboration with artists is also common: it allows to renew the imagination on this immense source of artistic inspiration that is the wall art.

Thus, Nathalie Joffre presented to the listeners the exciting projects that she was able to implement by dialoguing with many scientific institutions, including the National Centre of Prehistory, to reinterpret the gestures of archaeologists, to give a different view of the surveys in the caves, to use the photogrammetry processes for his own imaginary landscapes, or in his project The infinite cave (Body river) to create a library of underground maps of the studied cavities.

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After this rich dialogue, the morning continued with an exchange about relations between public institutions and private actors in the photography sector.

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Mathilde Falguière, Heritage Curator, Head of the Photography Department of the Heritage and Photography Library, and Session Auditor, He first presented the missions of his department, which preserves more than 20 million photographic documents and focuses on the collection of complete archival collections in order to feed the research on the works. Starting from the mechanism of pre-emption in auctions, it showed how, if the relations of public actors with the market seemed at first sight to hold open rivalry, the interests and aims of both parties also led to forms of complementarity. The market thus benefits from the expertise provided by the institutions, the legitimation and topical creation effects attached to its research and development objects. The art market also serves the institutions by making it possible to find elements of ancient funds scattered for a long time, and by making known the work of living artists.

Benoit Baume, founder of the Fisheye group, which combines magazine, gallery and exhibition production activities, showed that the legitimation processes of emerging artists were long and that it was this observation that led him to design a media dedicated to the identification and enhancement of new artists. He went back to the scoring mechanisms in the photography market, which are closely correlated to the scarcity of funds: when a market dries up, prices soar. He then returned to the phenomenon of competition at work on the acquisition of works with the emergence of large foundations. Nevertheless, there are fine examples of public/private cooperation such as the book produced by Fisheye on the Agence France Presse collection of images of the liberation of Paris, which will help to relaunch research on this historic moment. Finally, Benoit Baume recalled that the photography market is mainly driven by orders from companies for communication purposes, and that the artistic share is relatively small in the creation of value. Nevertheless: France has a special relationship with this medium of which it was the cradle, and he calls for public/private cooperation to celebrate the bicentenary soon.

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After a visit of the exhibition devoted to the singular and still unknown photographic work of the artist Katinka Bock, the early afternoon was devoted to the fashion sector. Lucas Delattre, historian and professor at the French Fashion Institute, shared with the listeners some astonishment about what fashion can tell us about our relationship to time, to the air of time. While fashion captures the fleeting moment and reminds us that we are ephemeral, it also tells the story of our time, the time when the power of attraction of fashion images is immense, the time when the economic power of luxury businesses is unmatched. Everything is in fashion, but there are tipping points in the messages it conveys: parades in fields of wheat, or on the contrary in a post-apocalyptic universe, staging of bodies defying gender assignments, postcolonial slogans, even, disconcertingly, anticapitalist… The economy of desire is certainly flourishing, but it seems to be driven by anxiety, or at least captures that of our society.

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To close this day of reflection, it is the issue of design and architecture in the world of work that was addressed in the dialogue between Isabelle de Ponfilly, President of the National School of Decorative Arts and Etienne Riot, Director of Research and Innovation at PCA-STREAM | Philippe Chiambaretta. By putting into perspective the history of the tertiarization, the real estate boom that it generated, then by questioning the model both financially and on the performance of employees, they showed through numerous examples how design and architecture today contribute to a complete rethinking of the world of work, and its organization, with a strong focus on amenity, conviviality, quality of life at work, in existing office building rehabilitation contexts.


The end of the day was devoted to the working groups' progress points: an opportunity for the collective to hear the lines of reflection of the various groups, possible points of convergence with respect to their own work themes.

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The second day of this module was hosted by the National Centre for Arts and Crafts. Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson, Executive Director of the CNAM, introduced the work by recalling the values that led to the founding of the CNAM by Abbé Grégoire in 1794: social inclusion and excellence, with the objective at the time of emancipation of the people, who could rise from poverty out of ignorance. The first activity aimed at exhibiting the most modern technological objects and trades was the teaching chairs in 1819. Training and research are very closely linked to the CNAM, which now has 26 research laboratories. With a focus on engineering, the institution has expanded its activities to the humanities and social sciences, as well as culture, from its unique museum. CNAM is rethinking its teachings to meet contemporary challenges. It takes into account the need for reindustrialisation on new foundations, and creates a great school of ecological transition and sustainable development by playing its pluridisciplinarity and bringing together several teachings of its departments having each developed many expertise on these issues.

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Then, Sébastien Thevenet, Delegate for Cultural Enterprises at the Ministry of Culture, explained the very rich range of actions implemented in recent years with a view to support by the State cultural industries. Thus, the delegation he leads, created in 2022, has as its primary objective to ensure support for cultural entrepreneurship, by accompanying stakeholders in the consolidation of their model and the development of innovative cultural offerings. The objective is to play on an industry effect allowing to show the economic power of these activities, whose strategic character is notable.

The delegation also works to ensure seamless access to financing by organising a funding continuum, from equity to loans and guarantees, in partnership with IFCIC, the Bank of Deposits and Consignments in particular. Numerous calls for expressions of interest have been launched under the France 2030 scheme to accelerate innovation in this sector. Finally, the challenge of the discoverability of cultural content becomes major, in order to reduce the bubble of filters created by the algorithms of the platforms of diffusion and to help account for the immense diversity of cultural content available.

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The end of the morning was devoted to the program «Un immeuble, une œuvre», born of a commitment of many private actors working in the field of real estate in favor of contemporary art, in close cooperation with the State. Pauline Guelaud, working in particular on the coordination of this mechanism within the Artistic Commission division of the General Directorate of Artistic Creation of the Ministry of Culture, and Arthur Toscan du Plantier, Director of Strategy of the Emerige Group, Executive Director of the Emerige Endowment Fund and President of the Building a Work Club, reviewed the creation of this program and the promoters' charter of engagement, and drew up an initial assessment of this program, which enabled 650 works to be ordered in 7 years.

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After a too short visit to the fabulous collections of the Musée des arts et Métiers, the audience met in the afternoon in the Abbé Grégoire amphitheatre to explore together how culture could give time back to the economy. Bertrand Réau, Professor of Sociology at the CNAM, holder of the Chair "Tourism, Travel and Leisure" and researcher at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Economic Sociology showed how important it was to analyze the changes at work in tourism, to go beyond the established categories (“cultural tourism”, “family tourism”, etc.) in order to analyse the concrete practices of people during their leisure time. He thus advocated for a global vision of free time that would make it possible to better articulate the schedules of the different actors and to fight against the amplifying effects of inequalities in the current structuring of the leisure supply.

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Lucie Marinier, Professor of the CNAM, holder of the Chair in Engineering of Culture and Creation, returned to cultural engineers, a category that she broadly understands, and including all the professions that act around works and artists, “that make the works come and they come”. These actors subjected to profound changes (ecological upheavals, new societal demands, economic crisis) in the exercise of their missions, are led to review their relationship to time, Thus, the linearity of the succession of tasks (curation then production then mediation) is called into question, the time of creation itself evolves and includes times of research that we must learn to better accompany; artistic forms evolve, integrate the time of gestures, but also the evolution of the work and its context, and its disappearance. From the point of view of dissemination, it is also necessary to replace the time of consumption by that of delight. The context requires new skills and therefore new training, which themselves must be rethought, and incorporate “review clauses” to support actors in their change of practices.

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These two days of reflection were closed by a conference by Michaël Dandrieux, Sociologist, Founding President of Eranos, a strategy consulting firm. Basing his discourse on the challenge of working to maintain the habitability of the world, he accompanies private actors to get out of a strict utopia of production to become actors of societal transformation. An issue for our present time, on which all actors can find themselves.