There is no French Culture
“There is no French culture but culture in France”. This is not the last provocative assertion of a French Theory philosopher, but the statement of the newly elected President, Emmanuel Macron, during his campaign. Based on a universalist conception of culture, Exception culturelle has been the official doctrine of French cultural policy for some time now. In this perspective, French culture was culture tout court. Is the country now better prepared to acknowledge its cultural diversity and question its complex colonial history? Cultural identity is more and more an issue at the center of the French cultural debate, caught between its obsession with na-tional grandeur, belonging to the European Union, and former imperial history. The summer school is happening at a pivotal moment for French cultural policy. Our learning expedition will be focused on two connecting threads, with a zest of French dissent spirit: we will investigate how the art field is dealing with and representing cultural identity, and will experience a series of cultural projects based on urban development. These decentering perspectives will be balanced with a few tours of major national institutions, such as Bibliotheque Nationale de France and Comedie Francaise. These two streams will overlap in the symbolic Place de la Nation, where the city of Paris has called on artists to reimagine what cultural urbanity could be, based on cultural diversity.
Director of the Arts Management Program