Bridging - FIAF

A French-American dialogue on diversity and social inclusion in the arts sector

As part of the 10th year of its renowned festival celebrating contemporary arts, Crossing the Line, the French Institute Alliance Française of New York and the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations have come together to present Bridging: A French-American Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts. This initiative aims to explore the inequalities experienced by minority ethnic artists—on both sides of the Atlantic—in their professional practice.

The challenge

67 %
of the New York population are people of color

but only 35%
of the city's artistic and cultural community is from a diverse background

Even though the situation may be explained differently in France and the US, the relative lack of diversity in the arts is an issue faced by both countries. This insufficient openness to multiculturalism, which has proved resistant to the various attempts at democratization initiatives seen in both the public and private sphere, is evidence of a silent and sometimes unconscious discrimination. The Bridging project aims directly to contest this discrimination on the basis of the works and struggles of two renowned participants in the French arts scene.

Our ambition

Whether digital, inclusive, urban, or therapeutic, art is all around us now. However, it cannot be denied that on the academic front, its institutions are insufficiently inclusive of minority ethnic talent, despite the rich contributions made by the communities involved to both French and American society. By showcasing their choreographic work and bearing witness to their professional experience, Anne Nguyen and Rachid Ouramdane have opened up a critical transatlantic dialogue and raised questions about what it means “to be a French artist abroad.”

To fight for greater multiculturalism in the arts sector 

and, particularly in the performing arts, to ensure that both audiences and performers are more reflective of the generation from which they are drawn

To consider the mechanisms underlying cultural discrimination 

by looking at the practices that have evolved in France and the United States

To proactively raise awareness on the part of those involved, beyond a simple human realization

... targeting training institutions, producers, critics, directors of cultural institutions, and policy-makers

Our solutions

Talks

Testimonies of both artists and institutional representatives around their experiences and the responses to be developed

Cross-fertilization

A specific space for intercultural dialogue offered by the Crossing the Line festival

Performance

Choreographic performances that illustrate the real diversity that can flow from the mix of cultures

Results

3

French artists involved:
Anne Nguyen, dancer and choreographer
Rachid Ouramdane, Director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Grenoble
Faustin Linyekula, dancer and choreographer

5

performances
Graphic Cybers, by Anne Nguyen
Autarcie (…): a search for self-sufficiency, by Anne Nguyen
Tordre (wrought), by Rachid Ouramdane
In Search of Dinozord, and Festival of Dreams de Faustin Linyekula

“After several years of implementing programs in France attempting to promote what we call cultural diversity, we have to admit that these initiatives have not been sufficiently effective.”

Rachid Ouramdane
dancer and choreographer, director
the Centre Chorégraphique National de Grenoble

“We are incredibly proud to be involved in the Bridging initiative alongside the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, and are only at the start of what we hope will become a long-term commitment around these issues, as we devise some essential initiatives and shared responses in a durable and determined way.”

Lili Chopra
Vice-President and Artistic Director
FIAF

The way forward

  • Reinstitute the Bridging event for the 2017 Crossing the Line festival.
  • Continue to raise awareness among the artistic community in both France and the US about current challenges in respect of cultural diversity, by proposing a genuine social debate about the issues involved.
  • To prompt other institutions to invest in diversity issues, by encouraging them to create, for their part, programs that share the same objectives. 

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