Open letter to DGS about arts and culture

Open letter to DGS about arts and culture

This contribution was published in the Gazette of Commons February 8, 2016.

"Madam Director General Director general services,

Your work – albeit exhilarating because square in the heart of the life of our fellow citizens – is one of the most difficult that is. especially in the present moment, marked by unpublished institutional reconfigurations and a difficult budgetary context.

Of our trade, it follows that you are wondering on the place given to culture in the policy of your community, in terms of means of operation and investment, but especially of vision and projects.

Of legitimate questions

The issues that occupy you include these:

  • How to optimize the cultural expenditure within your territorial development strategy?
  • How to expand public of culture?
  • How to better deploy its potential for the benefit of the inhabitants of the territory?
  • How to create new resources in respect of the public service?
  • Are there alternative models of funding (patronage, crowdfunding, valuation of intangible assets…)?
  • How to ensure that plant lighthouses are actually structuring for the territory?
  • How to strengthen the links of the cultural sector with that of the creative industries?
  • Finally, beyond the festive and event culture to ensure both a strong attendance, and a significant media impact, how best to ensure the daily tasks of your cultural facilities in a difficult financial environment?

Culture, a sector that reported?

You read that culture "reported".  This document shows that the economic impact of the Opéra de Lyon is major. Such study – proposed by a large consulting firm – proves with force graphics in color and other "benchmark" international that you can compete with the attractiveness of the most important world metropolises. Finally, research certify that culture weighs more economically than from major industrial sectors such as automotive.

But you do not clearly perceive so far how the activity of cultural institutions of your territory will be able to compensate for the closure of a factory which employed hitherto tens, or even hundreds of people?

You are also wondering about what you perceive the role of culture in your community. and what funding of the Conservatory, library, cultural centre or the Museum competes with pressing needs in education, health and social, urbanism, housing or transportation.

And despite your desire to preserve the means of cultural facilities in the community, you're sometimes tempted by discouragement.

The role of principals

Indeed, while you consider managers of cultural institutions as department heads called upon to pronounce on all the axes of public policy, the latter retreated frequently on their field of activity and do not always fully participate in the definition of the project territorial in all its dimensions.

While you expect that those same heads of service appropriate strategy for your community, you can see that they sometimes struggle to define a credible and ambitious development project.

While you are looking to improve the efficiency of the public administration, you regret the lack of familiarity with the directors and the directors of your cultural facilities with management tools; whether it be project management, animation team, strategic approach, fundraising, of control, of evaluation, promotion or even marketing.

The choice of a Director or a Director of cultural equipment the rest takes on a special meaning in this context.

But you agree that most important is to select – on the basis of his career, his experience and his artistic or cultural project – the most recognized person in his field, in other words, a specialist.

Because being a good Manager, do you see, not enough; This is only a necessary condition to occupy positions of responsibility in the public sector. But once this point acquired, the best choice that can make the community is probably that of a personality recognized in his field (music, theatre, dance, Museum, library, archives, heritage, scientific and technical culture,…) and having demonstrated, moreover, his leadership qualities.

This (tte) specialist will of course be able to be assisted by an administrative team and management for certain aspects of his mission (personnel management, budgetary procedure, drafting contracts, new technologies, procurement, etc.).
But you did experience that nobody can replace its ability to define an artistic project unique, exciting and motivating; and the possibility that he or she will have to share to all stakeholders: elected officials, associations, staff, partners and patrons.


What integration in the project of the territory?

While your territory is rich of diverse associative life, multiple artists and companies, as well as many practices as an amateur, you regret that public cultural facilities them shyly open their doors; the most obvious sign being the Annual closing of the cultural centre or the Scène Conventionnée from July to September, resulting in an asset of the public means for several months of the year.

Finally, you has no fumble if groups of people well placed with politicians are ready to mobilize in the event of infringement of the integrity of the resources allocated to the culture, the data available to you – same parcel – indicate that your cultural facilities are far from touching all the inhabitants of the territory, even though the latter participate in their funding.

However, in a period of budgetary scarcity, your concerns are naturally on the optimization of the human, technical and financial resources existing.

In this context, it does not seem you interest you investigate the pooling of resources, the sharing of certain actions, as well as on the development of partnerships and cooperation that would preserve – free or even consolidate – projects of the public in the field of arts and culture.

Your Director or Director of Cultural Affairs brings you in this respect invaluable by the impulse and coordination role that he or she performs, as well as his in-depth knowledge of all of the cultural actors of the territory.

But you know that single branch services – direct relationship with elected officials – has a global vision for culture to fully play its role in relation to the other axes of your community policy.

How to act concretely?

Therefore, you wonder how culture can act even more in the sense of the public interest and development in your territory.

Here, then, as a result of our discussions, some elements of reflection we propose to outline in this regard.

  1. First point, it should be to fully integrate the cultural policy in all of the axes of territorial public policy, in terms of educational, urban, social, tourist, economic and image. It comes here to 'decompartmentalise' culture, to mobilize its human and technical resources for the benefit of educational projects, social cohesion or the attractiveness of the territory.
  2. Second point, it seems helpful to formalize the strategic project of each of the public cultural institutions of the territory ensuring on the one hand by its relevance; and, on the other hand, its perfect integration in the project of the community in relation to private initiatives (citizens, associative or entrepreneurial).
  3. Third point, it may be necessary to accompany managers of equipment in terms of assistance, method and training to help build their strategic project, specify their choice of development and restructure their actions, where appropriate.

If these three points are earned, you can then have a global vision of the role of arts and culture in your territory and its potential contribution to the implementation of the project in your community.

And this more so that each will know precisely the role it can play in the achievement of the objectives of public policy and will be useful to refer to the criteria which will regularly assess the fruit of his efforts; whether it is the artistic radiation of the democratisation of access to culture, the growth of cultural tourism and improving the image of your territory.

If this is indeed the case, you know that the place of culture will be certainly recognized and respected by all."

Your reactions are welcome.


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