2021 retrospective: the cultural sector in search of new worlds

Culture continues “, Assured the Minister of Culture on December 29, 2021, while France was facing an upsurge in the Covid-19 pandemic after several months of calm. ” We are in a process of anticipation to ensure that the Omicron variant does not overwhelm us and thus protect the world of culture “, She continued, relaunching support plans for the world of culture, including those for particularly affected sectors, such as cinema and performing arts.

However, 2021 had been a year of renewal for the cultural sector: resumption of cultural activities, return of major events dear to the French, such as festivals, exhibitions, cinemas, and – this is undoubtedly the most precious in everyone’s eyes – revitalization of the link with the public. Retrospective.

Cultural life takes on color

Since May 19, a new wind has been blowing through the world of culture. With the reopening of museums and monuments, theaters and cinemas, festivals and libraries and media libraries, the French can find the unparalleled offer offered by these cultural venues. And they do not deprive themselves of it, particularly in favor of visits to monuments and exhibitions, cinemas and concerts.

The major national events, organized by the Ministry of Culture, are also making a comeback, starting with the most emblematic of them, the Fête de la Musique, which celebrates the reunion between artists and their audience, and the Days European heritage. This is also the case of the Cultural Summer, whose first edition, launched during the health crisis, attracted great support. In 2021, the event, which positioned itself more clearly in the direction of social ties and solidarity, met with deserved success.

The world of culture is reinventing itself


This revival of a rich and varied cultural life, we owe it first of all to the inventiveness and creativity of the artists and structures, but also to the massive support provided to them by the State: sectoral aid and recovery plan. , which is deployed by supporting, throughout the territory, innovative cultural initiatives and projects, including those of the Maison de la Culture de Bourges, a bookstore in Laval, a cine-concert in La Roche-sur-Yon or the cathedral of Troyes.

Particularly affected by the health situation, certain sectors – festivals, photography – have chosen to bring together all the professionals around a single objective: to reinvent themselves. This was the case with the Estates General of festivals, which ended on December 1, resulting in the establishment of long-term support and two key charters on eco-responsibility and State commitments. This was also the case for the Parliament of Photography, which looked into the profound ” mutations From the world of photography.

Shuffle the Cards

Marco_Godinho, Untitled, Drpaeux transparents © Frac_Paca.jpg

Starting afresh from new bases is one of the major challenges facing the world of culture today. For that, you have to reshuffle the cards. This is the ambition of the “creation” component of the recovery plan. Called “New Worlds”, this program, which shakes up genres and borders, focuses on 264 original artistic projects which have received as their sole roadmap this slogan: re-enchant the world. A very promising initiative.

Reshuffling the cards also means mobilizing to reach new audiences: young people with the generalization of the Culture pass, schoolchildren with artistic and cultural education and the digital offer of the “History of the arts” portal, eager residents access to cultural riches with Micro-Folies or people with disabilities. A mobilization which also involves the various resources of research and innovation, giving rise to sometimes disruptive solutions, always surprising.

New solidarities between the territories


Reshuffling the cards means finally reinventing the relationships – and solidarities – between the territories. Emblematic example of this solidarity, the exceptional loan of the cycle of tapestries from the Lady and the Unicorn, an iconic masterpiece of medieval art, by the Musée national du Moyen Age, in Paris, at the Abattoirs, in Toulouse. Interest in overseas cultures has also been a strong focus of cultural policy, as highlighted in a series of studies documenting local cultural behavior. We find it in the organization of the Estates General of Multilingualism, which were held in Reunion, and in the support given to overseas creation.

The designation of Villeurbanne as the first “French capital of culture”, which was launched on January 7, 2022, will give new cultural impetus to this territory. Restoring the attractiveness of the centers of medium-sized towns is also one of the challenges of the “City heart action” program, which has been deployed since 2018.

Spotlight on books and reading


The bookstore – but also everything that covers the world of books and reading: libraries, publishing, mediation and of course authors – was at the heart of attention in 2021, where we celebrated the 40th anniversary of a law. which made a date in the cultural life of the country: that on the single price of the book. This system, adopted throughout the world by a large number of countries, is enjoying great vitality, as evidenced by the recent adoption of two bills.

A major national cause until June 2022, reading is given pride of place in particular through the exploration of new territories: disabled people, rural areas, people with disabilities, illiteracy, early childhood …. Special mention for young readers, including Jean-Claude Mourlevat, who received the 2021 Astrid-Lindgren Prize – the Nobel Prize for children’s literature – analyze the relationship they have with reading with its own relevance. Stripper!

The French-speaking area, which conceals significant development possibilities for the book economy, is also a real nugget in terms of lexical and human vitality – and diversity. This wealth, a unique initiative of its kind has brought it to light: the Dictionary of French speakers. Opening up to the language of the other is also the meaning of a fascinating initiative by the Ministry of Culture at the College de France where the great essayist Alberto Manguel takes us along the paths of the invention of Europe. .

The place of women in the world of culture


Impossible to end this retrospective without evoking a strong symbol that will have lastingly marked the year 2021: the entry into the Pantheon of Joséphine Baker. Through the solar personality of the artist, the Nation puts forward the brilliant revue dancer who panicked Paris of the Roaring Twenties, but also the woman committed to the service of free France who fought all her life against racism and all the forms of discrimination. A model claimed loud and clear by the young generations of artists, which has not finished enchanting us.

Like Joséphine Baker, the place of women in the world of culture is changing. As evidenced by the flowering of awards in film festivals (Palme d’Or in Cannes for Julie Ducournau and Lion d’Or in Venice for Audrey Diwan) and in the major literary prizes (Fémina prize to Clara Dupont-Monod, Médicis prize to Christine Angot and Renaudot Prize to Amélie Nothomb Special mention for the architect Anne Lacaton, laureate with her counterpart Jean-Philippe Vassal, of the 2021 edition of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, the equivalent of the Nobel for architecture. also an ambitious plan to fight against sexual and gender-based violence and harassment, the section of which devoted to live performance was presented by the Minister of Culture.

2021 was also the year of the Radio Festival, the return of WEFRAC, the open days of these original places that are the Regional Contemporary Art Funds, the Venice Architecture Biennale with Christophe Hutin who is to hear the voice of an alternative architecture, of the end of the year of comics, an exciting initiative that will have aroused multiple interests …

3 highlights of 2022

> the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union
> the France-Portugal year
> the 400th anniversary of the birth of Molière and the 100th anniversary of the death of Proust

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2021 retrospective: the cultural sector in search of new worlds