For twenty years now, places of culture and art, stemming from citizen artistic projects and based on an interaction with local communities, have grown more and more numerous all over the world.
“Artfactories” is an international resource platform, created in 2002 in order to represent and promote existing and emerging “projects/spaces”. These are defined as places of creativity, of production, of elaboration, of artistic cross-polinization, of experimentation, of invention, encounters, of conviviality, etc. Their main intention is to offer new steps and possibilities in the visions of contemporary creation towards community development.
Purpose of the Association
The Arfactories association aims to develop enabling environments for artistic “projects/spaces” stemming from citizen initiatives by providing resource tools that contribute to their development. By identifying these initiatives and defining the role of cultural and artistic projects in contemporary society at the local, regional, national and international levels, we aim to generate awareness and give voice to the arising best practices.
One of our underlining goals is discovering possibilities for effective collaboration.
The resource platform takes its origins from many fold experience of developing and coordinating similar cultural centres. (creation of such centres in France and coordination of emerging networks.... See biographies...)
Given the obvious and pinpointed development of these “projects-spaces” in Europe and across the world, Artfactories has decided to make available its competencies and resources acquired thanks to the different activities and projects over the last years. The purpose of this is to give to the emerging and existing teams ways to share their initiatives and to exchange thoughts and convictions that impact them in their everyday work.
To answer the numerous questions regarding the “projects-spaces” asked by the different cultural operators, artists, researchers, and decision makers, we have decided to establish in 2002 an international help desk “Artfactories” regarding the most important questions these places ask.
Fabrice Lextrait’s report: “Wastelands, laboratories, factories, squats, multidisciplinary projects etc.....:a new age of cultural action”, that was given in June 2001 to the French State Secretary for Cultural Heritage and Cultural Decentralisation of the Communication and Ministry of Culture Michel Duffour has made Artfactories even more persuaded about the necessity of setting up a dynamic project that can reflect the evolution and the realities of those places.
At the same time, the international encounters “The New Territories of Art” which have taken place at the “Friche la belle de Mai” in Marseilles, enabled the people to become aware of the necessity to build links between the state, territorial collectives, cultural institutions with project managers.
Artfactories is deeply linked with Autre(s)pARTs and can be considered as its reference resource centre. The Autre(s)pARTs association, created in September 2000, is a group of “Actors United for the Transformation, the Research and the Experimentation on relationships between Population, ART, Territory and Society”. This association created a space for mutual recognition and solidarity and is a space for political thinking and sharing of experiences. Therefore, Autre(s)pARTs is an interlocutor of all the representatives of public authorities and is willing to take part to the evolution of public policy for culture.
Nowadays, numerous cultural workers across the world are trying to implement such spaces, to develop such projects, and are asking for experiences, know how and support. So far, there was no existing tool that could help them to learn from each other, to be able to build new bridges and links of exchange and solidarity across borders, to favour new collaborations between different structures and to relate an ethic with common goals, giving force for artistic citizen visions.
These “spaces-projects”, located in their environment, their territory, their community, defend new artistic approaches of sharing with people and offer innovative ways of taking part in the local and sustainable cultural development by carrying and diffusing through artistic practices, towards education and involvement. These projects are also potential producers of a flux of artistic exchanges on a translational level.
Even though the projects were often marginal initiatives and there was a lack of means to begin with, they progress to be recognized today for their usefulness in the public sphere. These projects meet in an appropriate way vacant spaces generally located in urban fragile zones and in the periphery.
These places mobilise the innovation capacity of artists, cultural operators, and/or individuals who set up multiple competencies so as to combine creation, rehearsal, workshop spaces (workroom, rehearsal studios, etc.), public spaces (concert halls, galleries, etc.), as well as conviviality spaces (coffees, restaurants) where local population, audiences, and “users” , coming from diverse horizons meet.
Face to face with this reality, the need to create an availability of resources that can meet these expectations, accessible by all. By emphasising the value of the initiatives and the existence of these cultural spaces, creating recognition at national and international levels seems necessary to us so as to underline experiences that were so far little or not at all formalised, and sometimes even unknown.
In addition to regarding the diversity of these projects, of the regions and the geopolitical poles of actions, Art factories is promoting and accompanying projects and their diverse actions, while taking into account their singularity and their own realities. The thing here is not to impose work schemes or creation schemes, but instead to value and especially to preserve the singularity and the cultural and artistic richness connected with the spaces defended by Artfactories.
- Identify and give visibility to the phenomenon of creative citizens’ projects/spaces in Europe, as well as in other continents, while respecting their diversity and their uniqueness.
- Create possibilities for the projects to develop and to become sustainable: by encouraging exchanges of know how and competencies, by providing awareness about these experiences, ensuring the continuous flow of information.
- Encourage artistic exchanges through mediation.
- Put at disposal the tools and elements of analysis (texts, reports, evaluations, studies...) for the cultural operators and the public authorities.
- Emphasize the architectural value of these projects/spaces. The characteristics of these spaces (former factories, military barracks, warehouses... ) are suitable for creating open, flexible, vast, multi-purpose facilities that respond to the current needs of artistic creation.
- Call for a closer relationship between artists and the audiences, which goes beyond the simple “consuming attitude” of arts but fosters citizen involvement and community development.
- Highlight artistic projects stemming on citizen initiatives that are based in engaging with local populations. These artistic projects put into action other processes such as memory, education, training, solidarity, appropriation of artistic, cultural, social and political practices.
The Internet site www.artfactories.net:
Based on an growing database, this site offers:
- A directory of places whether they already exist are only projects.
- Practical tools to help setting them up and developing them.
- More qualitative data regarding the content of those projects.
- Thinking elements regarding the question of those new art territories.
The documentation centre at Mains d’Oeuvres:
- This space, set up in the offices of Mains d’OEuvres is open, on appointment, to the persons that want to access documents in paper, audio or video formats.
- Distribution of an electronic newsletter.
- Organisation of debates, trainings, studies, meetings on artistic projects...
- Taking part to seminars, workgroups...regarding the issue of those places.
- Convey resources towards project managers, policy makers, and institutions
- Stimulate solidarity and cultural and artistic cooperation actions between the projects.
The direction committee
The help, the support, and the expertise of the direction committee is of first importance in the coherent and adapted development of the site and of the general activities of the resources office. The direction committee is also the board of the association.
- Bring a dynamic and content to the Artfactories association.
- Bring its know how and thoughts.
- Validate the content of the site.
- Ensure the integrity of the project.
- A representative of Culture Commune (France) : Chantal Lamarre.
- A representative of Mains d’Œuvres (France) : Fazette Bordage
- A representative of Emmetrop (France) : Karine Noulette.
- A representative of the Friche La Belle de Mai (France) : Philippe Foulquié.
- A representative of the Artfactories Asia antenna (BizArt, China) : Davide Quadrio.
- A representative of the Artfactories Africa antenna (Ker Thiossane, Senegal): Marion Louisgrand
- A representative of Stanica (Slovakia): Marek Adamov
- A representative of K@2 (Latvia) : Carl Biosmark.
- A European expert in arts management (The Netherlands): Dragan Klaic.
The Committee Supervising the Resources Space
The committee’s members are partners (financial or not) who have to transmit useful pieces of information to the resources centre. The committee is a space for support, ideas and information exchanges.
This committee of supervision is articulated around the idea of cooperation, so that the resource centre can fulfil its mission. It unites itself around themes that were defined beforehand by the direction committee given the needs of the resources space.
- Representatives of European networks: TransEuropeHalles, Banlieues d’Europe...
- One representative of the network of the Centres of information and documentation in DRAC.
- A representative of the mission of the New territories of art.
- A representative of networks of places in Mediteranean areas / Middle Eastern.
- A sociologist.
- An architect.
- A lawyer.
- An economist.
- A journalist.
The Artfactories Antennas
The Artfactories antennas are located on the different continents of the world and are partners of the central resources office located in Saint-Ouen (France). Localised in places of culture, they are resource points on their respective continent. The representatives of each antenna are members of the direction committee, and as a consequence of the board.
Profiles of the Representatives:
- They originated a place of cultural, artistic and citizen initiative that still exists.
- They have links with other projects, other places on the continent throughout formal or informal networks.
- They share common interests regarding the place of art in society.
Missions of the Representatives:
- Collect and transmit information regarding the initiatives and their cultural, social, and political environment with the Artfactories resource centre
- Represent Arfactories in their region (for seminars, debates...).
- Greet and guide project managers in their region of action.
- Take part to the direction committee.
- Write for the Artfactories website (there is a possibility for proposing pieces of information for brief articles, as well as any kind of useful content for the site), knowing that the Artfactories office will or will not validate their proposals, regarding the relevance of the piece of information.