The program is ambitious. Monday, December 4, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, unveiled a new project to the press, supposed to diversify the appointments of future leaders of cultural establishments. Titled ” Succession », it is launched in partnership with Sciences Po and the Les Détermés association, which has been developing entrepreneurship in the suburbs and rural areas since 2015.
101 people, one per department, will constitute a new pool intended to take the lead in cultural establishments labeled by the ministry – national or current music scenes, art centers, circus centers, Regional Contemporary Art Funds (Frac), centers national street arts and public space -, by the end of the program planned for 2026. Candidates will benefit from a “ formation continue » at Sciences Po, including 300 hours of courses over 18 months, as well as “ professional immersions and personalized mentoring » within cultural establishments.
The courses will take place half face-to-face and half remotely. The travel costs of overseas candidates will be covered by the program, which currently has a budget of one million euros. If the raison d’être of La Relève seems justified, namely to avoid the cultural milieu and provide more diversity of profiles, the way of achieving this raises many questions. Starting with the absence of certain players in the sector, such as Le Syndeac, a professional union, which was not invited to the discussions or to the presentation of the program, and which explains having discovered the details of the project in the press the same day .
► How will the 101 potential future directors be chosen?
The criteria could be summarized in two fairly broad conditions: being between 25 and 40 years old, and above all having “ passion for culture “. No call for applications will be launched, the selection first goes through the intermediary of the association Les Détermés which will be responsible for unearthing “talent”, sometimes “ in the blind spots of the devices », according to its president Moussa Camara. Mentors will also be able to identify candidates, former or current stage directors becoming headhunters for the occasion. The stated objective is to find atypical profiles, outside the usual recruitment channels.
Also numbering 101, these “elders” will be responsible for supporting a candidate in the program. Like Francesca Poloniato-Maugein, director of the national scene of Marseille, The Zeflocated in the northern districts of Marseille, already invested in its new role: “ I will make sure to give all my knowledge to my mentee and vice versa, he or she will also be able to bring me a lot “, she rejoices.
Rémi Sabau, director of the Nouveau Relax in Chaumont in Haute-Marne, a “soon to be approved” stage, and Sarah Koné, conductor, founding director of the Maîtrise populaire de l’Opéra-Comique and deputy director of the Philharmonie de Paris, are also on the – still unofficial – list of mentors. The first explains his desire to explore “ new ways of leading ”, the second speaks of mentoring as a “ career accelerator ».
► Why did you launch such a program?
This unusual recruitment strategy is based on an observation by the minister when she took office in May 2022. If the cultural sector has opened up socially in recent years, in particular with the first appointments of women at the head of prestigious institutions such as the Château de Fontainebleau or the Louvre, “ the pool is more limited when it comes to appointments to management positions” more modest establishments, explained the minister.
On the small stage set up in the marshals’ living room, Rima Abdul Malak even mentions a “ vocation crisis “, evoking ” people who no longer want to lead after a mandate, and people who are completely capable but who do not apply “. However, if the director of Zef has noted for several years that it is “ increasingly difficult to recruit people », she tempers the idea of a crisis. “ There is no shortage either, we are still receiving applicationswhen we make calls for tenders », she adds cautiously.
► Why not recruit university profiles, among the profusion of already existing training courses?
Many public universities offer training to work in the cultural sector, but the Minister of Culture wishes to pursue a proactive policy to diversify profiles. “ This program does not mark the end of directors coming from the university, there will always be some,” assure Francesca Poloniato-Maugein. « The minister is looking for young women or men who are unable to access these environmentsshe analyzes, there is a real desire to look for new people elsewhere ».
► Choosing to train candidates through Sciences-Po does not mean taking the risk of further standardization of profiles?
The partnership is assumed by the ministry, explaining that it selected the school among numerous offers for the quality of its theoretical training and its “ openness to social diversity in its curriculum “. Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, president of the national political science foundation, assumes this partnership and the ambition to make her establishment a place “ new governances of tomorrow, new work organizations ».
If the objective of the program is to lead to appointments to management positions, no places are reserved for them and the assignments could take several years.
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