September 2011
Debates 2011: four debates, four studies. This month "cultural investment". Prepare the debates and discover exclusive interviews.

With in exclusivity for the fourth edition of the Forum:
  • Study 2011: Commiting and investing in culture: from intuition to decision
  • Interviews: Daniel and Florence Guerlain, Fondation Daniel et Florence Guerlain, Stéphane Mathelin-Moreau, Director, Neuflize OBC, Barthélémy Toguo, artist,   David Throsby, professor and Kjetil Thorsen, architect, Snøhetta.

Presentation of the 2011 study: Commiting and investing in culture: from intuition to decision

The Kurt Salmon study for the Forum d’Avignon is in the framework of the 2011 theme:"Investing in culture.” The previous studies of the consulting firm highlighted the strategies to invest in culture in the framework of cities and territories, and in 2010 the links with employment. Along the same lines, the 2011 study describes the mechanisms and decisions models related to an investment in a cultural project, in a broad sense.
This international study aims at identifying a “framework” for decision makers and the cultural, economic and qualitative criteria that prevail in a decision in favor of cultural investments, whether it is launched by public or private operators.
It relies on a fieldwork’s elements, gathered from public and private decision makers, project managers, artists, creators, who have been mobilized on projects and events (about 80 interviews)
It will be completed by:
- an econometric analysis to identify the financing leverage effect of cultural public spending on the increase of the GDP ; this study is currently being leaded by Tera Consultants on datas based on 21 countries, 47 territories and collected by Kurt Salmon for the 2009 and 2010 edition of the Forum d'Avignon.
- a survey on cultural investment complementing the Kurt Salmon study, which also relies on interviews and conducted by Charles Landry, in 6 cities: Lille, Bologna, Bilbao, Krakow, Liverpool and the Ruhr area.

Learning more about the 2011 studies of the Forum d'Avignon
Learning more about the 2011 edition of the Forum d'Avignon

The points of view

The Forum d’Avignon, in partnership with Kurt Salmon leads interviews to enhance the study that will be published in November 2011.

Daniel and Florence Guerlain, Fondation Daniel et Florence Guerlain

« Have some pleasure, open your eyes»
GuerlainHow did you become collectors of contemporary art? 
  « Self-taught », we have never studied art. Our passion was born from a mix of familial cultural attraction to art works and discovery of artists. David Webster was our “initiator” to contemporary art in New York. What drive us  is above all the meetings, relationships, links we are building with artists (purchasing of their works, support …).
Initially, we were just buyers, art lovers, but not necessarily collectors. The others called us “collectors”. Being collectors implies curiosity but also a sensitivity. This is a physical emotion, a kind of greed. The work serves as mediation between humans.
Other questions asked to Florence Guerlain: How has your decision to invest in contemporary art and your collection evolved? How do you pass on your passion? We often hear, regarding the financing of culture, about association between private and public funding. What are the links between your initiatives and the public sector? What guides you? What is your motivation?

Stéphane Mathelin-Moreau, director, Neuflize OBC

Mathelin - MoreauThe Neuflize OBC bank gets involved in the world of culture rather than only in the market of culture, that is to say, they opted for a transverse positioning developed with different initiatives. The aim is to support entrepreneurs, who are to become private clients of the bank. Neuflize OBC is a bank which is:
-    An economic actor: the first sponsor of French cinema (8 out of 10 films are funded by Neuflize OBC). Movies financing in France was an activity of the OBC bank before the merger with Neuflize. This activity is based on a niche where is positioned  Neuflize OBC. It currently holds 70% of the market share in this sector. It finances the catalogs of film companies, which are the main asset of these.
-    A banking and capital management for wealthy clients, mainly art lovers. Therefore, it is important for the bank to be present in the cultural world, that is why we patron and support professionals of this world ."We wanted to play on the unconscious of our clients to make them associate their banks with a cultural and intellectual dimension." Hence, clients can appropriate their bank
-    The bank has also created a foundation of photography 18-19 years ago. It is an element of social cohesion for the 1000 employees of the bank who award an annual prize for the best artist. The aim is to promote little-known contemporary artists.

Read the article online

Barthélémy Toguo, artist

toguoWhy did you decide to start a project or to invest in a cultural project?

I made the sad observation that the African classical sculpture is absent on the African continent, as the contemporary art, even though it is known outside of Africa and purchased by major western museums.

So I had the desire to create BANDJOUN STATION to exchange with the international and Africans artists and to preserve their creation on the continent. But BANDJOUN STATION is primarily a working and expression, where it is possible to meet with fellow artists from all over the world… Some of them will have the opportunity to stay in residence at the BANDJOUN STATION house and join the execution of works in situ, monumental pieces that require large place for their development and shaping.

BANDJOUN STATION is located in western Cameroon, near the town of Bafoussam. In this region, colonization had less negative effects on cultural practices than in Yaoundé and Douala where economic activity is concentrated due to the near coastal and port. In this hinterland, the cultural traditions of Bamiléké are still present, in the dances, the rituals, the carving masks. Many chiefdoms (BAFOUSSAM, BAFANG, BANDJA, BANDJOUN, BAHAM, BANGWA, FOTO…) have kept their power.

BANDJOUN STATION is also a place that welcomes those traditions: people are encouraged to take over this space, to organize parties related to their culture, after the funerals, for births, weddings. This also contributes to social cohesion.

Other questions asked toBarthélémy Toguo: In relation to what you have explained and to understand your decision “to invest” a cultural project, what are the criteria that influenced your choice? How did you take the decision to invest? What are the results?
David Throsby, professor, University Macquarie

ThrosbyWhat is the link between growth/economic performance and creativity?
It is becoming increasingly clear that creativity is a key resource in promoting innovation in the economy.  Creative ideas are an essential ingredient in both product and process innovation, and these sorts of innovation are the drivers of technological change which in turn fuels economic growth.  Thus a link between creativity and the economic performance of businesses and of whole economies is established.  The cultural industries have an important role to play in generating creative ideas.  If we imagine the cultural industries as a system with the creative arts at the centre, we can begin to understand how artists and arts organisations generate ideas that diffuse outwards through creative industries such as film, media, publishing, fashion and design, and contribute to innovation both in those creative industries and also in the wider economy.  Moreover creative workers who are trained in the core arts also move from there to apply their talents and skills in other industries that may be far removed from the cultural sector, such as manufacturing or financial services.  Any economy wishing to maximise its innovation potential should nurture its cultural sector, and in particular should ensure the health and sustainability of the core creative arts where new ideas originate and where creative people gain their skills and experience.

Other questions asked toDavid Throsby: What are the risk and success factors in cultural investment? Can we imagine cultural development without financial investment?
Read the article online

Kjetil Tredal Thorsen, architect, Snohetta

ThorsenCould you give us a definition of cultural investment?
For cultural projects as well of the other architectural projects, the notion of investment can vary depending on the different cycles of the project where, what matters at a moment will be able to change later. Every project fits in a planning triangle: the time factor, quality and money. Depending of the state of progress of a project, these three variables will occupy the first place and overcome with importance on the others. At the beginning of the project, quality leads the way, and then the time factor becomes decisive, before money which has priority in fine, when the budget is being consumed for the realization itself of the building. The time factor appears again at the end, at the finalization of the construction.
Hence, there is a sequence in every project which explains investment. The operational management of this succession conditioned the project’s success. Depending on this ambition and the goals of each project, several elements can overcome: the financial aspect in commercial projects; the time factor in several public buildings, for instance for the construction of a hospital where there are statutory deadlines; quality, which characterizes cultural projects.
All architectural projects include cultural elements, but it cannot be said that they all are cultural projects. Nevertheless, they all contribute to urban culture, each project reinforcing or modifying a specific cultural situation. A cultural project, to be qualified as so, must have a cultural purpose, for instance an opera, a concert hall, or even a stadium which hosts shows.
We also find in every architectural project an attention in durability, which can be social, cultural or economic. Relying on the importance given to one of the three element, we can proceed in a categorization of architectural projects and distinguish between public and private buildings for instance.

Other questions asked toKjetil Tredal Thorsen : Que signifie dans ce cas la dimension culturelle d’un projet architectural ? Pouvez-vous nous donner un exemple de vos réalisations illustrant cette approche ? Et comment a été prise la décision d’investir dans le SFMoMA ?
Read this article online


Always Further - San Sebastian, European Capital of Culture 2016: culture for peace
San sebastianSince 1985, two cities are chosen each year as European Capitals of Culture to illustrate the wealth and diversity of European cultures. They have to present different criteria: "Integrating a real European dimension, strengthening cooperation between countries and individuals belonging to the European Union and emphasizing the role of the city in training and the development of culture in Europe."
Read the article

Always Further - Les Rencontres “Baltic Sea region cultural actors: From trans-regional cooperation to European diffusion”
RencontresIn the framework of Tallinn2011, the city hosted from the 9th to the 12th of June Les Rencontres – an annual event organized by the association of European cities and regions for culture - after Pécs, Essen and Istanbul in 2010.
Read the article

Always Further - Dar Al-Ma’ Mûm, a promise to Moroccan art
Dar al ma'mun

Multidisciplinary center in the valley of Ourika near Marrakech, Dar Al-Ma 'Mum is a project designed “from the idea that culture is an agent of personal and social development". Read the article

Always Further - Ullens Center for Contemporary ArtUllens
Located in the heart of the 798 area - district of Beijing in vogue, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)  is a not-for-profit and  an independent art center, one of the first to be developed in China.
Read the article

Who is Barthélémy Toguo ?
B. Toguo"We all are in a permanent transit ... we go from a place to another with different means while taking with us, on these trips, our culture, which go to meet the other”
Cameroonian artist internationally well-known,  Barthélémy Toguo is an active advocate of cultural activity and preservation of art in Africa
Read the article

Always Further - A symbol of pride, a spark of innovation: the King Abdulaziz Center for Knowledge and Culture
Cultural centerOpened to the public in 2011, the King Abdulaziz Center for Knowledge and Culture aims at inspiring passion for creativity thanks to a cross-cultural engagement.
Arab culture is honored and considered as a powerful catalysis for crossing different culture and promote intellectual achievement. Indeed, as the website proclaims “Exposure to and appreciation of a wide variety of knowledge-based and cultural experiences is not a luxury, but a necessity for the members of any modern society.
Read the article

Always Further - The new library of Alexandria
AlexandrieThe center, designed by Snøhetta in 1995, opened to offer the various contents it has: millions of books, an Internet database of references, specialized libraries, museums, a scientific center … Constructed in the framework of a project between Egypt and the Unesco, the library was approximately built on the landmark of the antique library of Alexandria. It should gather around 5 millions of books.
Read the article

Always Further - Gorée, opportunities and dangers of a "showcase" island of Senegal
8Gorée Island is a rock and a sandbank, 18km² planted in the harbour of Dakar, which heaviness of the past is only matched by the contemporary cultural wealth. Memorial site before all, this UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity, is a part of the touristic trips promoted in Senegal by most of the tour operators, and it almost constantly hosts streams of visitors from all the continents.
Read the article

Who is Souleymane Cissé ?
CisséSouleymane Cisse, Malian filmmaker born in 1940, plays a major role in the recognition of African cinema on the international stage.
“We must create our own markets and be able to rely on a local audience.”
Faithful to the Forum d’Avignon since its origin, Souleymane Cisse participated in the 2010 edition “More accessibility, new usage in digital era: Culture for everyone?”. New technologies clearly favour the access to culture.
Read the article

Always further - After the revolution, the relieving of the Tunisian culture
TunisieOnly months after the Jasmine Revolution, free festivals start to reappear in Tunisia. The first one being “Doc a Tunis”, which took place in late April. It brought together a large audience, showing documentaries about the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolutions. As for the 2011 edition of the “Tunis Dance Festival”, it attracted fewer people, for there still remains the question of the public.
Read the article

Always further - Culture, a passion and an investment
PassionThe Admical, the organization which promotes private patronage, annually awards initiatives. In 2011, the jury awarded the Fondation Culture et Diversité created five years ago by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, also president of Fimalac. There is only one step from the love of culture, the patronage projects and the economic investment in relation with the intimate conscience of what can culture bring to the economy and the society, especially in terms of social cohesion and conviviality.
Read the article

Toujours plus loin - Festival Elektra / Montréal
ElektraThe Elektra festival of Montreal, an innovative platform for digital Art.
The spring of Montreal has beautiful nights in front of it. In early May, and for its 11th edition, the Elektra festival will highlight innovation in digital arts. Real platform for the diffusion and promotion of artists, the Elektra festival celebrates avant-garde experiments, sensational performances. Each year, amateurs and professionals, inhabitants and foreigners occupy the main electronic cultural places of Montreal.
Read the article

Always further-Architecture: Plan B: Designing In A Complex World by John Thackara elected the most influent architecture book of the year.
ThakaraJohn Thakara did a visionary book. The author correctly describes the dead end where stands the architects, conceptors and creatives in general in front of today's prerogratives. These latter are always more complex, changing always more fastly et it looks difficult for the architects to adapt constantly. John Thakara proposes us to descover the different possible orientations related to the development of the artistic jobs for the years to come.
Read the article

Always further – Metropolis
MétropoleThe ranking of international world cities (realized by Foreign Policy, A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs) analyzes and compares the outreach of 65 cities all over the world, taking into account their influence, their integration to the international markets, culture and innovation. New York City leads the ranking, just ahead of London, Tokyo and Paris…
Read the article

Always further – Seoul
SéoulConcealing social and economic development with attractiveness is the challenge of Seoul’s Mayor, Oh Se-hoon.  Wishing to make of the South Korean capital a determining center, he launched renovations as well as a process of embellishment of the city, which should increase the number of tourists and new businesses attracted to the city and ameliorate the living conditions of the residents.
Read the article

Always further-cultural strategy
FranceThe image of a territory constitutes an important vector of recognition, attractiveness and growth. In this perspective, it is interesting to notice that culture tops the list of the French assets and, according to the Economic and Social Advisory Board “if culture carries a disinterested message of cultural exchange, it should also be useful to the economic development of a country”
Read the article

Next newsletters - Prepare the debates with accurate witnesses :
  • Debates 2011: Intelelctual Property (mid september)
  • Debates 2011: Culture and connected screens (early October)
  • Debates 2011: Cultural referencing and prescription (mid October)

Convinced that culture requires a personal and collective investment ?  You want to debate on it ?
The Forum d'Avignon makes available
An international web watch on "CULTURE IS FUTURE", international exclusive studies, a monthly newsletter to prepare the debates, videos, interviews and key figures
And propose you to share your experiences and points of view on

Google +, Facebook and Twitter.

Your commentaries, contributions and proposals are crucial!


  The Forum d’Avignon on the Internet : 2009  and 2010 studies and acts available online, videos, photos, press review, …
• Stay informed on the website : follow up all the news
• Watch the videos on the website and on YouTube.
• Join the community of the Forum d'Avignon on Google +, Facebook and Twitter
• Contribute to the Wikipedia webpage
• The partners 2010 of the Forum d'Avignon  


For more information, contact us: