Ministry of Culture (France) : National Consultation on Arts and Cultural Education

29 November 2012. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
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The Ministry of Culture and Communication (France) launched in November 2012 a “National Consultation on Arts Education” to “enable all young people, in all territories, access to art and culture, from early childhood to university.”

I was one of 60 people selected in France to be interviewed as part of this commission.

All contributions, on which legislative proposals will be made, are online at the dedicated website.

Complete text of the contribution of Benoît Labourdette

Benoît Labourdette is producer, director, teacher, specialist of digital

The artistic and cultural education, and digital

The artistic and cultural education must take into account the digital. It is as obvious to say that, since we all swim, adults, youth, the elderly, in a world where our interpersonal and cultural exchanges now spend the majority of their scan. A simple phone conversation, any visit to a website, a photo, an email or a Facebook profile, downloaded or seen the movie, a little music in his headphones or radio, the beast turned TV movie .. . everything is digitalized, coded as 0 and 1 passed at high speed. This is our day.

Everyone can only agree on the importance of taking into account, in the field of education, digital. It also seems obvious. But dig a little: Why take into account the digital, what issues are we asking? And how is it done? Purchasing equipment for schools?

Since the 80s, an industrious culture of education offered at regular intervals, facilities in schools and places of public education. It was discovered these new modern tools, including providing access, because they were not part of everyday life. Today, the massive equipment numerical tables in classes, laptops “given” to the college, mobilize huge budgets and give politicians the good conscience of having treated the “digital” about. There is nothing.

We are in 2013. Everyone has a cell phone (7 billion devices on Earth). Everyone (but not quite, it’s an important distinction) uses the Internet in their daily lives. The massive production and transmission of texts, images and sounds (so-called “web 2.0”, ie web fed by the output of its users) part of new ways of living, of being in the world to the other. These interpersonal exchanges via digital are raised, encouraged, often run even these new industrialists who called Google, Facebook and others. Everything seems free. So where the huge revenues from these giant companies come from? They come from contextual advertising that accompanies all our exchanges, which are targeted by reading the contents of our emails, based on our search criteria, our actual places of interest, thanks to the geolocation of our phones, etc.. Why not? Of course, why not.

But an essential thing in our life has changed with digital, that education must take into account: all our exchanges, our own productions, became public. The private space is no longer, or almost. Google already knows what we are going, what we can think, even before we thought (we do everyday experience writing in our search engine). It does not carry the load against Google and Facebook, which are, above all, wonderful tools of appropriating the world and relationships. It is to the extent of new responsibilities, individual and collective, of everyone. In the past, to publish something (a text, a picture, a book, a newspaper, a movie, a television or radio) was reserved for professionals, trained for the responsibility of these businesses organized around systems conduct which were built in suitable higher education (schools of journalism, art, television, film, radio). Today, childhood and practice MMORPG (massively multiplayer), before the cell phone, the man produced gestures, texts, sounds, images, choices, which are public, shared operated by the new structures of the market economy.

We know how an image or a word passed too fast on his Facebook profile, can profoundly hamper someone’s life, sometimes for very long and very profound way. We all have many examples around us.

Exchanges in the digital field, in their diversity, is a new language, and especially great responsibilities (previously reserved for professionals from the communication), personal and collective. This is not because we use tools that has control, we are aware of the issues, consequences of our actions. No control anything, nobody knows. No more adults with their irrational fears that young people with their everyday adventures in these areas.

Why Digital in education?

Be more aware of what you are doing, geography, moving, these spaces in which we live. Why? To give the opportunity to build democracy there, freedom, a company simply (ie do not let it settle there a law of the jungle).

How? An artistic and cultural education adapted.

We must learn, even invent the grammar of these new languages, we practice a kind of oral compulsive, from all of us. How, even though these new languages ??have not rules, established codes? Again, nobody knows. Nobody can tell you, no one can still distinguish right from wrong in these spaces. So how? Propose creative practices, thus it is appropriate language. For example, we do not learn French reciting grammar or conjugation (it never worked ...), but writing a poem or short story, by appropriating the language to express to build and give something to the other, being framed, so to produce, independently, a generous act. Educate, not only impart knowledge, is to give that which educates space, autonomy within a defined framework, personal expression, its contribution to the world is to be listen to what it will produce, to enable him to appropriate, to endorse, actually, language and knowledge. For this to work, you must give full value to the productions and performed is crucial, and this rethinking, sometimes very deep, pedagogical devices.

Must implement “writing workshops” with digital in all its dimensions (filmmaking with mobile phone production sites and applications, graphics and musical productions, etc.). We need to provide different uses of our daily tools. Digital tools are exactly like the pen. It would, in our countries, the idea of ??someone distributing pens to children would be enough for them to learn to write ... because they already have pens. They use them for many things, but not necessarily to learn and appropriate language, which is indispensable to life. The educational function is to open different spaces, exceptional trainers, another use, creative, rational, constructive, pen. We must do the same for digital. Young people are already equipped (for the majority). What they do not have is the opening of spaces for expression framed so constructive with digital. The spaces of expression, it is precisely the field of art and culture.


We will need:

  1. Train teachers and facilitators to the implementation of the digital creative practices and support the development of curricula.
  2. Multiply external stakeholders in schools and public education.
  3. Speaking to audiences who are into digital “divide” because there are more than you think, even if it is a minority.
  4. Coordinate, at the national level, an enlightened thought of these actions.
  5. Take into account the diversity and quality of the field work that already exists to inspire and support it.

Composition of the steering committee of the board


  • Marie Desplechin, writer


  • Jerome Bouet, Inspector General of Cultural Affairs

Personalities from the world of culture, research and education:

  • Sylvain groud, choreographer
  • Marie-José Mondzain philosopher
  • Anne Barrere, a sociologist of education
  • Françoise Legendre, Director of Library, Le Havre
  • Marianne Alphant, historian and art critic, writer
  • Lucien Pietron, school principal, Metz


  • Nicole Belloubet, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Midi-Pyrénées, President
    Working Group ’academic success for all "dialogue for Rebuilding
    School of the Republic
  • Françoise Polnecq, Vice President of the General Council of the North
  • Vincent Eble, President of the General Council of Seine-et-Marne
  • Yves Fournel, Deputy Mayor of Lyon, President of the French Network of Educating Cities
  • Pascal Jaillet, deputy mayor of Cosne-sur-Loire

Representatives of the Ministries of :


  • François Marie, in charge of “artistic and cultural education” - Secretariat
  • Jacqueline Broll, Advisor “artistic and cultural education” Drac in Rhône-Alpes

National Education:

  • Jean-Yves Moirin, Inspector General of Education in the visual arts,
    Dean of “lessons and art education” group.
  • Agnes Pigler, delegated academic to cultural action of the Academy of Dijon


  • Catherine Lapoix, deputy director of youth policies in tandem with
    Elodie Without Grief, responsible for cultural practices desk territorial actions
    and interdepartmental

Higher Education:

  • Martine Laforgue, Deputy Head of the Department of Equal Opportunities
  • Emmanuel Hemery, head of school life, student and integration

The five thematic consultation

  • Develop and articulate the actions proposed to young people in their different life time.
  • Promote a territorial and partnership approach to arts and cultural education.
  • Take into account the diversity of youth access to art and culture methods.
  • Digital and new media: what role in the artistic and cultural education?
  • Better training actors.
Speaking of Benoît Labourdette (11/29/2012) - French speaking
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