On the proposal of Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, the President of the Republic will appoint Sam Stourdzé, director of the Académie de France in Rome – Villa Médicis. He will take up his duties in the summer of 2020.

Born in 1973, Sam Stourdzé studied economics and art history at the Sorbonne and then English as a foreign language at the University of Berkeley. A specialist in contemporary images and the relationship between art and cinema, he has curated numerous exhibitions and authored several reference works.

Since 2014, he has been the director of the Rencontres d'Arles. In five years, he instilled a new dynamic in the festival by making the dialogue between photography and contemporary art, music, architecture and literature, by strongly developing the attendance, and expanding the network of regional and international partners. He launched a Chinese version of the festival in Xiamen and designed the new Institute for Photography, opened in Lille last October.

Previously director of the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne from 2010 to 2014, Sam Stourdzé was a former resident of the Académie de France – Villa Médicis in the cinema section. He stayed in Rome from 2007 to 2008 where he designed a large-scale project around Federico Fellini, giving rise to the first major exhibition dedicated to the Italian maestro, presented in more than 15 European cities, and a retrospective of his films at the Cinémathèque française.

After several months of consultations and reflections on the future of the Villa Médicis and the development of artist residencies in France and abroad, the missions of the Académie de France in Rome have evolved to affirm new priorities: a resolutely European orientation, greater openness to the diversity of artistic fields and to the social diversity of pathways, strengthened international synergies with Europe, the Mediterranean basin and Africa.

Sam Stourdzé proposes to rethink Villa Médicis as a place of mobility: artistic mobility, social mobility and European mobility.

Artistic mobility to play a full role of incubator, laboratory, place of emulation and research, promoting the dialogue of disciplines, the links between art and science, crafts or even philosophy.

Social mobility to make the Villa a more inclusive place, by opening short residences to residents welcomed as part of collaborations with an associative network.

European mobility to include the Académie de France in Rome in new networks of exchanges and co-productions, and to contribute to the circulation of artists in Europe. Sam Stourdzé also plans to develop collaborations with the artistic scenes of the Mediterranean and francophone Africa.

Created by Louis XIV in 1666, the main residence of artists abroad, the Académie de France in Rome is a public establishment that occupies the domain of the Villa Médicis. It is placed under the supervision of the Minister responsible for Culture and endowed by the State with three statutory missions: the reception in residence and the accompaniment of artists and researchers engaged in professional life («Colbert mission»), participation in cultural and artistic exchanges through programming open to the public (“mission Malraux”), and the conservation and enhancement of the Villa Médicis (“mission patrimoine”).

The Minister of Culture praises the work of Stéphane Gaillard, Acting Director of Villa Medicis, who, with the support of all staff, ensured the continuity of the institution’s missions.