Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


Forum d'Avignon 2011 – An investment named desire, three exclusive studies by Kurt Salmon, Charles Landry and Tera Consultants

Forum d'Avignon 2011 – From intuition to decision: who decides who invest in culture? 100 interviews, a frame of reference and 4 case studies, by Kurt Salmon

How is the decision to invest in cultural projects and equipments made? What are the criteria and triggering factors behind? What are the justifications offered to favor and promote cultural projects? How do the different key players position themselves: artists, institutions, firms,…? What are the underlying “strategies” at the origin of a project?  

These are the questions answered by the study realized by Kurt Salmon for the Forum d’Avignon 2011. “Committing and investing in culture: from intuition to decision”: the title of the study summarizes well the stakes. The decision chain has been highlighted thanks to hundreds of interviews, realized for the study during 2011, all around the world: the origins, the idea, the concept. Then intuition gives way to the classical rules of management and finance: how to implement it, to concretize it, follow up in the long range or, in other words, ROI! 

The economic weight of culture cannot be questioned: in 2002, cultural industries represented 12% of the American GDP, 3.8% of the Canadian GDP and already 1.48% of the Chinese GDP. The main economies and their decision makers have understood it: beyond the cultural sector itself creation spreads innovation by waves to all other economic fields and society. The decision to invest in culture cannot be made lightly or by a single player: cultural investments principally federate economic players, investors’ collectives, donors, public institutions and philanthropists. Culture is not a traditional sector, with innovating financing models, and remains a strategic field of activity. 

How can the non-economic consequences of culture be measured? If the study does not have the ambition to offer a fixed framework of analysis, it remains a precious tool box for any decision maker, allowing a precise evaluation of his investment and justifying it to people who could still question its legitimacy. 8 main types of stakes are highlighted by the study: 4 economic ones, related to influence and notoriety, economic development, knowledge economy and the promotion of the heritage. 4 other ones refer to a more societal dimension: social cohesion and enterprise culture are reinforced and so are the societal responsibility of investors, the offer and usages develop in the cultural field; at last creation and artistic expression are renewed. 

The next steps are identified: this frame of analysis is a first step toward the evaluation of the cultural impact of each investment. The study values the figure of the cultural entrepreneur and concludes on the need to reinforce the competitiveness of economy through culture. This ambition implies the constitution of clusters federating the various key players involved in each project. The last proposal being to put together a new financing model – tailor-made to fit culture’s characteristics – a responsible and performing pattern, thanks to “cultural and committed savings”.  

In addition to this study, four case studies focus on innovating projects: the centre Pompidou Metz, the Festival of Aix en Provence, the digitalization process of the Royal Belgian Library, the Design Fashion Architecture (DUTCH) in the Netherlands. 



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Forum d'Avignon 2011 – Creative cities – Presentation of Charles Landry study on creative cities

For the 2011 edition of the Forum d’Avignon, Charles Landry, the famous theorists of creative cities, delivers a first study on his research conducted on 6 European cities, within the frame of the partnership between the Forum d’Avignon and the Forum d’Avignon RUHR / ECCE.

 Lille, Bologna, Bilbao, Cracow, Liverpool and the Ruhr region: what is their common point?  Creativity! This concept, developed by Charles Landry to describe innovative cities, constitutes the major asset of cities competing at a global level to localize resources, imagination and creativity, to attract investments as much as tourist! To the question, why investing in culture, Charles Landry answers with another question: what do we lose if we do not invest in culture? Because it integrates itself in a wider ecosystem within a territory and develops much beyond the limits of the cultural field. Not dealing with this topic comes to impoverishing the dynamic of firms and businesses, to threaten the social cohesion, to weakening the territory against its competitors, to losing its identity, its DNA, and so its future. Creative cities and creative economy are indivisible.  

 Charles Landry makes his point through a deeply documented study, with a historical distance of 25 years, on 6 cities analyzed. To statistic figures, to interviews with directly involved key players, he adds his knowledge of an advisor to numerous cities, among which the European Capital of Culture. 

Bilbao is often linked to the Guggenheim: of course, but it remains a symbol, hiding a strong policy promoting a renewal, which has transformed the city, from an industrial desert to a creative pole for service industries. 

Liverpool has a different path, but started from the same acknowledgment: from an industrial city, devastated by the crisis, the city managed to transform itself, using the memory of the Beatles, in a hype touristic place as well as in a major place for scientific innovation. 

 Lille, the city of the North of France, is no longer the territory of former mines and textile fabrics: it symbolizes culture, conviviality and welcomes the main firms representing electronic and technological businesses in France, as well as the logistic platforms supporting their development. 

The Ruhr region, European Capital of Culture, gave up its previous image associated with blast-furnaces to make of its industrial wild lands real innovative clusters, mixing design, cultural industries, research and development and education. 

Bologna follows a similar path to distinguish itself from other Italian cities, benefiting from a more renowned strong cultural heritage and symbols: to artisanal specialization, the city chose to add a strategy around the localization of advance service activities, resulting in one of the highest employment rate in Italy! 

Cracow chose to remember its past: after the fall of the wall, the city managed to rely on its intellectual tradition, its university, the heritage of the Jewish districts to launch a cultural renewal and become an incubator of innovation in Poland. 


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Forum d'Avignon 2011 - The lever effect of public cultural expenditure on GDP: a reality!  by Tera Consultants


In 2009 and 2010, Kurt Salmon set up a database for the Forum d’Avignon, based on 11 indicators and a panel of 47 cities spread out on 21 countries and 5 continents (28 in Europe, 12 in America, 3 in Asia, 2 in Oceania and 1 in Africa). This database has made possible the presentation of a mapping of the strategies of the 47 cities studied in 2010. 

In 2011, thanks to the consulting firm Tera Consultants, a step further has been achieved, posing a statistical question raised by many: are the spillovers resulting from cultural investments measurable? 

The answer is not as black or white and the statistic analysis offered should remain illustrative. However, on the panel analyzed, if the public cultural expenditure represents on average 0.7% of the GDP per capita in the studied cities, this expenditure affects 10% of the GDP per capita. The lever effect is always positive and without doubt considerable, even if it only impacts and influences a certain type of initiatives. In other words: the more we invest in culture, the more dynamic is the economy of a territory! 

At last, the statistic study highlights the interrelations between cultural investment and non economic criteria: the cultural investment directly impacts the attractivity and the social cohesion of territories; its size is related to the city’s wealth and constitutes an indicator of its level of development. Indeed, neglecting culture means: declining…


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