Newsletter 2
September 2010

This month, focus on the debate "cultural attractiveness of territories" with interviews of Richard Florida, Allen J. Scott and Alain Seban, but also the 2010 novelties and the point of view of Christian Etienne, chef in Avignon.

Every week, article, studies, interviews tackle the themes of the Forum d'Avignon 2010. Discover on the website the updated press review.

Ruhr 2010 - a new energy: culture
The Ruhrgebiet (Ruhr region) aggregates several major industrial cities gathering more than 5.7 million inhabitants (most populated region in Germany and 6th one in Europe). The designation of Essen as the 2010 European capital of culture revitalized the region, notably through cultural activities. Around three concepts "Myth, Metropolis and Europe", the region renews itself for and through culture, as an integral part of the Ruhr 2010 project.

"The economy of culture in Europe", European Commission (education and culture), 2009
This study highlights the contribution (direct and indirect) of the cultural and creative sectors to the European Union economy. Among the key figures of the study: - the sector contributed to 2.6% of EU GDP in 2003 - the overall growth of the sector's value added was 19.7% in 1999-2003 - in 2004, at least 5.8 million people worked in these sectors (3.1% of the total European working population).

Second edition of the barometer on the cultural attractiveness of territories - Ineum consulting for the Forum d'Avignon

• Cultural attractiveness and economic performance : what jobs, what strategies for the development of territories?

The world's cities get together at the 2010 edition of the Forum d'Avignon for the second edition of the Barometer on the cultural attractiveness of territories.
What is the role of culture as a determining factor of attractiveness and performance within a context of international competition between territories (soft power)? Is the competition between cultural centers reciprocally advantageous or is it resulting in a shifting of the areas of influence in an always more globalized economy (win-win game)? How does globalization impact the cultural offer? What place does it leave for local productions?
Is the cultural sector generating durable and sustainable activity and employment? To what extent do creative jobs participate in the development of other economic fields of activity? How could culture become a determining factor in  the localization of economic activity? Is it then possible to sketch out the conditions for a successful attraction strategy based on culture?

• Presentation of the study Ineum consulting

Established on more than 11 indicators certified by international agencies, the barometer will present the strategies of cultural attractiveness of near to 50 territories. In 2009, strategies have been identified and correlation has been observed: "cities tending towards a number of cultural facilities greater than 8 for every 100 000 inhabitants, with annual public funding of around 100 Euros per capita, and with a student population exceeding 10% of the city's population, are more likely to attract an annual number of tourists per capita which will be greater than 5 and where unemployment will be less than 8%."
In 2010, the barometer will take into account more cities and territories and the sudy will deal with the issues of cultural employment.
Case studies on Avignon, Mumbai, Brussels, Casablanca, Florence, Los Angeles, New orlean, the 'Grand Paris', and interviews of the key-players of these different strategies will be presented. The study will be available online on November 2010.

The interviews

The 2010 debate of the Forum d’Avignon on the cultural attractiveness of territories will be the occasion of presenting the second edition of the Barometer based on a statistic survey carried out by Ineum Consulting. Is there a correlation between the economic performance and the cultural and academic dynamism of a territory? Does culture accelerate the economic development, under what conditions? Or is culture simply resulting from economic prosperity? Shall the decision makers bet on culture to attract the creative classes, as suggests Richard Florida, leading territories to actively get into the knowledge economy? Or, on the contrary, are economic performances at the origin of the migration of qualified populations, able to develop culture locally, as states Allen J. Scott? If standpoints can be confronted, the examples of successful experiences confirm the possibilities of fostering an original development, as shows the success of the Museum Centre Pompidou in Metz, presented here by Alain Seban.

The interview of Richard Florida

Richard Florida is the author of 'The Great Reset' and Professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto

Under what conditions could cultural attractiveness be a vector of performance for a territory? What does the presence of artists and creators bring to a territory?

Richard Florida :
Artists and creators help regions, cities and regions create a sense of social inclusion and authenticity. Economic prosperity relies on cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific, and artistic creativity. Creative workers with these talents need communities, organizations, and peers that are open to new ideas and different people.  They also look to places that are authentic and unique and the large presence of artists helps a community create an identity that is distinctive. Places receptive to new forms of culture, alternative lifestyles and identities and new views on social status and power structures will benefit significantly in the creative age.

Is there a threshold effect from which cultural attractiveness creates economic performance?

Richard Florida :
For communities to be truly appealing to the Creative Class, they must provide access to cultural amenities such as: performing arts, galleries, theaters, parks, and restaurants. Recently, the Americans for the Arts released a study detailing the economic impact of the arts, which found that, nationwide, the arts had positively impacted communities in the ballpark of $166 billion. In addition, the Pew Research Center recently found that for every dollar government invests in the arts there is a $5 multiplier effect.
It is not surprising that communities and public leaders are engaging the arts as a revitalization mechanism. Philadelphia's center city is a fabulous example of the impact of arts revitalization. As more galleries and public spaces began to open, more residents returned downtown for dinner and evenings out, resulting in a more vibrant and safer center city. Investment into the arts provides public leaders with a viable alternative to the large capital investments such as stadiums, convention centers, etc. Leaders can invest cautiously in the arts and help foster the organic development of a creative scene that is unique to their community.

Should the effective reinforcement of the cultural attractiveness of a territory necessarily imply a strong symbolic project?

Richard Florida :
Absolutely. Creative workers need and want to live in authentic and culturally attractive communities. Arts and culture when intrinsically tied to a community help to create a sense place that is unique and appealing to creative workers.  Arts and culture can also help highlight a community's soul, history, and uniqueness. An authentic place offers us characteristics to define ourselves and a physical and figurative space in which to live.  Art can help to place a connection between the authentic identity around us and the place we live.

What are the future projects that could fit in such a cultural attractiveness dynamic?

Richard Florida :
I am chairing the launch of the Philips Livable Cities Award. This year-long program honors outside-of-the-box thinkers who have ideas that demonstrate simple, practical solutions for improving the health and well-being of the people living, working, and playing in their city. I am joined by an international panel of experts who are helping to develop the award criteria. The initiative was introduced to highlight the complex challenges faced by the residents of today’s cities and to encourage individuals, community groups, and businesses to develop novel strategies and solutions that can help their communities become more livable, sustainable, and prosperous, and can be readily executed and replicated in communities worldwide.

How could the links between cultural attractiveness and employment be characterized?

Richard Florida :
More than ever before, economic development is about talent attraction and retention. In the global economy, regions must create a community that is attractive for creative workers. The Creative Class seeks communities which are open, diverse, and thick with amenities (a vibrant arts scene, good restaurants, a safe community, etc).
Arts and cultural organizations are critical assets to economic development; they add value to the bottom line of any regional economy. Arts organizations should be interacting with the local economic development organization and public leaders to evaluate investments and the "return" on them (i.e. increased community involvement, more arts awareness, and fostering a niche talent).

The interview of Allen J. Scott

Allen J. Scott is an American professor of the Department of Policy Studies and Department of Geography of the University of California – Los Angeles.

Under what conditions could cultural attractiveness be a vector of performance for a territory? What does the presence of artists and creators bring to a territory?

Allen J. Scott :
In recent years a number of urban scholars and policy-makers have asserted that cultural attractiveness is a sine qua non for advanced economic development to occur in a given region. This relationship is due, they state, to the fact that workers endowed with high levels of human capital will migrate preferentially to centers marked by generous supplies of amenities. In my opinion these claims are exaggerated or mistaken. Local economic development is a complex multidimensional process rooted fundamentally in the logic of productive agglomeration and the dynamics of increasing returns effects. Of course, as growth occurs at any given place, it is commonly associated with significant forms of cultural upgrading and investment in amenity values. These phenomena may have marginally positive effects on further growth, but they cannot be seen as having basic causal powers in regard to overall economic development. Moreover, the weight of recent research appears to favor the view that jobs invariably trump amenities in shaping the destination choices of skilled migrants.

Is there a threshold effect from which cultural attractiveness creates economic performance?

Allen J. Scott :
In the light of my answer to the first question, my answer here is emphatically “no.” By contrast, we might claim that a certain degree of economic performance is usually necessary before a high level of cultural attractiveness (art galleries, concert halls, museums, opera houses, etc.) can be achieved. This level of performance coincides more or less with the large dynamic metropolis of contemporary capitalism.

Should the effective reinforcement of the cultural attractiveness of a territory necessarily imply a strong symbolic project?

Allen J. Scott :
Many cities all over the world today are engaged in efforts to achieve global status by means of high-profile symbolic gestures. These gestures proclaim the ambitions of these cities as centers of economic growth and inward investment and as cultural flagships of the new global order. When associated with genuinely dynamic economic potentials, these gestures have a certain logic and meaning as branding devices, as instruments of gentrification, and as socially-desirable embellishments- cum- amenities. Otherwise they are apt to remain as not much more than cathedrals in the desert.

What are the future projects that could fit in such a cultural attractiveness dynamic?

Allen J. Scott :
Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, and (possibly) Dubai, but not Bilbao.

How could the links between cultural attractiveness and employment be characterized?

Allen J. Scott :
Let me sum up my comments by stating that local economic development and employment growth can best be understood in terms of a many-faceted structure of relationships involving (a) networks of specialized but complementary producers, (b) a pool of appropriately socialized and habituated labor, (c) an ongoing process of entrepreneurial and innovative activity, and (d) an overarching system of institutional arrangements whose objectives are to internalize externalities and to guard against lock-in to low-level evolutionary outcomes. In combination with one another, these different relationships provide the foundation for a powerful dynamic of growth based on system-wide increasing returns effects.  It has recently become fashionable in some quarters to believe that policy short-cuts to local prosperity can be achieved by ignoring these basic issues and by simply focusing strategic efforts on enhancing cultural attractiveness. If local economic growth and development can be characterized in the manner that I have suggested, then it follows that cultural upgrading is likely to have little effect on employment, desirable as it may be in its own right. To be sure, investments in cultural upgrading may sometimes have secondary impacts on local economic growth by making a given place marginally more attractive to highly-qualified migrants than another (though as I have already pointed out, it is employment opportunities above all that lure migrants). More generally, any claim to the effect that such upgrading is a stimulus to economic growth must be seen as having radically reversed the normal order of causality.

The interview of Alain Seban

A graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, the ENSAE, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and the ENA, Alain Seban currently is President of the national Museum for Modern Art Georges Pompidou (France).

What does the presence of artists and creators bring to a territory?

Alain Seban :
Today, for many artists, artistic creation involves production processes which bring into play diverse players and lead to the stimulation of the economic activity. Of course, around the artists and their works, is the art market which represents a fundamental economic sector.
Even more important is the fact that artists bear new perspectives on the world, new interrogations. They help each invividual to question himself, to go forward and imagine new solutions. Creation, in its plurality, is essential to our contemporary societies as it is a ferment of deftness, mobility and innovation. Besides, this is precisely according to the belief that contemporary creation could foster France’s modernization that Georges Pompidou created the centre that now carries his name.  

Should the effective reinforcement of the cultural attractiveness of a territory necessarily imply a strong symbolic project?

Alain Seban :
It is important to give ourselves the means to be visible from outside and create an internal dynamic through an impulse as well as a mobilization. Often, building on culture aims at revitalizing economically depressed places – it is enough to mention the examples of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Centre Pompidou in Metz or the Louvre in Lens to illustrate this point – and it is then important to give back pride to the local populations. All these examples justify the strategies that build the offer around major infrastructures and main events.
If I consider the experience of the Museum Georges Pompidou in Metz, local authorities invested around 70 million Euros and are still providing 10 million Euros each year for the functioning. Yet, the opening of this new museum already highly contributed to change the image of Metz and of the Lorraine. The economic impact is clear: when you attract 330 000 visitors in two months, the effects overtake the cultural field and create a positive dynamic for the whole territory. It is obvious that this later has to be able to take this chance and provide the players engaged with the necessary equipments, as they did in Bilbao.

What are your future projects that could fit in such a cultural attractiveness dynamic?

Alain Seban :
In 1974, Michel Guy said that the Centre Pompidou should be the “powerhouse of devolution”. Yet, it would be irrational to cover the territory of Centers Pompidou. The experience of Metz is and will remain unique. On the other hand, we are preparing another ‘flagship project’ for 2011: the moving Centre Pompidou, the first nomad museum of the world. It is conceived to travel everywhere in France in order to share the museum’s experience to publics who generally do not have access to traditional cultural offers, opening them the possibility of admiring masterpieces from our collection, the most beautiful and important in the field of modern art in Europe. Nothing can replace the contact with the original. The moving Centre Pompidou will thus bring art to people to invite them to discover art. In partnership with local governments and regional cultural key players, it will be provided with the necessary skills to be managed locally: to do so, the Centre Pompidou’s teams will train the staff, so that beyond the major event constituted by each stop of the museum’s journey, a new relationship between art and culture can be established.


The students of the Avignon hotel school cooking with the chefs

The French 'master chef' Christian Etienne's restaurant, which has been awarded one Michelin star, is located in a historical monument, former home of the Papal Chamberlain, adjoining the Palais des Papes in Avignon.

The Forum d'Avignon organizes every year a masterclass with chefs from the Avignon region, the whole Europe and the students of the hotel school of Avignon. Since 2008, many participated in this adventure with the same commitment to working both internationally and locally around a common project. Among the chefs: Andoni Luiz Aduriz (Spain), Massimiliana Alajmo (Italy), Bruno d'Angelis (Avignon), Heston Blumenthal (UK), Hélène Darroze (Paris), Christine Ferber (Alsace), Dominique Frérad (Marseille), Jean-Christophe Guisset (Avignon), Pierre Hermé (Paris), Frédéric Jouvaud (Carpentras), Michel Kayser (Nîmes), Léa Linster (Luxembourg), Xavier Mathieu (Gordes), Jérôme Nutile (Collias), Francis Robin (Salon de Provence), Reine Sammut (Lourmarin). This meeting is an opportunity to share skills, life experience and strengthen the students' desire to get involved in this wonderful profession that is the 'cuisine'. Students are also confronted with technologies and innovative ways of working, coming from elsewhere.
Each year, with 180 students from the hotel school of Avignon and Pierre Hermé, who works with me on this exciting project, we create dishes putting creativity forward. It is all about presenting an original 'cuisine', sharing our passion with the attendees and passing on our know-how to the students. Gastronomy is an art, of creation and pleasure. For each edition of the Forum, a theme is chosen to imagine the dishes. In 2009, we have chosen to work with basic products such as the butternut pumpkin, the sardine or the pigeon. As Pierre Hermé says, it is fundamental to 'innovate with basics'.

Christian Etienne


A new staging of the 'Salle du Conclave ' for interactive debates

This year, the speakers will be sitting at the center of the Salle du conclave (Conclave room) of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, shifting the core of the debates in order to facilitate the interventions. So that the 2010 edition of the Forum d'Avignon can be an privileged place for exchanges and in-depth reflections, your cooperation and participation are essential. Ahead of the Forum, the newsletters and the website constitute useful materials to actively
prepare the debates by providing points on the studies prepared by the consulting firms partners of the Forum, interviews of key players, internationals news...

For every study, a complete "webography" to explore the 2010 themes

The team and task forces of the Forum d'Avignon prepared an international "webography" of the 2010 edition topics. Discover in a few clicks information from the whole world, videos of the attendees, photos and news of the fields of culture, economy and the media related to the studies prepared upstream of the Forum. Further reading



The Forum d’Avignon on the Internet : 2009 studies and acts available online, videos, photos, press review, …
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