“Arènes européennes de l’indépendance: cultural SMEs in Europe” took place on October 23 and 24, 2008, in Paris. The project, initiated by France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, was organized by Culturesfrance in partnership with Impala (a European association of independent music labels) as part of the European Cultural Season.
In an article written for the occasion, the Ministry of Culture and Communication stated “In the midst of the current digital revolution and the questioning of the copyright system, we must work with local authorities to defend cultural diversity through the actions of independent professionals in the music, book, and film sectors.”
According to the article, the two-day event included workshops geared towards “gauging the size of the challenge and making concrete suggestions.” The article further states that workshops, screenings, and concerts brought together several hundred cultural professionals form across Europe, including writers, composers, performance artists, producers, broadcasters, heads of very small, small, and medium-sized businesses, and others around the theme of cultural diversity.
On October 23, in her inaugural speech, French Minister of Culture and Communications Christine Albanel paid homage to “the essential role played by independent artists in our cultural life,” adding that “SMEs are not only pillars of cultural diversity, they are also engines of economic growth.” Minister Albanel continued by stating, “This event should tell us how we can make sure cultural SMEs have the tools they need to play their dual economic and creative roles.” In closing, Albanel stated that “for the last 18 months, the ministry has carried out two major transversal actions regarding all aspects of culture: the fight for a reduced VAT rate applicable to all cultural goods and services, and the fight against the pirating of work on digital networks.”
The full version of Minister Albanel’s speech is available (in French only) in the "Actualités" section the French Ministry of Culture and Communications website.