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The theme of the fifth edition of The Forum d’Avignon, was neither provocative nor thoughtless at a time of budget shortages. Exchanges between its 450 participants from 43 countries representing the worlds of culture, the economy and the media, who gathered from November 15 in Avignon, acted as a link. A number of views for a way out of the crisis were considered. The opening message of the Forum d’Avignon 2012 from French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti set the tone. “Culture must be placed at the heart of economic recovery and the recovery of our country. It is essential to give meaning to political culture …. Culture is a French passion and a way to fight against the centrifugal forces of the crisis, because without sharing, without exchange, without dialogue, there is no culture, any more than there can be commerce. There will be no recovery without creative recovery.”


To support her argument, ‘for the relegitimation of the role of the state in culture ‘, the minister made several major announcements including the launch of a joint mission between the General Inspectorate of Cultural Affairs (IGAC) and the General Inspectorate of Finances (IGF) in France looking at the impact of the French cultural economy, the drafting of a framework law dealing with creation, support for funding for cultural companies, JEI (young innovative company) status for video game developers, and support for patronage that should not be considered as a palliative but as civic engagement. Echoing the commitment of the Minister, the Forum d’Avignon, after three days of often passionate debate called for the political and business worlds and civil society to take responsibility for culture. Culture is itself a form of hope. It is aimed at what is best in people, their humanity.

It is a bulwark against fanaticism, which has become reborn around the planet ,especially along the shores of the Mediterranean, and it can can give meaning and depth to the future of our societies. Like the biosphere and biodiversity, cultural diversity is a heritage that we must protect, nurture and transmit to future generations, said Professor David Throsby of Macquarie University, Australia, at the Forum. Cultural diversity helps support the rights of women , and motivates companies to assume their social function. The call of the Forum d’Avignon is directed at both the United Nations and the extension of its agenda, the Millennium Development Goals, as well as European institutions. It is time to integrate cultural diversity as a stakeholder sustainable development and a crucible of freedom and peace. The creative potential of digital generations provides a chance.

However as Elie Barnavi, Nabil Ayouch, and Sana Ghenima, told the Forum, creativity is not the same as creation and all creation is not culture. Integrating creators in ways of thinking and production can overcome technological and societal challenges and maintain the pace of change, as the Forum d’Avignon study by Ernst & Young notes. We must encourage designers and artists in their sometimes disturbing innovations, which announce tomorrow’s solutions, while preserving their capacity to resist quick fixes.


The Forum d’Avignon called on individual investors and groups, public and private, to fund creators and cultural and creative industries. Their dynamism is essential to motivate companies and services.Cultural and productive investments should not be opposed, but considered to create value, employment and social cohesion. Business leaders present at the Forum d’Avignon all responded to the calls of Stéphane Richard Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, Rick Cotton, Kohei Nishiyama and Axel Dauchez. Culture should be at the heart of the European project. The project, mired in national reluctance, and short-term economic and social, views no longer dreams of Stymme, Secretary of State of the Swedish Ministry of Culture, there is no cultural diversity without regulation. The national and European political authorities must youth or civil society. The enchantment of culture opens a fertile dynamic. But, as argued Didier Reynders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, and Joakim take responsibility with decisions likely to develop a creative and pluralistic economy.

The Forum d’Avignon called on European policymakers to recapture the spirit of its founders by placing culture at the heart of a European collaborative project. Europe must, for example, revive the mobility of its citizens and the decisive dynamic cohesion of the people who constitute it. This was the brilliant intuition of the founding fathers of Europe that first facilitated exchanges between young people, students and researchers. During these three days of exchanges punctuated by beautiful and moving artistic performances by Renaud Capuçon, Fabrice di Falco and Captain Alexander, Etienne de Crecy, Tishani Doshi and Markus Schmidt, many hopes for the future of culture were nourished.

The Forum d’Avignon thanks all participants for their generous contributions, the quality of their listening and scope of collective work for the future. The path ahead has been drawn and it now remains for creators, cultural entrepreneurs and civil society to add colours and reliefs.

About the Author

Laure Kaltenbach

Laure Kaltenbach

Director General of the Forum d'Avignon, space for international dialogue between the actors of culture, economy and media (in 2010).   Former head of the office of economic evaluations and inf...