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Joint conference AMI/Incubinc & RCF


Awasem means capitals in Arabic. This project aims to improve the transfer of know-how between European and Arab capitals of culture. 


The partnership that the Roberto Cimetta Fund has contracted with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture since 2014 is the first partnership that our Fund has made with an Arab public institution. It is a very important one in the context of the current Syrian and Iraqi crisis. Despite the conflict, Iraq and Baghdad have a strong cultural aura in the region and our partnership can thus initiate strategic impacts. In order to consolidate this partnership, Ferdinand Richard went to Baghdad in December 2014 to officially sign the agreement with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, his excellence Mr. Faryad Raondzi. 


On 16th March 2016 we organised with the backing of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region a joint conference with AMI (Innovative music centre) and in partnership with the Villa Méditerranée/AViTeM and with the support of the French Instituts of Lebanon and Morocco and the French Embassy in South Africa.


This conference took place at the Villa Méditerranée and was based on exchange of know-how between European and Arab capitals of culture (Marseille-Provence 2013, Valletta 2018 and Basrah 2020). The themes of the debate were freedom of expression and freedom of circulation and cultural business incubators as incubators of democracy. The conference was held jointly with AMI. This joint action sought to analyse how our two organisations and these two themes can converge in order to promote respect for artists, for their independence, for their freedom of expression as entrepreneurs and producers of art and culture in the Arab worlds. 


This conference took place just after the Incubinc workshop in Marseille (grouping together thirty participants from Morocco, Lebanon and South Africa) and just before Babelmed; so as to maximise the presence of international professionals over these two days.


16/03/2016 - 09h00 - 18h30

Conférence 1 - Roberto Cimetta Fund

Les artistes, la liberté de circulation, la liberté d’expression : progrès ou récession ?

Artists, freedom of circulation, freedom of expression: progress or deterioration?

حرية التجوال و حرية التعبير : ما وضع الفنانين اليوم؟ 


17/03/2016 - 09h30 - 19h15

Conférence 2 - A.M.I. Incubinc

Incubateurs d’entreprises culturelles, incubateurs de démocratie ?

Cultural business incubators: incubators for Democracy?

حاضنات المشروعات الثقافية: حاضنات للعمل الديموقراطي؟ 



Avec / with 

Bernard Valero, Director, Villa Méditerranée/Avitem | Elodie Le Breut, Deputy Director, A.M.I. | Jumana Al Yasiri, Roberto Cimetta Fund, Board member and Sundance Institute Theatre Program MENA Manager | Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of programs, National Coalition against Censorship, USA | Hanan Kassab-Hassan, Secretary General of Damacus 2008, Culture Capital of the Arab world, Syria | Ulrich Fuchs, ex-Deputy-Director Marseille-Provence 2013 and Linz 2009, France | Luca Bergamo, Secretary General, Culture Action Europe | Abdo Nawar, Shams Theatre, Tamasi Collective, Lebanon | Emilie Petit, Artist, le Petit Cabanon, Marseille & Nassim-El-Raqs, interdisciplinary dance creation festival, France / Egypt | Vicki Ann Cremona, Malta University, Chair of the Performing Arts Department, Malta | Aqeel Al Mindlawie, Intangible Heritage expert, ex-Director of Cultural Relations, Ministry of Culture, Iraq | Ricardo Mbarkho, digital artist, university teacher, lecturer, researcher, Lebanon | Lucie Sanchez, ASTER, Italy | Marion Louisgrand, Director, Kër Thiossane, Senegal | André Le Roux, Samro Foundation, South Africa | Aadel Essadani, Racines, Morocco | Vincent Carry, Director, Arty Farty - Nuits Sonores, France | Daba Sarr, Africafête, Senegal



Moderation by Ferdinand Richard, AMI, Director/Chair of RCF


The 105 participants from 17 countries*, attending the joint conference organised by AMI/Incubinc and the Roberto Cimetta Fund (16-17 March last in Marseilles), took part in six workshops addressing the six thematic debates and defined 18 recommendations. These recommendations are as follows:


Conversation 1 – European and Arab capitals of culture as drivers of freedom of speech

1 – Freedom of speech and cultural rights should be one of the major criteria for the selection of candidate cities to the title of European and Arab capitals of culture; respecting these rights should be seen in the implementation of the capital of culture programmes.

2 – The general aims of the capital of culture candidacies should be debated in forums of independent deliberation and exchange between citizens and cultural actors representing the cultural diversity of each city

3 – Solid and sustainable links should be strengthened between all the Arab and European capitals of culture (and elsewhere if relevant) to foster common traits, reveal diversity, exchange experiences and develop know-how.


Conversation 2 – Allow artists to remain audible and authentic

1 – It appears urgent to set up a support and advocacy group whose main objective is to help artists continue living and working in their region of origin with the independence, liberty and dignity they aspire to.

2 –Donors that support arts and culture, should have long term visions and support the consolidation of professional production teams.

3 – Mobility between the countries of the South is more than ever a priority. Similarly, exchange between North and South is all the more necessary in times of crisis.


Conversation 3 – Protecting and transforming intangible cultural heritage

1 – Governments, international organisations and opinion leaders should take joint immediate action to safeguard (by maintaining, fostering and regenerating) intangible and tangible cultural heritage of communities and groups in the conflict zones, especially those who are victims of violent attacks on their culture, their identity and their diversity.

2 – Participants recommend that legal status and economic viability should be given to individuals and groups who possess knowledge of their heritage and are capable of transmitting it through educational skills and reactivating the concept of “living treasures”.

3 – Similarly they recommend to make as wide a use as possible of modern and freely accessible technology that guarantees the greatest visibility of intangible heritage so as to protect and preserve it, transmit and regenerate it.


Conversation 4 – Promote incubators for cultural and creative industries (CCIs)

1 – Incubators of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) should be understood transversally as combining activities, aims and values related to the public interest, professional sectors, competencies, profiles of projects and persons without being reduced to simply providing services and goods.

2 – Identifying and responding to the public interest as well as actively contributing to the structuring of a given territory are key to the mission of any cultural business incubator. In this regard, public governing bodies should constantly be optimizing their legal and fiscal working environment.

3 – Cultural incubators should be obliged to guarantee the independence, relevance and sustainability of the projects they incubate.


Conversation 5 – Promote a corporate social responsibility of cultural business incubators

1 – In practice, CCI business incubators should be permanently investigating and adapting to the political context of the territory they work in.

2 – CCI business incubators should develop methodologies within longterm strategic impact-based strategies and respect ethical values previously integrated into their statutes.

3 – Cultural business incubators should strive to evenly balance the social as well as entrepreneurial dimensions of their impact by increasing local partnerships with the educational or social sector of their territory.


Conversation 6 – Inventing new cultural markets in a fair, sustainable and autonomous mode

1 – The concept and promotion of local and regional territories of culture should be fostered and efforts to enhance and implement cultural decentralization should be pursued and strengthened in order to reach a balance between metropolis and periphery.

2 – Public intervention for local and regional economic development should be redistributed evenly and directly to civil society, should favour the development of public-private models of practice, should temper monopolistic tendencies, and should revise and monitor criteria of support.

3 – In order to favour the diversity of cultural markets, cultural and artistic education should be provided in the school curricula, particularly at primary level, not only through classic teaching methods but also through mediation, relating professional experiences and intercultural exchanges.




What do we do?

Presentation of RCF |  | Partners