Mr. Chairman, dear Henri Loyrette,
Dear Executive Director Bénédicte Alliot,
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is no culture without creation.
And there is no creation without artists.
Because we need culture, then we need artists.
Everywhere in our territory, we need places to enable them to create, to express themselves; spaces where the freedom of creation can be made even stronger, spaces where resources and means of production are made available.
The International City of Arts is one of those places that is precious to us.
It’s a place for art.
A place of artists.
The walls around us rustle with dialogue between cultures, and between the creators who make them live.
They also rustle with a tongue.
The French language.
The week of the French language and the Francophonie, which has been taking place since Saturday, is an opportunity to remember how fortunate it is for all of us.
It’s a salutary reminder.
Our language, too often, seems obvious to us.
We tend to forget, too easily, too quickly, all that it represents.
We forget that it unites us.
That it is this common denominator, which means that we can talk to each other, understand each other, listen to each other.
In our country, but also – and most importantly – well beyond our borders.
Because the French language has long been emancipated from France.
It does not belong to France, because “a language does not belong,” Derrida said.
It does not belong to anyone, except the 300 million francophones who live on five continents, from Montreal to Tunis, and from Kinshasa to Mauritius.
This francophonie is our privileged link with the world.
It’s a chance, a huge chance.
We have a responsibility not to leave it in the past.
We must make it a policy for the future.
This is France’s ambition for the French language and plurilingualism, presented by the President of the Republic just a year ago.
We must make French “a language of creation, in which the world of tomorrow is thought of and invented.”
We must “encourage this bubbling of ideas, images, words and music” of which the Francophonie is rich, in Europe as much as in Africa, in the Caribbean as in Asia Pacific.
We need to value this diversity of our language, which does not always resonate with the same melody, the same turns, the same accent.
To achieve this, I would like to present my vision of a policy to support francophone creation.
There is no debate: the francophonie deserves all our ambition.
Actors abound to support her.
But they need to be better coordinated.
This is the role of the Ministry of Culture, in conjunction with the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of the Interior.
Starting this year, we are mobilizing all of the department’s resources and deploying new ones.
I will release new measures in 2020.
They will be based on three priorities:
- Support production and circulation,
- Develop collaborative networks,
- And foster the emergence of reference centres.
My first priority is to increase support for the production and circulation of works and artists.
It is writers, playwrights, poets, singers, rappers, and all creators in France and around the world who make our language so rich.
That keep her alive.
We must allow them to continue to speak their words and their ideas in this beautiful language of ours.
To this end, we will be able to rely on the Office National de la Diffusion Artistique (ONDA), partly in the ultramarine territories – but not only.
It receives additional appropriations from the Ministries of Culture and the Overseas Departments.
I know that we can all count on ONDA’s artistic recognition—of which I salute its director, Pascale Henrot—to enable French theatre to discover new authors and build a relationship of trust with them.
To this end, it will have new resources in 2020
We can also rely on the Institut français.
Starting in 2019, it will implement a fund for the production and dissemination of Francophone creation around the world, with €150,000 from the Ministry of Culture.
My ministry will also help support the Institute’s Africa and the Caribbean in Creations program.
It helps artists, professionals and cultural entrepreneurs in these regions to develop their creativity.
We will be adding to that in 2020.
More broadly, we must facilitate the movement of French-speaking artists in France, and develop the welcome and accompaniment of young artists from elsewhere.
We will work with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs to raise awareness of the Talent Passport.
The second priority of my action plan is to provide more support for network collaborations.
Co-producing, co-building, co-creating, collaborating, cooperating: these are the key words of Francophone creation.
We must encourage these modes of creation.
That is why I am in the process of setting up, within the Ministry of Culture, a steering committee for cultural actors in francophone creation.
This committee, which will meet for the first time next month, brings together the actors of live entertainment involved in the implementation of the ambition of the President of the Republic for the French language and plurilingualism.
Its objective is to enable us to act in coordination with the ministries and operators concerned.
In addition, I want to strengthen France’s involvement in the Commission internationale du théâtre francophone (CITF).
Since its creation in 1987, it has supported more than 300 theatre production and broadcasting projects from across the Francophonie. It allows artists to meet, confront and enrich their artistic approaches, discover other francophone cultures, and meet new audiences.
This commission is a force: lean on it!
I will therefore propose in May, to the International Organization of La Francophonie and the other member countries of the CITF, France’s candidacy to ensure the General Secretariat of this commission for the next four years.
I will also propose that the CITF General Assembly be hosted in France in 2020, in the context of Africa 2020, which will highlight the diversity of African artistic creation, particularly francophone.
In addition, France’s annual financial participation in the CITF will increase by one third, starting in 2020.
I greet the French Co-Chair of the CITF, Mr. Benoît Bradel, who will soon be finishing his term and whom I see among us.
You and Dominick Pareanteau-Lebeuf, the Quebec Co-President, have brought to the four corners of the world a dynamic of cooperation, collaboration and encounter.
I want to thank you on behalf of France and francophone theatre.
Finally, we must strengthen the places where francophone creation takes place. That is my third priority.
On the subject, we have strong and well-established institutions in France.
I want to make three of them “reference points”.
They will have to accompany francophone artists; to animate this creative dynamic, which makes the Francophonie a living entity.
Their mission is not to confine francophone creation to a handful of dedicated venues, on the contrary, but to serve as platforms for the promotion of young talent and emerging spaces for francophone artists, They were then to circulate on the stages of the whole of France.
The Festival des Francophonies en Limousin – dear Hassane Kassi Kouyaté – will see its production resources strengthened in 2019, to help support French-speaking performing artists.
The Centre national des écritures du spectacle, La Chartreuse in Villeneuve lez Avignon – dear Catherine Dan, dear Pierre Morel – will see its role of welcoming francophone artists in residence strengthened in 2019.
This will include developing partnerships of cross-residencies internationally, through the dynamics implemented by its director for the development of research and experimentation.
The Cité internationale des arts, which welcomes us today, will also be supported by the Ministry of Culture to develop its dynamic of welcoming and accompanying French-speaking and plurilingual artists and professionals, including ultramarine.
I also welcome the agreements reached with the Overseas Cultural Affairs Directorates in this context.
The Cité internationale des arts will be able to act in complementarity with the other two centres of reference by accompanying artists in connection with the artistic structures of Île de France.
For this, it will be given new means this year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
What I want to begin, in keeping with the ambition of the President of the Republic for the French language and plurilingualism, is a paradigm shift.
Where the francophonie was previously reserved for certain places, I want it to be radiant and diffuse.
I want her to be able to express herself in all places of culture.
That is my commitment.
I want all the labels, all the theatres in France, all the houses of culture, all the national stages, to seize it.
I want to commend the work of all those who have carried the francophonie for years.
In Paris, the Tarmac, its teams and its director, Valérie Baran.
As you know, the Tarmac project will stop.
I asked the department to accompany all the teams in an impeccable manner.
I’ll see to that personally.
Our language deserves to be celebrated.
The great family that is the Francophonie also deserves it.
They deserve to be celebrated, but also to be accompanied, so that artistic scenes around the world continue to resonate in French.
You can count on my determination.
Long live the French language, and long live the Francophonie!