Madam Minister, dear Najat,
Dear Emmanuel Ethis, Vice-President of the High Council,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased that our High Council is taking place today, at the beginning of 2016. Thank you, dear Najat, for welcoming us into your ministry. Thank you for organizing this meeting, which is long overdue, and rightly so.
The year 2015 has been rich in achievements and advances for arts and cultural education, as well as for media and information education: our “joint roadmap” was set in February 2015; Arts and Culture Day at School was created last spring; we gathered together, dear Najat, all the Rectors and the DRAC on 9 June and we will gather them again in the coming months; the BEC School Curriculum Repository was published in the summer; we signed a joint agreement for media and information education; and finally, recently, we dedicated a national training day entirely dedicated to BEC. The reports that will be presented to you later will clarify and complement all these achievements. This short catalogue shows the extent of the mobilization of our two departments for this priority policy of the Government.
So it has been a year full of actions, common or specific to our departments. With the High Council meeting today, we are continuing our momentum, and entrusting to its Vice-President, Emmanuel Ethis, an ambitious roadmap. With new means, we set a course to maintain a high level of dynamism and political will for arts and cultural education. We need the High Council, its Vice-President and all its members to feed our policies with their experiences, their views and their proposals.
Because we are here in an assembly where we have time to weigh the issues. There is nothing more precious than the time we give ourselves, because it is rare.
Here, everyone can measure the constraints of the other and the inventiveness of each. This is the best way of drawing up new guidelines.
I am talking about method, I am talking about dialogue and consultation, because we all know here how essential all this is to advance the cause of arts and culture education.
Because it belongs to several worlds: that of education – general, technical, professional or agricultural – and that of culture; that of popular education, and even that of health or justice.
Because it comes under all levels of action: civil society, cultural and educational actors, local authorities and the State, each according to its responsibilities.
I therefore pay special attention, dear Emmanuel Ethis, to the mission entrusted to you to prepare the next Summer University of Arts and Cultural Education, much awaited by those involved in education and culture, and I hope that it can be held before the end of 2016. The 2014 edition was a first. We all know that the exchange, dissemination of good practices and feedback are essential to the success of our company, as well as a way to share a collective responsibility.
Together we must make arts and cultural education a project of society; of a free, happy and citizen society; of a society that we have the responsibility to build. The President of the Republic has made it his priority. The events of 2015 oblige all political, cultural and educational leaders to give it new prominence and new power.
Education in arts and culture answers a simple question.
A question that has continued to grow since the attacks of 2015. A question that the French are asking themselves and asking us. What connects us to each other, despite everything and in spite of everything?
To this question I answer language and arts. I answer culture and education.
In this unique country, where the State made the Nation, the Nation was built as a project.
A project in which education and culture play a fundamental role.
It’s a very political issue. It’s the most political of all. For if we do not answer this question, others will do it: the defenders of the petrified heritage, who dream, awake, of a univocal France. The opponents of difference, who are also opponents of art. I often have to face them, those who despise artists and art. If we do not answer the question the French are asking us through culture, then others will do it differently. Others will do so through identification with a community. None of us want their victory.
The world in which we must build and think our educational and cultural policies has changed. Practices, artistic and cultural, have changed. The digital transformation is changing the game. Globalization is just as much.
What has not changed, on the other hand, is that culture can be privatized in the service of the self, opposed to the one who does not have one or who does not have the same to better exclude it, or in return arouse the inhibition of those who feel illegitimate in the places of culture.
It is in order to make it possible for everyone to participate in cultural life that it is necessary to democratize it. I have made it my priority. That means we have to do more. We have to go to those who are furthest removed from the culture, without waiting for them to come. Let us take into account their practices and aspirations, let us start from the real, and let us face them with a place. Take risks and be inventive.
What has not changed, forgive me for stating the obvious, is that language and the arts are being learned and deepened. It’s that culture works and feeds. At school, and outside school. When you’re a child and throughout life. In contact with artists, teachers and all those whose job it is to transmit culture.
This is where we come together to build a new and massive policy of arts and cultural education.
If money is not everything, it is a good indicator of the trend. Allow me to make a foray into figures. For my department alone, our funding for arts and cultural education has increased by 80% since 2012. In 2016, they will reach 54.6 million euros. This is 35% more than in 2015. No other area of intervention of the Ministry of Culture has experienced such a progression.
It is also my conviction that these additional resources only make sense if they are aimed first at those who need them most. So they have to go where the projects are lacking, where the culture is least present. In 2015, half of the additional funding went to the city’s priority neighbourhoods and rural territories. We aim for 65% this year.
We also funded 146 innovative projects to improve the mastery of French through culture and 114 projects for local media, mainly in priority territories.
In 2015, experiments and concrete initiatives made possible many living art projects for children and youth: they allowed me to build «Belle Saison Generation», our plan for living art for children and youth, that I launched last December 8. This original plan, which founds the creation and cultural offer for youth as a policy in its own right, follows «La Belle Saison». It will support artists and cultural actors who are committed to art and culture for children and youth.
In 2015, I put culture back into the city policy so that every city contract has a culture component, making arts and cultural education a mandatory focus. It must be implemented in association with cultural structures and local and regional authorities, because cultural policy is eminently partnership-based and can only be achieved through general mobilization.
The public institutions under my supervision are also mobilizing. I asked them to have only one priority in mind for the coming year: the participation of all in cultural life, and therefore education in arts and culture. I expect them to develop a suitable offer, as is the case in many museums. Three of our major iconic museums – the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and the Musée d'Orsay – will offer a day each week reserved for school students and audiences furthest away from culture, allowing them to discover the works in better conditions.
I also invited all public institutions to increase offers outside the walls, to go to territories where culture is not, and to invite everyone to make proposals to me.
We must also work more and more with those involved in popular education and socio-cultural education, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Because they are present as close as possible to the public. It carries many initiatives, some of which are exemplary, because it is closer to the daily lives of those who are furthest removed from culture. With the Federations of Popular Education, we have begun work to recast the «Charter of Culture and Popular Education» which dates from 1998.
Even more broadly, I believe very much in the need to start from these places of culture that French people go to every day. We are fortunate to have an extraordinary network of libraries and media libraries. France has more than just post offices. And a third of their subscribers are young people. Many of them have set up projects, developed offers, in connection with schools, colleges or high schools in the area. A third of them take over the cultural activities proposed in the framework of the reform of school schedules. Elected officials know this. They often take care of it.
I therefore wanted the State to support communities that are ready to adapt their media libraries to the lifestyles of our fellow citizens, whether it is to expand the opening hours, evening or weekend, or to propose a new offer.
I mentioned libraries, and I need to mention conservatories. My ministry will again fund them this year in order to place this invaluable network of artistic training and practice, present throughout the territory, at the heart of the arts and cultural education policy. It is in this regard that the State will return to the financing of conservatories, that of a clear reaffirmation of their missions for artistic education and training on the one hand and a resolute action towards the most deprived territories on the other hand. In a few weeks, I will present the priorities that will be implemented in 2016 for this new policy. My ambition is to make specialized arts education, collective artistic practice, amateur training a pillar of the project of society and citizenship that is arts and cultural education. Other projects accompany this movement, such as the 30 orchestras DEMOS of the Philharmonie, or the actions of the association Orchestre à l'Ecole, which must be able to deploy more massively in the territory.
As you will have understood, what is at stake through arts and cultural education is everyone’s access to the arts, language and culture. Access that must be offered to everyone, to as many people as possible, to everyone, whatever their path, whatever their life path. I am thinking, for example, of disability: I wanted to dedicate an EAC subcommittee to the Committee on Culture and Disability, which I chaired last week with Ségolène Neuville. I wish you could be associated with it.
I am also thinking of the possibility of mobilizing the 1% of private copying to finance EAC actions: the bill on creative freedom, architecture and heritage that I carry will offer this new possibility, as it recalls the artist’s essential role and place in the development of BEC’s policy.
This, my dear friends, is the path we have taken so far and the path we are taking. Arts and cultural education is a priority for the government. It can only be achieved through the mobilization of all, if it is invited to school and out of school, if it leaves in priority places of life and culture of the French, and if an adapted offer is accessible to all. This implies inventiveness, attention, duration and training, where artists are increasingly involved. For all this, we need your work and your debates.
I’m counting on you.