2017: Paris and Marseille

Beyond Cultural Conformity: Decentering Perspectives on French Cultural Policy in an Age of Cultural Diversity

May 28-June 6

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 national 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. 

Franck Bauchard
Director of the Arts Management Program



  • GERTY DAMBURY and KARIMA EL-KHARRAZE, Décoloniser Les Arts
  • PASCAL LE BRUN-CORDIER, Director of the Masters in Cultural Projects in Public Spaces at Sorbonne University, Artistic Director of Vertigo in VivoZAT founder
  • COLOCO, collaborative organization leading Place de la Nation cultural project Jardination
  • NATHALIE SULTAN, Former Director of Communications at Theatre du Rond Point, Festival d'Aveignon, Cite de L-immigration, Cultural Advisor Prime Minister Manuel Valls
  • INCREMENTA SELF, Exhibition by EMMANUELLE LAINÉAT BÉTON SALON, tour with coordinator Lucas Morin
  • MACVAL, tour of the exhibition Tous des sangs mê-lés, and discussion with director
  • THÉÂTRE DE CHAILLOT, performance of Fire by Constanza Macras
  • CENTQUATRE, performance of Mockumentary of a Contemporary Savior
  • LA GAÎTÉ LYRIQUE, host venue