On June 3, 2008, French Minister of Culture and Communication Christine Albanel took part in a press conference held for the launch of the European cultural season at the Grand Palais in Paris. Also present were Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, Secretary of State in charge of European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Ambassador in charge of the cultural dimension of France’s presidency of the European Union Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, Culturesfrance Director Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, and Commissioner General of the European cultural season Laurent Burin des Roziers.
The press release by the Minister of Culture and Communication states that the European cultural season was organized to coincide with France’s presidency of the European Union. It will take place July 1 to December 31, 2008, across France and will give all 27 member states of the Union the opportunity to “share the richness and diversity of their culture and highlight the common ground that deeply unites all Europeans.”
Hundreds of events from a variety of disciplines including dance, theatre, classical and contemporary music, science, street performance, painting, sculpture, graphic design, architecture, photography, film, digital arts, and literature will be available to the public. According to the press release, twenty-six “tandem” projects bringing artists from France and each Union state together will “illustrate the dynamism and unity of European culture.” Major cultural institutions like Cinémathèque française, Transmusicales de Rennes, and Arc-en-Rêve in Bordeaux will provide an overview of the current state of each discipline in Europe.
The press release also states that series of 27 books, 27 films, 27 shows, 27 concerts, and 27 exhibitions will be organized to provide exceptional visibility for European productions in France during summer and fall 2008. Finally, major events will be held across Europe, including the Comédie-Française tour in ten new Member States and the lighting of the Grand-Place in Brussels by Yann Kersalé.
For more information, please consult the press release by France’s Minister of Culture and Communication. At the bottom of the press release, you will find hyperlinks to the speech given by Ms. Albanel at the Grand-Palais and to the European cultural season press kit and program.