Forum d’Avignon Ruhr

Europe with its 'Strategy 2020' has set ambitious goals for cultural industries: change impact of the economy from 3% of GDP to 15% - 20%. More than the increase of structural funds mobilized (even with doubling of investment allocated, the impact is marginal), the Forum d’Avignon and the European Centre for the Creative Economy (ECCE) both think that cultural policies need to change.

Against overwhelming pessimism, the Forum d’Avignon, the European Centre for the Creative Economy (ECCE) and the former European Capital of Culture, RUHR.2010 concluded, a Franco-German partnership with the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr. The goal is to make a joint contribution to future policies by bringing together European personalities from various fields. Facing drastic changes, not only related to the impact of globalization in economics, but also in technology and culture, fluency and anticipation of these economic changes, cultural and social is not conceivable without interdisciplinary strategies.

On the occasion of the first Forum of Avignon Ruhr, 8 and 9 March 2012 in SANAA building on the World Heritage site Zollverein, partners are called to add Culture to the Education and Youth already registered by General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer as pillars of the Franco-German cooperation. This call makes sense on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Elysée in January 2013.

Website and Brochure of the Forum d'Avignon RUHR


Press releases 

Forum d'Avignon - 15th March 2012

  The success of the first Forum d'Avignon Ruhr 2012 in Essen calls for broadening the Franco-German cooperation on culture.

Financed by European capital of culture and North Westaphalia lander,  The success of the first Forum in Ruhr, with one hundred and fifty participants coming from twenty countries, confirms that culture should be regarded as an essential investment in the development of Europe. This dynamic calls to add Culture to Education and Youth already registered by General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer as pillars of the Franco-German cooperation. This call makes sense on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, in January 2013.
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Forum d'Avignon - 21st February 2012

“Creating Progress”
Building strategic partnerships between culture and the economy
The first ever Forum d’Avignon-Ruhr takes place in Essen, Germany, on the 8th and 9th March 2012

Building on the 2011 Forum d’Avignon on ‘Investing in Culture’, this year’s Forum d’Avignon-Ruhr – 8 and 9 March – will examine opportunities for local economic development through innovative cultural investment strategies among the public and private sectors. The Forum d’Avignon think tank was founded in 2008 to explore the opportunities that can be created through stronger links between culture, creative industries, the economy, and social cohesion. Therefore, the Forum analyses three themes: culture, financing, and economic models; culture, digital, and innovation; and culture and local attractiveness. The 2012 Forum d’Avignon-Ruhr, will explore culture attractiveness during two days.
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English or French



Interview of Laure Kaltenbach, Managing director, by

On March 08 and 09 the Forum d´Avignon moves to Essen, Germany - the heart of the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010. One of the foremost think tanks on culture is hosted at UNESCO World Heritage site Zeche Zollverein and Folkwang University of the Arts’ SANAA cube building. Forum d´Avignon Ruhr congregates high ranking politicians, economists and creatives to debate on the meaning of culture in the digital age and to reflect on terms of sustainability in transforming and changing urban environments. Read the article

Interview of Nicolas Seydoux, President, by Labkulture

Interview of Dieter Gorny, Managing director, ECCE, by the Forum d'Avignon

The History of Europe has often been praised as the opening of the European common market and the change of tariffs and business standards. Today in the times of the European crisis however a pure economic self-perception is an obvious short-coming - even for developing new growth strategies for Europe. Today we are confronted with drastic changes not only in economy but also in technology and culture. These developments are taking place against the background situation that the rate of technological change has never been so rapid and that the effect of the changes has never been so profound - just consider the permanently growing social divide in cities all over Europe. Thus the requirement for sustainability - or a trustworthy outlook for the next generation - represents an essential and inevitable factor for present and future developments. And this depends on our culture and values. Read the article 


Kurt Salmon’s study to serve as a basis for discussion for this two-day event

Kurt Salmon’s study ‘Cultural undertaking & investment: from intuition to decision making’, carried out for the 2011 Forum d’Avignon, looked at the role and impacts – both qualitative and quantitative – of cultural programming. The past 25 years of cultural alliances and investments in cities like Bologna, Bilbao, Krakow, Lille, Liverpool, and those in the Ruhr region have shown that culture is an integral part of local ecosystems; culture exerts an influence that extends to other sectors; and culture can and does drive economic development.

 The two-day Forum d’Avignon-Ruhr will include three panel discussions based on Charles Landry’s studyCreativity, culture and the city: a question of interconnection’. The panels will examine issues like making culture and the economy part of a common strategy, the art of creative change, and success stories and best practices. 


   Forum d'Avignon - March 2012


- Forum d'Avignon Ruhr

- Cultural attractiveness of territories

- last articles   



Forum d'Avignon Ruhr - speakers, videos, ideas

'Culture is an engine of economy' says Gunter Winands, director and head of the directorate 'media and film, international affairs' at the federal government commission for culture and the media.

Among the main ideas shared by the first speakers, came out the need to redefine and give back an effective place to the notion of cooperation. In a context of uncertainty and doubt about what the future could be, the rediscovery of the city through the new types of networks provided by the modern city, as a hub where people meet, transact, exchange, share, should lead to new forms of cooperation.Read the article

La Cultura non si mangia! by Hervé Digne-Vice Chairman of the Forum d’Avignon Senior Partner, Kurt Salmon

La cultura non si mangia! The answer, in the form of punch on the table from Giulio Tremonti, Italian Minister of Finance to Sandro Bondi, Minister of Culture, has been disseminated all around the web. It corresponds to a narrow productivist vision, a Pavlovian response that targets expenditures on culture as the first item to be cut in times of fiscal stress. And there are many victims, both of public and private funding: the UK Film Council, who had accompanied the revival of British cinema to the great American symphony orchestras, the Philadelphia’s which placed itself under protection with the scarcity of private patronage. Lire l'article

Are-you creative ?

« Creativity and imagination requires us to learn how to pose the issues ».

What is creativity? How to justify the almost obsessive desire for inventiveness of modern societies? Overexposed and sometimes meaningless, the concept imposes itself as an essential quality, mixing boldness and responsiveness, feelings and ability to think out-of-the-box, ingenuity and openness to the world ...

Holy Grail of the twenty-first century: all look for it. But can it be limited? Thus, the Lisbon Agenda in 2007 advocated for a strengthening of the investments in creativity, presenting culture as "a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon strategy for growth and employment". However, the promotion of creativity goes beyond mere artistic spheres, as demonstrated by the recent study conducted by IBM (1500 leaders of 60 countries and 33 industries). Rigor, integrity, ethics and efficiency, are now seen as secondary skills: it is by promoting creative and innovative approaches that leaders will, in the future, be able to adapt to industrial transformations, representing the main factors of uncertainty for 60 % of CEOs. Read the article

Who is Jochen Gerz ?

 Jochen Gerz is an international German artist, who has, with his public artworks, radically transformed the relationship betweenthe viewer and art. His work transcends social boundaries, and creates new constituencies since it relies on public authorship. The individual is no longer a spectator but rather a participant in an artistic process.

Born in Berlin 1940, Jochen Gerz lived in Paris from 1966 to 2007 and is now based in Ireland. He studied in Cologne, Basel, London (literature, sinology, prehistory) from 1959 to 1963. He starts taking up writing and photography, before making video, performances, installations combining different media and techniques. Jochen Gerz’ works in public space anticipate the aesthetics of a democracy in search of its cultural dimension. His recent works include2-3 Streets (Duisburg, Dortmund, Mulheim an der Ruhr), The Square of the European Promise (Bochum), amaptocare (Ballymun) and Salviamo La Luna (Milan). Read the article


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Photo : ECCE, Marc Lagneau, Blickwinkel-Stefan_Ziese-SANAA-Building, Forum d'Avignon Ruhr (Ruhr.2010)/Manfred Vollmer