Cultural cooperation covers five fields.
Priority is given to cultural and audiovisual industries, the digital economy (2013 Digital Action Plan), student mobility (in cooperation with the Campus France agency), academic cooperation, and the exchange of ideas. These broadly co-financed projects are undertaken with leading public- and private-sector partners. The creative industries offer France an opportunity to systematically address three of its component issues: the spread of French creativity, the promotion of our country’s expertise, and prospective opportunities for our cultural content companies to gain access to the Canadian market. With regard to academic cooperation, the most obvious instance of success is the expansion of DELF-DALF French language certification programs. This initiative is also focused along two lines: promoting French expertise and pedagogical ingenuity, and the training of teaching staff in Canadian academic institutions.
The creative and cultural sectors have been at the heart of our programming in Canada (excluding Quebec) since 2010. Our initiatives have focused on a number of domains combining economic perspectives and cultural promotion: audiovisual content/animation, architecture, design, digital/video games, and, to a lesser degree, books. Digital issues bring together all of the Embassy’s services (Cultural Service, Office for Science and Technology, regional Economic and Trade Office service, Ubifrance, IFA).
The digital action plan adopted for the 2013–2014 period in cooperation with Institut Français therefore aims to:
promote digital R&D exchanges between France and Canada with particular emphasis on culture and the arts and to encourage cross-fertilization between projects and actors;
create networks of multidisciplinary excellence that are also forward-looking, flexible, and reactive; and
support the emergence of the next generation of researchers and content creators.
This priority issue—the economy and cultural diversity in the digital age—has factored into our bilateral agenda on two occasions. In the first instance, it was outlined in the joint declaration published during Prime Minister Ayrault’s visit to Canada (March 2013): “Recognizing the objectives and guiding principles of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in connection with the dialogue among cultures, and knowing that the digital revolution is a source both of opportunities but also of challenges for the creative sector, Canada and France undertake to strengthen their collaboration in this field. This will be achieved by sharing expertise and information on digital innovation, including in relation to business practices and public policies connected with the transformation of methods for funding, creating, and accessing cultural and heritage contents in general, and French-language contents in particular.”
The reinforced cooperative program adopted during Prime Minister Harper’s visit to Paris (June 2013) predicts in particular that the two countries intend to “encourage expert-level dialogue, under the aegis of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, so that the creative and cultural sectors are able to benefit fully from digital innovation.”
1) Promotion of French expertise and French creativity:
This subject has led to a number of initiatives: representation at trade fairs, exchanges of expertise by means of high-profile meetings in Canada focused on such subjects as new writing, transmedia, and coproductions; the implementation of digital and creative residence programs within research centres and universities; and content transmission projects in such creative industries as design and architecture.
2) Development of appropriate digital tools in conjunction with local and international operators to improve their impact on the Internet:
The Focus on French Animation platform, created in cooperation with our Canadian partners, included some more traditional projects: screenings at festivals, animated film series organized through cultural organizations and universities, and workshops with creators.
3) Promotion of post-secondary exchanges:
CampusFrance thematic post-secondary missions in the fields of animation (Supinfocom, Gobelins), architecture (Institut d’urbanisme de Lyon), and digital studies/video games (ENJMIN, Institut de l’Economie Numérique, Magelis cluster).
4) Creation of an environment for bilateral exchanges bringing together public- and private-sector actors to discuss issues related to the digital revolution:
Franco-Canadian forum on cultural content issues in the digital age, Ottawa, November 14–16, 2012, with involvement from public actors (CSA, ministries, competitiveness clusters) and companies (Bell, Quebecor, Vivendi, Telus, Noomiz, etc.).
Joint Franco-Canadian meetings on digital publishing, University of Toronto/York University, November 22–23, 2012.
“Digital Connections: A France-Canada Platform for Collaboration in the Digital Media” seminar, with a delegation led by Cap Digital, Vancouver, October 25–27, 2012.
Forum 2 on the subject of the attractiveness of talent and of digital training (June 4, 2013, i-Canada, Toronto).
the “Facing the Realities of New Media Production” seminar (June 6, 2013, Canadian Film Institute).
Creator/publisher meetings on transmedia projects, webseries, and video games for mobile platforms (Banff Media Festival and Merging Media Conference) in Vancouver in June and October 2013.
This series of meetings will allow participants to discuss forward-looking subjects in which France and Canada excel: education and training of talented individuals, innovative economic models, regulation of the Internet, and new incubators for creation and innovation (cross- and transmedia, animation).