Cultural rights

The “cultural rights”, which derive from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are a concept developed and defended by researchers, sociologists, philosophers, political leaders and actors of the cultural world. Present in a certain number of articles of law since 2001, the cultural rights aim at highlighting and formalizing, in order to be able to make them operative, the principles of a “cultural democracy”. To summarize it quickly, it is a question of each person being able to give value to his or her personal culture, in order to be able to exercise his or her citizenship: to express himself or herself, to defend his or her point of view, to create, to develop his or her practices, to have access to a cultural diversity, etc. Cultural rights operate in a much wider field than that of the strict cultural sector.

The notion of “cultural rights” is present in France in the laws NOTRe (2015) and LCAP (2016). It is carried by a delegation of the Ministry of Culture (General Delegation for transmission, territories, since January 1, 2021).

Paradoxically, cultural rights are difficult to implement in the cultural sector, which is traditionally rather attached to “cultural democratization”: one often defends the idea of the transmission to the public of works of art of the best possible quality, according to a principle of hierarchy of “cultural values”. Thus, the cultural rights can be lived by certain professionals of the culture as a dangerous dynamics for the Art, a tendency towards the amateur practices, which is not the case.

In my point of view, which is that of a practitioner/researcher in the cultural field, cultural rights are above all a practice, an exercise of democracy in the very methods of organization of the work, of the relation to the other and of the place of each one, the choices of programming, the methods of mediation and animation of workshops, the mode of territorial inscription of the cultural policy, etc.

I propose in this section concrete working methods for good practices of implementation of cultural rights, based on my field experiences, as well as a sharing of more theoretical reflections, in the framework of my own research on cultural rights.

I place myself in the filiation of thinkers like John Dewey. But cultural rights cannot be presented without mentioning Patrice Meyer-Bisch, Jean-Michel Lucas, Christelle Blouët, the “Fribourg Declaration”, etc.

Working method

How to set in motion an approach open to cultural rights, that is to say, to put more democracy in the projects and the relationship with the public? A good way to start is to analyze your project according to the 8 cultural rights proposed by (...)

Sharing my interest in an inspiring personality.

The notion of “cultural rights” is increasingly present in the debates within the cultural sector. They are seen by many as being at the heart of the issues and processes of change in the field of culture. But they are controversial, their very (...)

Interview of Benoît Labourdette by Jean-Yves de Lépinay (11’37s, 2020).

Sharing examples of audiovisual creation workshops conducted in the spirit of cultural rights: moving from “participation” to “interaction.”This trust we choose to put in others is a risk we take, it changes us. We take the risk of being able to (...)

Interview with Benoît Labourdette (4’39s, 2020).

Video presentation of Benoît Labourdette’s approach to the democratic dimension of cultural action.