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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation




Cultural policy, particularly when geared towards young people, calls on a number of different stakeholders who may either work separately or, on the other hand, closely together. The main bodies involved in advocating culture are the government departments and their devolved departments, public cultural institutions, local authorities and associations.


  1. Stakeholders



Two ministries are particularly involved in the development and implementation of cultural policies that concern all young people: the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Youth, in particular through the Directorate of Youth, Popular Education and Voluntary Organisations (DJEPVA), although they can intervene in different ways through different actions:

 access to and participation in high-quality artistic and cultural education for all children and young people throughout their lives also presupposes the mobilisation of a broadened and strengthened inter-ministerial partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture focusing in particular on the development of artistic and cultural teaching (EAC) in agricultural education ;

with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Solidarity, Autonomy and the Disabled for access to artistic and cultural practices for children and young people who are ill, disabled or in very precarious situations;

with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, to ensure that culture is present in universities and higher education schools;

with the Ministry of Justice, for the participation of young people under judicial supervision (protection judiciaire de la jeunesse and prison administration).

A new Culture-Justice protocol was signed in March 2022; with the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion to facilitate access to cultural offerings and practices in priority territories.

The national agreements and memorandums of understanding in favour of EAC are generally broken down into framework agreements at local level (mainly regional), mobilising decentralised State services (Rectorat and DAAC, DRAAF, DRIETTS, DDCS, PJJ, ARS) and local authorities around objectives tailored to specific local circumstances.

Ministry of Culture

The Ministry of Culture's overarching mission is to foster access to culture, the development and dissemination of cultural creation and to showcase French artistic creations. That said, the Ministry is not the only key stakeholder in youth policies – it contributes jointly to them with the other government departments concerned with developing creativity and cultural participation among children and young adults.

Since 2021, the Ministry has had a new central administration department: the General Delegation for Transmission, Territories and Cultural Democracy, to better achieve its ambitions in terms of participation by all in cultural life. In particular, it is responsible for early-learning and artistic education and coordination of policies for the participation of young people. The projects and policies initiated by the department are implemented in the regions by the decentralised departments: the Regional Directorates for Cultural Affairs (DRAC), in particular by their departments dedicated to cultural and regional action and cultural democratisation.

The DRACs are responsible for implementing the cultural policy defined by the government, under the authority of the regional and departmental prefects.


Ministry in charge of Education and Youth

Together with the Ministry in charge of Culture, the Ministry in charge of Education contributes to schoolchildren's artistic and cultural education particularly through artistic teaching content as well as the promoting of art and culture to school groups.


DJEPVA - Department for Youth, Non-Formal Education and Voluntary Organisations (Direction de  jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et de la vie associative)

The DJEPVA, which reports to the Ministry of National Education, plays a key role in promoting the associative initiative, especially in terms of non-formal education, by financially supporting associations and facilities that carry out cultural projects for young people. As such, the DJEPVA reaches out to a wide section of the public, beyond pupils and students alone, and (indirectly) supports a range of cultural youth projects.


Ministry of Agriculture and Food

The Ministry of Agriculture is something of a forerunner in terms of cultural youth policy, if you consider that, since the 1960s, agricultural learning paths taught "sociocultural education" (ESC), a multidisciplinary approach stemming from Non-Formal Education whose learning outcomes are open-mindedness, developing an inquisitive mind and independent thinking in young people.


Associations (NGOs)

Associations form the cornerstones of cultural youth policy. They put the democratisation of culture into practice, by organising cultural activities and familiarising youngsters in cultural and artistic practices. There are more than 260,000 associations with a cultural purpose (for all audiences) in France. 

These associations create jobs, but are making increasing use of self-employment. According to the 2021 edition of the chiffres-clés, statistiques de la culture et de la communication, fixed-term contracts account for more than a third of the workforce (32%, compared with 16% of all employees) in this sector. It should be noted, however, that more than two-thirds of cultural businesses (70%) have no employees. The population of non-salaried workers in the cultural sectors is getting younger: 41% of them were under 40 in 2016, compared with 29% nine years earlier.

Cultural associations play an active part in rolling out youth policies under partnership agreements and contracts with the State (government and devolved departments) and local authorities. They also develop their own cultural and artistic projects.



Local authorities

In France, in accordance with article 103 of law no. 2015-991 of 7 August 2015 on the new territorial organisation of the Republic, which states that cultural policy must refer to cultural rights, and article 104, which stipulates that powers in the fields of culture, sport, tourism, the promotion of regional languages and popular education are shared between the communes, départements, regions and special-status authorities, the local authorities (Communes, Régions and Départements) play a leading role in the field of culture. They each have different administrative responsibilities (educational, social, transport, training), which complement those of the State, making it possible to build bridges and work across cultural policies.

In France, local authorities (Municipalities, Regions and Départements) are instrumental in cultural initiatives, for they consider such initiatives to form a crucial part of local development while also contributing to social cohesion and territorial appeal. What is more, they can make choices at their respective levels, on the basis of their remit in terms of cultural policy:

  • Managing and financing libraries,
  • Managing museums and giving grants to cinemas,
  • Developing artistic education,
  • Watching over and preserving movable cultural objects which are listed as historical monuments,
  • Preserving and showcasing archives and organising archaeological departments.

As far as cultural policies for young people are concerned, local authorities can include their actions in the strategies developed by the State (ministries and decentralised departments), or even amplify them, but they are also the bearers of cultural policies specific to the reality of their territories.


2.Organisation of responsibilities

The Ministry of Culture may well be the key impetus and decision-maker behind national cultural initiatives, but it does not have the monopoly over cultural policy for all that: local authorities and associations alike play an equally important role in putting together and carrying out cultural youth projects and can also develop their own strategies for action. Cultural policy is also based on a number of partnerships between these different operators, however, who work together in setting up and regulating cultural youth initiatives.


Cross-sectorial cooperation


The Ministry's cultural policy is implemented in partnership with government departments, local authorities, and artistic, cultural, educational and community players, enabling it to be firmly rooted in the regions and in all aspects of the lives of children and young people.

The national agreements and memorandums of understanding are generally broken down into framework agreements at local level (mainly regional), involving the State's decentralised departments for education, health, employment and the economy, justice and social cohesion (Local education authorities, and academic delegations for the arts and culture, Regional Directorates for Food, Agriculture and Forestry, Regional Directorates for the Economy, Employment, Labour and Solidarity, Departmental Directorates for Social Cohesion, Youth Judicial Protection, Regional Health Agencies) and local authorities, with objectives tailored to specific local needs.

This inter-ministerial cooperation is a first lever. The second is dialogue with local and regional authorities and all the networks of players, particularly associations, involved in local areas. These joint actions are part of a policy of contractualisation, as inclusive as possible, mobilising all the diversity of players as close as possible to local realities. The experimentation of new agreements around local cultural projects underlines the need for a collective approach and basis for an overall local cultural policy.


The agreement between the DRACs - Regional Departments of Cultural Affairs (Directions régionales des affaires culturelles) and  DRAAFs - Regional Departments of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Directions Régionale de l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et la Forêt).

These culture/agriculture agreements have a long history, since the first agreement was signed on 17 July 1990. It had two key objectives: "facilitate creation, dissemination and cultural and artistic practice in rural areas" and "enable rural populations to personally get to grips with the benefits of showcasing their heritage…".

The  DRAC and DRAAF have run a joint artistic and cultural education policy at regional level through the "culture-agriculture" agreement. Signed for a three-year period, the "culture-agriculture" agreement sets out to develop cultural action and artistic education in rural and peri-urban areas. It encourages cultural facilities and local authorities to get involved in artistic and cultural projects conducted with the public agricultural schools. Such projects are primarily organised in connection with sociocultural education.

The strategic objectives of the agreements include:

  • Fostering cultural and artistic education,
  • Promoting new forms of cultural mediation,
  • Supporting cultural and artistic creation.

For example, at the end of 2019, the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs and the Regional Department of Food, Agriculture and Forestry for the Centre-Val de Loire signed a partnership agreement to promote cultural activities in agricultural education establishments, with a view to implementation in early 2020.

Cooperation between the State and local authorities, via the regional directorates of cultural affairs, was recently illustrated by the mini-mixes project, setting up cultural mediation spaces in elementary schools.