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Our departments


Artistic Exchanges and Cooperations

The Department of Artistic Exchanges and Cooperations encompasses the performing arts, the visual arts, music and architecture, and lends support to artists living and working in France, Africa and the Caribbean. It aims at:
  • providing expertise and artistic advise to the French cultural community abroad as well as their numerous partners throughout the world, with the support of dedicated teams in the various sectors with a scouting role on new developments in the field;
  • helping to identify emerging art scenes in France, Africa and the Caribbean;
  • developing transversal, themed projects and events in order to promote the art scenes across different disciplines;
  • spreading French exhibitions and cultural events in a context of exchange with foreign museums, cultural partners and sponsors all around the world;
  • developing an artistic calendar for each Season in conjunction with the Commissioner-General.
Within this role the Department of Artistic Exchanges and Cooperations:
  • supports and accompanies new forms of creativity;
  • affirms its commitment to promote the “priority countries” and territories across the various artistic disciplines;
  • develops cultural events or programs of world renown whether based in a specific country (such as Croisements in China, Suona Francese and Francia Mueve in Italy or the Bonjour India festival in India) or destined for touring (Théâtre Export, France Danse, Visas pour la création, TransArte, Entr'Écoles, Label Foires etc.).
The inclusion of the African and Caribbean Departments affirms the Institut français’ commitment to put diversity at the heart of international issues.
Performing arts and music
In the field of performing arts, all art forms are supported: circus, dance, theater, street art, puppetry, contemporary and classical music. These sectors, which have scenes of great richness, vitality and diversity, command the world's attention and high expectations from international professionals.
The Department of Artistic Exchanges and Cooperations operates to:
  • support the art sector;
  • support the international mobility of artists and their work;
  • further develop the export market in consultation with professionals;
  • encourage cooperation, twinned projects and educational forums;
  • facilitate the identification of French art scenes by foreign professionals by initiating operations such as Focus for dance, theater or circus, built with partners in France and the French cultural network abroad;
  • facilitate the identification of art scenes in Africa or the Caribbean with the implementation of a platform for major operations (Danse l'Afrique Danse, Plateau Danse Caraïbes, Équation Musique) and a more targeted program of residences for young African artists: Visas pour la création
In these sectors, the Institut français will:
  • support new forms of creation and development of cross-functional projects, in particular with the new program TransArte. This program demonstrates the commitment to also support artists on hybrid projects, complimentary disciplines and the mixing of forms;
  • affirm its commitment to countries and priority territories for the performing arts (Europe, Latin America, Asia) and the African continent through the program Afrique en créations.
  • strengthen its position within the professional communities and networks;
  • promote the development of “recognizable" programs across the world (France Danse, Suona Francese, Théâtre Export, Focus, Visas pour la création, IntégraleS) play a unifying role within the international professional networks in order to help artists with the creation of the fund Circles that will encourage international partners to co-produce several projects each year.
Visual arts and architecture

As part of its development of an international artistic dialogue, the Institut français is responsible for:
  • the production of major international biennales and major operations undertaken with the help of international partners;
  • the exchange, sharing and development of various independent projects;
  • the visibility of a diverse French art scene amongst international partners and French cultural networks abroad, as well as the major questions concerning art today and its evolution.
The Institut français relies on:
  • a network of services and cultural institutions for French nationals abroad and their international partners and, in France;
  • existing artists and resources, such as public collections and commissions;
  • public and private partners from various institutions (art centers, museums, art schools, universities etc.), the network of galleries, collectors, foundations and endowment funds, the major international meetings ( Triennale, Biennale in Lyons, etc.) who all contribute to the appeal of the French art scene.
The activities are targeted at so-called "influencer" countries. This group is revised in accordance with the changing art scene. It is based on the professional, economic and strategic criteria tied to cultural geopolitics. Mainly these countries are:
  • in Europe: Germany, Benelux, Spain, Italy, UK, Switzerlan;
  • in North America: USA and Canada;
  • in Asia: Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore;
  • in emerging countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
International Biennales
The major international Biennales carried by the Institut français are high-profile:
  • the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for visual arts and architecture;
  • the Sao Paulo Biennale for architecture;
  • the Bamako Encounters / African Photography Biennale.
Other large events are supported by the Institut français with the French cultural network abroad or with other institutional partners such as ”Ceci n'est pas... " or The Benin Biennale.
In addition, the Institut français:
  • supports partners abroad in the staging of productions around a discipline or a group of artists: eg, the distribution of private prizes (the Marcel Duchamp Prize ADIAF, The SAM art project prize, The Meurice Prize, or exchanges between French and non-French art centers, galleries, or operations aimed at specific cities in the world (India, USA, Great Britain etc.).
  • continues to reinforce local structures in Africa and the Caribbean by supporting creativity and local cultural events, and producers to develop local markets and facilitate the dissemination of works and artists on the international stage.
  • produces and designs with the help of guest curators mobile modules destined for French cultural networks abroad in areas such as photography, video, urban art, art-science research-techniques, and new portfolios from young architects and landscape designers. A “how-to” guide is provided in the appendix of these modules that lists a number of resources available for cultural events (conferences, cultural evenings, bibliography etc.).
Exchange, sharing, debate
In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Institut français:
  • accompanies the movement of monographic and group exhibitions and the dissemination of public collections (FRAC, FNAC), through exchanges with foreign partners or major museums, in all disciplines related to visual arts, design, fashion, crafts, digital art and architecture ;
  • implements research programs and educational exchanges between international and French arts schools called "Entr'écoles" for post-graduate artists and teachers;
  • supports dedicated offices, existing or future, in certain French embassies, and visual arts funds such as the Franco-British Fluxus Fund in London or the French American Funds;
  • supports the presence of French artists at major international fairs, contemporary art fairs and some “off” fairs throughout the world;
  • introduces new platforms for curators and emerging French art critics, who will be helped with their own professional practice and their networks via regular trips, the sharing of ideas and research spent in Canada, USA, Germany and Great Britain.
  • produces seminars and roundtables, bringing together French and international experts on topics relating to issues of influence in the field of contemporary culture (collections and collectors, art criticism etc.).


Spreading France’s cinematographic heritage
The Institut français works in a complimentary fashion with UniFrance Films:
  • to promote major titles within the French heritage films;
  • to distribute newly created films (fiction and documentaries) in a non-commercial way;
  • to advance the notoriety of its leaders.
Through the distribution of documentary films, it aims at increasing awareness of French culture, ideas and knowledge.
With a catalogue of 3,500 films that reflect the diversity of French cinematography, the Institut français provides the French cultural network and its partners with films acquired for non-commercial distribution rights. These films are available in various formats: 35mm, DVDs and download (IFcinéma), and also come subtitled.
The Institut français offers its partners abroad retrospectives of the great figures of French cinema (Jacques Tati, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Robert Bresson, Olivier Assayas, Amos Gitai, Claire Denis, Sandrine Bonnaire, Juliette Binoche etc.), themed programs and promotions of international major events such as Le Jour le plus court, La Fête de l'animation, or Le Mois du Documentaire. Numerous retrospectives and themed programs are held annually around the world at the initiative of the Institut français, in partnership with major cultural institutions, foreign film libraries, festivals, universities, as well as the French cultural network abroad.
World cinema: promoting emerging talent
The Institut français manages the Aide aux cinémas du monde Program in partnership with the Centre national du Cinéma et de l’image animée. An initiative from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this new production assistance is available to all nationalities when part of a co-production with a French company.
During the Cannes Festival, the Institut français runs the Cinemas of the World Pavilion, a space dedicated to cinema from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Near and the Middle East, where the Institut français receives professionals throughout the Festival.     
A place of reference for news and promotion of World Cinema in Cannes, the Pavilion also invites 10 young directors and their producers as part of La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde ("The Making of World Cinemas"), a support program for new talents from emerging countries.
Cinémathèque Afrique
With responsibility for the preservation and distribution of Africa’s heritage cinema, the Institut français holds one of the largest collections of African films from the 60s to today.
Created in 1961 by the Ministry of Cooperation, the African Film Library contributes to the promotion of African cinema throughout the world and makes available to professionals and programmers a catalogue of over 1,500 titles, over 700 of which are free of royalties and available for non-commercial distribution.
Since it was integrated into the Institut français, the African Film library has mainly been focused on international distribution, whilst also disseminating titles within France through non-profit networks.
The Cinémathèque Afrique contributes to the conservation of African heritage with a digitalization program, and conducts retrospectives (Sotigui Kouyate, Raoul Peck) and themed cycles ("The great figures of African film and the Caribbean"; "African Independence") destined for worldwide distribution.

Development and partnerships

The Development and Partnerships Department leads transversal projects within the Institut français.
  • The Regional Authorities Division work on partnerships between major French cities or regions and the French cultural network abroad.
  • The Residences Division encourages the mobility of French artists abroad and vice versa.
  • The European Division offers advice to the French cultural network on all European matters, studies requests for Europe-wide projects and promotes the Institut français as a supporter of cultural events.
  • The Seasons Division regroups seasonal cultural events, cultural showcases between countries, and festivals as well as themed “Year of…” programs. These events are some of the highlights of the French diplomatic influence in the world.

French Language, Books and Ideas

The Books and Knowledge Division aims to promote French writing and thinking abroad to publishers, academics, cultural networks and think-tanks. With new tailor-made programs using the worldwide French diplomatic network, this department deploys cultural programs adapted to reflect strategic initiatives in line with international priorities and issues.
The French Language Division aims to improve the visibility and appeal of the French language throughout the world and reinforces the place of French as a language of learning.