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Since 2014, a reform of the national school curriculum introduced more extracurricular activities, including cultural activities.


In 2014 a first Regional Cultural Council was set up in Brittany to trial the project of transferring some of the competences from the DRAC to the regional authorities.

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France/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and other ministries

Ministries other than the Ministry of Culture and Communication participate directly in public cultural development: Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism for instance. A wide range of cultural projects are undertaken by these ministries in the fields of training in the arts; conservation of specialised libraries, national museums, monuments and the historical archives of ministries; and cultural initiatives in specific contexts (jails, hospitals) or abroad. These actions are based on many inter-ministerial agreement protocols that are frequently updated. The protocols can be declined in regional agreement protocols between the DRAC and the other ministerial decentralised body that is involved: Regional Directorates for Health and Social Affairs, Education and Research Regional Directorate (rectorats d'académie), etc.

The Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture have long been used to collaborating: joint definition of the contents and programmes of cultural and artistic teaching and training, joint financing of cultural actions (cultural classes or activities for pupils), annual plan covering art and culture in schools, such as the Lang-Tasca Plan in 2000-2005 (see chapter 8.3). A High Council, the Haut Conseil de l'éducation artistique et culturelle, created in 2005, is co-chaired by the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Education. The objectives of this advisory board are, in particular, to foster digital practices (in terms of access to knowledge, social cohesion through culture and the arts, cultural diversity, cooperative policies with territorial authorities, amateur artistic practices), to promote the Europe of cultures especially for youth, and to support special education services for disabled people. Since 2014, a reform of the school curriculum introduced more extracurricular activities, including cultural activities.

The draft agreement signed in 2001 between the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Youth asserts "the common investment of the two ministries in favour of governmental support for arts activities, [and their engagement to] harmoniously develop educational projects that bring art and culture to children and young people", especially within the framework of popular education schemes and the national network of the Centres of Youth and Culture (Maisons des jeunes et de la culture, MJC) (see chapter 8.4.2).

The Ministry of Culture is the natural partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of its main executive body for French cultural policy abroad, the French Institute (Institut français) (cf.  chapter 3.4). Four representatives of the Ministry of Culture sit on the board of directors of the French Institute, and five representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (two representatives of the Ministry of Education, and one of the Ministry of Higher Education, also sit on this board). The collaboration is diverse and concerns for example the organisation of cultural years or seasons, which honour and promote everywhere in France, the culture of a foreign country: Croatia in 2012, South Africa in 2013 for example (see chapter 3.4.3).

In 1997, the Ministry of Culture co-signed, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement (Convention France-UNESCO, CFU), which allows France to give UNESCO and its members technical and financial support. Over the last 15 years around 100 projects have operated in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Depuis une vingtaine d'années des conventions sont signées entre le ministère de la Culture et de l'Agriculture pour l'éducation socioculturelle dans les établissements de l'enseignement agricole. La convention «Alimentation, Agri-Culture», signée en 2011, met l'accent sur la valorisation et la transmission du patrimoine gastronomique et des traditions culinaires de France. Des conventions ont été signées avec les ministères chargés du Tourisme, de la Santé (pour la culture à l'hôpital) de la Justice (le développement culturel en milieu carcéral), ou encore avec le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (accord-cadre 2012-2015 pour mener une politique concertée dans des domaines de recherche communs).

From about 20 years the Ministries of Culture and Agriculture have developed agreements for socio-cultural education in agricultural schools and institutes. The agreement Alimentation, Agri-Culture signed in 2011 promotes the transmission of gastronomic heritage and traditions. An agreement 2012-2015 with the National Centre for Scientific Research aims at cooperation in shared research fields.

Co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and territorial authorities

The Ministry of Culture and Communication controls and supervises certain cultural activities of the local and regional authorities: conservation of archives, scientific and technical inspection of museums and libraries, and the pedagogic inspection of cultural and arts training institutions (music schools, art colleges and academies…). At the same time, territorial authorities have great freedom to implement their cultural policies, within the laws of the decentralised Republic, and they exercise no supervision or hierarchy between themselves.

The national cultural policy involves a joint, cooperative and co-funded action between the State and territorial authorities: agreements on theatrical decentralisation at the end of the 1940s, co-management by the State and cities of the Maisons de la Culture ("Houses of Culture") in the 1960s, cultural development charters and agreements in the 1970s and 1980s in order to achieve a well-balanced distribution of the cultural offer on territories and to facilitate audience access to culture. More than 1200 agreements were signed with around 600 authorities in the 1980s.

Specific cooperative measures and devices were set up: two funds – the Regional Funds for Museum Acquisition (Fonds régionaux d'acquisition des musées, FRAM) and the Regional Funds for Library Acquisition (Fonds régionaux d'acquisition des bibliothèques, FRAB), are supported on an equal basis by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the regions. These funds are intended for the acquisition of art works and the enlargement of the collections of museums and libraries under the control of local and regional authorities. In the 1980s, the Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain (FRAC) was established along the same lines to assemble contemporary art collections in each region and to carry out awareness-raising and dissemination activities in the sphere of contemporary art. Some FRAC developed a peculiar identity and became the main poles for contemporary art in a region, such as in Picardie or Pays-de-Loire. Other specific cooperative agreements and contracts between the Ministry of Culture and the local and regional authorities include:

  • "cultural development agreements" – which have the broadest scope – support the definition and implementation of local cultural projects;
  • "villes d'art" and "villes et pays d'art et d'histoire" agreements that cover cultural tourism and promotion of heritage;
  • agreements on the heritage inventory and ethnology of a particular place; and
  • "ville-architecture", "ville-lecture" (books), "ville-cinéma" agreements that support cultural development in the covered fields.

In 2015, in a context of budget austerity, the Ministry proposed to territorial authorities to agree on “cultural pacts”, in which the State commits to maintain its level of cultural financing to a territorial authority as long as this authority commits to do the same regarding its own cultural budget. Around forty “cultural pacts” has been signed.

The Council of Territorial Authorities for Cultural Development (Conseil des collectivités territoriales pour le développement culturel, CCTDC) was set up in 1999, to formulate "views and propositions on any question of territorial cultural development, within the framework of the partnerships between the Ministry of Culture and territorial authorities" (art. 2 of the Ministerial Decree of October 7th 1999). Although this Council has been relatively inactive for periods, the Ministry has decided since 2012 to reactivate its activity, in particular in the context of territorial reform that could announce a new step in cultural decentralisation. In 2014 the Ministry of Culture and Region Brittany signed an agreement to allow a broader capacity to the Region in the fields of book, cinema and broadcasting policies. Besides, Corsica, which holds a particular and derogatory regional status, has a specific capacity since 2002 in the fields of culture and communication (cultural policy, development of Corsican language and culture).

There are also broader partnerships and contractual frameworks (not specifically cultural) involving the State departments and the local and regional authorities, such as the State-region project contracts (contrats de projets État-région) and the urban policy contracts. The State-region project contracts define the priorities for joint investment over a period of 7 years, and are aimed at the economic, social and cultural development of the regions. The urban policy contracts (contrats de ville, contrats urbains de cohésion sociale, quartiers prioritaires)define an overall group of joint initiatives between the different ministries and municipal councils that encounter economic, social or urban problems. The Ministry in charge of cities and urban planning conducts them, with the assistance of an interministerial committee for the cities. These regional and urban contracts frequently include cultural strands covering, for example, art teaching, vocational training, and regional cultural development and cultural infrastructure planning. The operational programmes that organise the distribution of structural funds from the regional policy of the European Union also constitute cooperation frameworks between State and territorial authorities, which allow the financing of cultural activities and projects.

Thus, various State and sub-State actors engage in partnerships to co-fund and jointly support numerous cultural institutions, initiatives and facilities that are distributed on the whole territory, like for instance: regional or departmental associations for the development of music and choreography (and occasionally drama); music and dance institutes and teacher training centres; contemporary arts centres; cultural exchange centres; national theatres; regional opera houses and orchestras; regional agencies for books and literature; heritage restoration centres; festivals…. Many of these institutions benefit from a State branding label and / or are part of a national network. The level of commitment of the different public actors varies according to the nature of each structure and can also vary between structures of a similar type.

Moreover, even if the "partnership offer" was first a State initiative, the State is no longer the only "supplier" of partnership. The cooperative and agreement-based partnership has become a widespread policy procedure. Since 1999, the laws on inter-communal cooperation and territorial planning and development (dated 25 June 1999 and 12 July 1999) led to the creation of new "Public Inter-communal Cooperation Institutions" (Établissements Publics de Coopération Intercommunale, EPCI) – commonly known as "intercommunalities" – that constitute new local bodies that can conduct a cultural policy that supplements and improves the cultural offer of the municipalities / communes. Therefore, an inter-communal cultural policy progressively emerged in certain domains: public reading and libraries, artistic teaching, and performing arts for instance.

Regions, départements, communes and inter-communalities also cooperate among themselves in some frameworks, devices and themes: for instance, territorial cultural projects in region Midi-Pyrénées (projets culturels de territoire), sustainable development contracts (contrats de développement durable) and XXe Century Memory programme (Mémoire du XXe) in the region Rhône-Alpes.

In 2002, the creation of the status of Cooperative Cultural Public Institution (Établissement public de coopération culturelle, EPCC) gave recognition to the system of multi-level cooperative and agreement-based governance that characterises public cultural policy in France. This status facilitates the association of different territorial authorities, and also the State bodies, to jointly finance and manage important cultural institutions. Around 40 EPCC have been created in 10 years: for instance, the "House of Culture" in Grenoble, Opera of Rouen-Haute Normandie, Giverny Museum of Impressionism, International Centre of Comics and Images in Angoulême, Abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe and Frescos Valley, and the National Centre of Costume and Scenography. A National Committee of Liaison of the EPCC was set up in 2004 and, in 2007, was provided with a special cooperation fund, in order to foster the exchange good practices between these institutions and to favour the emergence of new modes of governance and public intervention for cultural development (see chapter 9.2).

Moreover, in the context of territorial reform and budget austerity, the Statistics Department (DEPS) of the Ministry of Culture realised a research report on mutualisation and cooperative practices between cultural institutions:

Chapter published: 08-05-2017

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