Culture is future »


"Enterprising culture" by Laure Kaltenbach and Olivier Le Guay on The Huffington Post

With “Enterprising culture”, the theme of the 8th international meetings in Bordeaux, the Forum d’Avignon wishes to raise awareness among citizens, artists, entrepreneurs, policy makers on the “pact of humanity”[1] between culture and security, the “cultural urgency”[2] or the “state of emergency”[3], but also to renew the link between culture and economy, and facilitate the development of a generation of European talents and cultural entrepreneurs.

Article previously published in french on the

Raise awareness about the cultural « state of emergency ».

In his speech following the Paris terrorist attacks, pronounced on the 24th of November 2015 in the Hall of the Horatii and Curiatii where the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, Matteo Renzi declared that “for each euro invested in security, there must be one invested in Culture”. In their own way, the speakers of the opening session, among whom Ouided Bouchamaoui, who received the Nobel Peace Prize 2015, Alain Juppé, the Grand Imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou, the singer Yael Naim and the musician David Donatien, the film maker Amos Gitaï and several European Ministers, will draw the public’s attention to the cultural urgency. During the closing session, around the theme “Let’s get involved”, the Vice-Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and the artist Michelangelo Pistolletto will take the floor.  

Renew the link between culture and economy.

With many accounts from the survey of the Forum d’Avignon on how to « enterprise culture », Thomas Paris, Affiliated Professor and researcher, HEC Paris and member of the scientific board of the Forum d’Avignon, brilliantly summed up the main stakes between culture and economy: “the reunification of culture and entrepreneurship raises some reluctance, mostly ideological, both words referring to sectors which have theoretically opposite meanings. It is not true: this reunification does not mean enslaving culture to the economy, but is in fact vital in order for culture to flourish. Here are two reasons why:

  • Firstly, culture has a heritage dimension, which has to be preserved, taken care of, enhanced, but also has a living part. Creation today will be a part of culture tomorrow. And the creation process is inherently entrepreneurial, because it concerns and individual or a group who tries his best to make a project come true to express an idea, and tries to share it with as many people as possible. New and subjective proposals, and the concern of convincing an audience large enough to make the project and the team work. The idea of entrepreneurship does not assume here any particular link to financial success, but instead a position imposed by characteristics specific to creation.
  • Secondly, if creation, and what makes culture, has not fundamentally changed, its environment, whether in production or diffusion, is deeply changing, both under the impact of globalisation and of the digital revolution. Those transformations can enable an artistic form to flourish, or on the contrary to suffocate. Entrepreneurship is therefore necessary to build the environment where culture can exist in its most diverse forms.

Claiming the specificity of creation as a model for the future.

Enterprising culture, it is admitting the singularity of the cultural entrepreneur by taking into account the specificities of creative work, which requires several activities, and simultaneously some time to think: information and technique research, writing, performances on the one hand and financing of the production, co-production on the other hand… This reality requires to draw new economic and social models which combine preservation of the plurality of creation – and freedom of expression – and relation of the statuses to combine at best economic choices, social welfare and fiscal constraints.

If creation is not uberizable, its revenues can be, captured by platforms. This calls for several answers: collective, by mutualising high added value products, and regulatory (necessity of transparency regarding wages from new medias, protection of intangible heritage, …). 

The future of the cultural sector will be collective and European.

If Europe wants to play a role in the cultural entrepreneurship of tomorrow, it needs to come out the current cacophony regarding its taxation policy[4] and digital and encourage its domestic market and its readability to have an international influence. If the unique digital market is a “conquering” goal for the new European Commission, it must not be at the expense of financing creation, nor by mashing up concepts which are culturally unfamiliar.

Enterprising culture in this context means gathering Europeans to create the most relevant frame to encourage the development of a generation of cultural entrepreneurs. “Before breaking national borders, it is crucial that Europe agrees on lasting economic models, and on how to legally protect intellectual property, in each concerned ecosystem (audio-visual, music, edition, multimedia etc.)” explains Bruno Perrin, EY associate, who coordinated the study for the Forum d’Avignon @Bordeaux, the agility of digital property in the context of a digital unique market. He argues for the definition of economic, fiscal and ethical responsibilities of distributors and the use of personal data, and also reminds the necessity to lay the foundations for a fair share of value and fiscal treatment. 

Let’s look to the place of culture in 20 years. Tomorrow starts today. And we have a lot to learn again together.

[1] Speech of Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy, pronounced at the Capitol on November, 24th 2015

[2] L’urgence Culturelle, Jérôme Clément, Grasset, to be published on March 30th 2016

[3] « Culture : état d’urgence », Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, Editions Chou, 2012

[4] Exclusive EY study for the international meetings of the Forum d’Avignon about taxation « Tax system and Culture in Europe: from cacophony to a conquering harmony, march 2016 by Jean-Pierre Lieb, Eric Verron and Nicolas Genestier.