Reform through culture

After the themes " Culture: reasons for hope " (2012) and " The powers of the culture" (2013), the Forum d’Avignon wishes to continue its commitment in favor of the creation and its actors in 2014 by pondering reforms needed on three main issues - financing and tax system for creation, security and valorization of cultural personal data, cultural investments on the territories- to challenge the European political world, on the occasion of this years’ European elections and decisions that commit us for the next decade .

While the positive effects of culture and creative industries on the economy are well established, actions must be taken to ensure that they both be recognized as a catalyzer of value(s ) , employment and social cohesion , in the same way as others sectors are.

To be able to reform, we need to measure. Since 2009, the Forum d'Avignon bears the project of cultural imprint which aims at measuring the tangible effects of culture and creativity on the economy and social cohesion,  in the same way as the carbon footprint does it in a negative way. In line with the work of the Stiglitz - Sen- Fitoussi commission, the project has to do with measuring the well-being of a population and consolidate the positive correlation between cultural and local development, beyond the GDP.

The Forum d'Avignon establishes several innovative and pragmatic proposals at national, European and international levels in order to reaffirm that culture must be at the heart of politics:

To encourage rebuilding territories through culture, to promote benefits in their literally and symbolic of cultural investment, creator of values, jobs and social bonding. Culture is an investment that has its own specificities and that cannot be reduced to its mere economic dimension. Nevertheless, investors must to be convinced that the evaluation of a cultural investment can also be grasped as a function of measurable qualitative criteria. Thanks to an European Union Culture program grant, The Forum d'Avignon and its partners in the Catalyse project[i] - FA Bilbao (March 2014, 5 th  to 7 th) and FA Ruhr (Essen June 2014, 11th - 12th) will publish a proposal on culture as a driving force for urban and territorial development.

To facilitate the emergence of a generation of cultural creators and entrepreneurs willing to change the way we invest in culture. To encourage the evaluation and protection of intangible assets (primarily intellectual property - brands, patents, copyrights) since the very beginning of a project ; to develop the versatility of training ;  to stimulate the creation of development agencies networks through a certification of general interest ; eventually, to support private cultural investment  as the “Creative business angels”, to facilitate the opening of eligibility criteria for investment funds, the collective cultural funding and sponsorship as tools for individual and societal involvement.

To consider the protection and valorization of personal data as a key cultural issue. Considering personal data – and especially the cultural ones – left on the Internet as a digital DNA of our identity, the Forum d’Avignon calls for a Universal declaration for Internet users’ and creators’ rights in a digital era that enterprises, States and citizens should abide by. The politic would pride itself to remember that culture is the essence of humanity. Economic activity indeed, but watch out for the values that culture ​​conveys. And for their respect!

To commit to a Europe of culture!  Despite unfortunate prevarications about the cultural exception, the Forum d'Avignon and its participants called for a mobilization of political stakeholders not only to fly the culture and European creation’s flag but more essentially to develop a collective policy for the European culture, which promote economic development and citizens’ well-being. If we were to do it all over again, should we start with culture?

Proposals from working groups aim at stimulating public debate on current or prospective issues, then relayed in national and international organizations and during international meetings instances the Forum d’Avignon is supporting :

  • At  Bilbao (Spain), with the Forum d’Avignon Bilbao from  March 5th to 7th 2014,
  • At the Palais de Chaillot (Paris),  with the « Forum de Chaillot, Avenir de la culture, Avenir de l’Europe » : on April 4th and 5t of 2014, organized by the French Ministery of culture and communication
  • at Essen (Germany), with the Forum d’Avignon-Ruhr : on June 11th and 12th  of 2014
  • at Avignon (France), with the  Festival d’Avignon :  on July 10th and 11th juillet 2014



[i] The Forum d’Avignon Bilbao explores “The City as cultural ecosystem”.