Presentation of the 2016 greetings of Mrs Véronique Chatenay-Dolto, Regional Director of Cultural Affairs of Île-de-France to the staff of the Drac, on Tuesday, January 19 at the National Archives of France - Hôtel de Soubise.

Dear Françoise Banat-Berger, thank you very much for welcoming us to the National Archives to greet our entry into 2016. 

Thank you to our colleagues at Headquarters, to Jean-François Baldi DGLF/LF and Antoine-Laurent Figuière SG/DAT, for being present and to testify to the quality of the relations between the departments of the DRAC IdF and those of the central services, we know the importance of our links for the success of the missions of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in Île-de-France. The calendar this year did not allow the Prefect of Paris, and the Prefect of Region, retained by other obligations, to join us.

Thank you to all the colleagues of the Drac IDF for sharing this festive moment, an opportunity to address you in this beautiful place full of testimonies of human history, a story at times tragic but also creative, fraternal and even heroic, and to say a few words on behalf of the management team we are forming with Jean-Pascal Lanuit and now Yannick Rented.

The great strength of archives is the desire to protect the elements of the past by always doing so in the perspective of even the most distant future. Archiving is not keeping everything, it is making choices and assuming them, because archives will be the material of tomorrow’s history and research (including with regard to the history taking place as the collection of traces and tributes to the victims of the attacks of 13 November). The exhibition on state secrets that we will visit later on illustrates this ambition.

This ethic, this requirement of choice, is also ours at the Drac IDF where daily services offer and make choices not according to preferences or tastes but always according to principles and to prepare the future, through the programming of works on Historical Monuments, archaeological prescriptions or to contract companies or to select cultural projects in the hospital or prison environment or to give an opinion on multiplex settlements. Choosing to consolidate and prepare for the future is the first feature that brings us together.

Archivists and historians, like us all, will remember 2015 as a terrible year, a year begun and ended in the violence and attacks in Paris, Montrouge, Vincennes and Saint-Denis, whose deaths we have not finished mourning. These are events that pose formidable questions to our society, which question our ability to live together. And they remind us more than ever how essential the missions of our ministry are, that culture is not a special and separate mission, but a dimension that irrigates and connects. In the face of hatred, intolerance, and fear, art and culture are the first answers. It is the honour of all those who are committed to emancipation, but also to solidarity.  

In this context, we can be particularly proud of what was accomplished in 2015 with great efficiency, professionalism by all the departments of the Drac IDF, whether in the departments or in Paris and in all our areas of expertise.

The conditions have been particularly difficult: due to numerous departures, vacancies, procedural reforms, also due to the increase in applications, with the introduction of security constraints in recent weeks, Support for teams impacted by declining attendance.

We know that Île-de-France is a more complex territory than elsewhere, because of the large number of actors, the State services still have a coordinating role, the State sphere must be more united. One certainty: we are highly expected as the level of stakes is important, the decentralized services, their presence on the ground, are irreplaceable.

You have been able to face up to the challenges, take on additional missions, meet expectations, without necessarily new means. This is to be commended and explains that many of you have been honoured by the Orders of Arts and Letters or National Merit, this honour reflects on all the teams.

Yet the political and institutional context has been marked by growing tensions, with the decline of the endowments of the communities to reduce the public debt, it was necessary to fight and convince that the cultural stakes should not be sacrificed. Everywhere you have worked to keep open the dialogue with the communities, our partners, to contribute to a shared diagnosis, to identify priorities. It is also a great reason for satisfaction, this ability to make live the "shared cultural competence with the communities". This principle is fundamental but not easy in reality since communities have interests that may be remote from ours, it is a democratic reality. Most of the time we agree, especially on heritage issues, but sometimes we don’t, we see it on issues of support for creation, the choices of communities are respectable as long as they respect legislative frameworks. we must always fight to keep these communities as partners. We were able to sign 4 cultural pacts, which are commitments for the maintenance of credits and shared values of democratization, discussions are ongoing for new conventions including departmental as well as for new CTL, and CLEA. 

Everywhere we feel a strong expectation vis-à-vis the services of the State "median third party", this is what was expressed during the meetings organized with the professionals of the Live Show and plastic arts on the initiative of the prefect of region.

We knew how to accompany the prefiguration of the Metropolis of Greater Paris, we did not necessarily get everything we could have wanted but we weighed: without the accompaniment of all the departments of the Drac, the metropolis would not have its "allure" still to be consolidated.

We responded and got a lot for the island of France during the calls for projects for local media or for the mastery of the Language, our mobilization was heard thanks to your intelligence and your knowledge of the Paris territories, thanks also to your ability to be a force of proposal for the central services in order to continue these actions sustainably.

I could cite many examples of projects that you have conducted that meet the issues identified by the minister, the expectations of elected officials, but also and especially the expectations of our fellow citizens who need benchmarks and values more than ever.

That is why we can be proud to build the future despite the inevitable difficulties: Senart opening on November 13, renovation in progress of the Maison de la Culture de Bobigny, studies for Nanterre les Amandiers, continued work at the Manufacture des Œillets, library openings, the renovation plan of the Paris church buildings, the revision of the PSMV, the follow-up of many urban planning operations.

- The development and networking of the houses of the Illustres and the publication of the guide of the 30 houses of IDF: places that tell lives, exchanges, commitments, discoveries

- I also welcome the launch of the archaeological deposit operations at the Cordelières convent in Provins, another exceptional project, which adds to the service of the tensions of a difficult year.

Continued support for the proofing of museum collections, prevention actions, fire, flood.  

- the success of the first edition of the architecture month, designed to accompany the orientations of the national architecture plan 

- I remember a symbolic moment of 2015: the facade renovation of the Basilica of Saint-Denis, the inauguration under protocol tension, the presence so fair of the apprentices of the Fratellini academy, not only the splendour of the restored facade, the pride of a project combining renovation and research but also the honor of the restitution to the inhabitants of the keys of understanding of their history, of the beauty of a building that has gone through time and still has things to tell us, without forgetting the publication of two special series on the renovation sites of the Historical Monuments and on the Basilica.

In all fields, you have been able to innovate, to imagine responses adapted to the specificities of this region so complex which combines an exceptional cultural offer and great inequalities of access.  

With the initiatives taken by the Drac to go to the territories furthest away from the cultural offer, in this region where despair can too easily be manipulated, the study on reading in prison conducted with the Ministry of Justice, Living Together and under the impetus of the prefect, in conjunction with the services of the General Secretariat, the ZSP/EPN twinning. Two examples of approaches of the State services that make their engineering available to the communities most exposed to the risks of social fracture, to put the artists, the encounter with art as close to the populations.

Dealing with all these issues, keeping the capacity to think and innovate in addition to handling files, is essential and, I know, difficult but it is essential because the Drac IDF constitutes a kind of laboratory including for the other Drac fused regions for which we wipe plaster by adapting and trying to improve the functioning of a large structure. Indeed, the size of the Drac and its complexity make us run the risk of making less room for the human and the personality of each one, while my conviction is that it is essential to ensure that we constantly reintroduce the human and the transversal.

And for that the daily dialogue is so precious. I therefore greet all those who, in addition to their responsibilities, engage in social dialogue, placing at the heart of our exchanges the issues of labour relations and working conditions. Dialogue makes it possible to go further, it helps to move towards solutions, I thank the trade union organizations for their indispensable warning role in large organizations like ours. I also salute the initiatives of Portes à Portes and its spirit of conviviality, as well as the good ideas of the BMS which gave at the end of the year a Scandinavian air to the reception of the Drac.

How does 2016 look? Like a fruitful year of work!

After a sequence of nearly two years marked by democratic deadlines, 2016 will allow us to double down!

By continuing to respond to the very great demand for government, which is more important than ever, in a country that is wounded, in turmoil, in the grip of the doubt that some seek to exploit.

We have the opportunity and the responsibility to work in a public service that directly affects the population, that provides concrete, visible answers, always in the direction of trust and openness, access and sharing.

The assets: the budget Culture sanctuarized, endowments for the Drac in increase, a bill affirming the freedom of creation and the national stakes of the heritage.

The quality of the discussion around the bill is a very positive indication of the recognition of the issues raised by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, contrary to the glaring ones we could have had, there has been no questioning of the role of the ABF or the legal framework of preventive archaeology: and this is due in particular to your daily action, the face of the Ministry of Culture and Communication in the field is you, you are the first circle, it is thanks to your action that the law, once passed, will be inscribed in reality. In a period of tension and questioning about the rights of creators, in our region, which is home to so many artists, we will be on the front line to make the principles of creative freedom, the role of labels, live.

With this advantage of being able to associate the EPN with this specific dynamic, they responded favorably to the requests of the regional prefect, A mission is set up with the General Secretariat which will make the link with the Drac to move quickly on the twinning of EPN. 

In 2016 as in 2015 we will have to continue to fight and no doubt to spend a lot of time on the major topical issues, I think of the MAC of Créteil, the TCI, the Apostrophe of Cergy, I think of the complex files of protection or authorizations of work. These crises are very visible but should not mask that everything that is done everywhere in the Drac on a daily basis, which is less visible but which makes that the Drac is recognized, expected, because you are permanently in the territories, and in 90% of cases everything goes well. 

But we still need to improve, to be more effective, because that’s how we can better prepare for the future.

I know that these prospects can be worrisome because of heavy workloads. This is a reality, which is not unique to the Drac, all decentralized services are facing it. We will seek answers by improving our organization, and in particular by looking for everything that allows us to work better together, by communicating better among ourselves, by strengthening the quality of relationships and team cohesion. The work on internal regulations will be a catalyst for these issues. If the technical quality of the teams and the respect of the technical indicators is essential, they are not enough for our ambition: that of a united human community, especially since the challenges are numerous. For me the greatest success would be that everyone at the Drac IDF knows, by coming to work every day, that he is recognized, expected, and useful. I would like to thank the Drac Department Heads, their commitment is essential to the success of our missions not only because they are good in their fields, but because they know and support their teams.

This is what will allow us to face the major challenges of 2016: the creation of the Metropolis, but also the dialogue with all the communities, the accompaniment of the intercommunalities. The reform will be for us the creation of the Metropolitan Staff, the meaning of this reform: a reform that is not imposed on us, which proves the capacity of the State services to invent formulas that take into account the administrative history and the acquired competences. This will be the mission entrusted to Sandrine Sartori in agreement with Vincent Berjot. A reform balanced by strengthening the role of Stap de grande couronne with the gradual creation of posts of councillors in territories.

With the metropolis we will have a suitable framework to deal with heritage and architectural issues but also very diverse issues like that of the past museums which we will accompany the creation, the networking of the houses of the Illustres or that of reading places for students or the study on linguistic practices in IDF.

The people, and above all the young people, for whom you patiently form partnerships with the other services of the State, education, youth, employment, equipment, because culture is not the prerogative of the Drac but a dimension that must cross the actions of the State. The hard work of ranking conservatories and the resumption of funding by the Ministry of Culture and Communication will be an opportunity to reinforce innovative educational ambitions. But also young professionals, their integration, their training: you have been able to propose original devices, to accompany the complex process of creation of the higher poles. Beyond these heavy projects, the success of the transformation of the Île-de-France region, the first European university region with an original place for teaching "Culture", is at stake. The Drac will have to accompany these changes, by ensuring the quality of student housing, by supporting cultural initiatives on campuses like the one in Saclay because they create a link and a meeting.

To this end, we will continue to work with other government departments. This is why I am delighted that the Drac team welcomes new colleagues: SG, CRA, architecture, Stap 77 leader, others, 23 new colleagues.

Conclusion: Culture for Life

Michel Tournier/ façade of the basilica 

"Our ability to read in the works of men and women, both past and present, the greatest, the most beautiful, the most astonishing, our confidence in transmitting to future generations something to be moved about, to reflect on, and to build a common destiny."

 Véronique Chatenay-Dolto, Regional Director of Cultural Affairs Île-de-France