On May 30th, 2023 the Ministers of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, and her colleague Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate for Trade, Crafts and Tourism, unveiled an ambitious national strategy plan of 340 million euros to support and promote the Arts and Crafts sector.
This groundbreaking initiative, implemented over a three-year period, is the result of a joint effort between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Economy of France. The strategy focuses on revitalizing and strengthening the arts and crafts sector.
The importance of the arts and crafts sector cannot be underestimated. With over 60,000 businesses and 150,000 professionals, this industry generated an estimated revenue of €19 billion in 2019, including €8 billion from exports. Recognizing the potential of these traditional skills to contribute to a more sustainable economy, the preservation and promotion of arts and crafts professions are at the core of this national strategy.
With a clear vision to restructure the arts and crafts sector by 2025, the national strategy engages various organizations and institutions, including the National Institute of Crafts (Institut National des Métiers d’Art) an Associated Partner of MOSAIC, Chambers of Trades and Crafts, Bpifrance, Business France, the Heritage Foundation, the National Association of Living Heritage Enterprises (ANEPV), the French Institute, and the Territorial Bank. By fostering new synergies between public and private actors, the strategy aims to provide the arts and crafts industry with the necessary means and capabilities to achieve genuine structural development.
In a significant milestone, and exactly one month after the announcement of the strategy, the first Economic Meetings of the Arts and Crafts were organized in Tonnerre, Burgundy.
Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, personally attended the event. “We want to help the arts and crafts industry structure itself into a well-defined sector and address its recruitment and export-related challenges,” says the Ministry of the Economy and Finance
The strategy is built upon five main pillars, each addressing a specific aspect of the arts and crafts sector.
Axis 1: Promoting Artistic Crafts to Youth
Arts and crafts professions continue to be undervalued among young people and their families. Efforts are underway to increase awareness and understanding of these professions, starting from primary school.
Increased Support for European Artistic Craft Days (JEMA):
- The European Artistic Craft Days (JEMA), a free and accessible annual event in March, celebrates craftsmanship and attracts millions of visitors. Through increased resources, the cultural programming of JEMA will be expanded across the country, similar to the European Heritage Days.
1,000 Internships in Arts and Crafts:
- To promote vocational opportunities and inspire young people, 1,000 internships in arts and crafts in the last year of middle school will be available across all regions starting from the end of 2023.
Discovery of Arts and Crafts in Educational Settings:
- The Ministry of National Education and Youth’s plan for discovering arts and crafts will be implemented in all middle schools starting from the 2023 academic year. Arts and crafts exploration activities will involve meetings with professionals in schools or their work environments.
Axis 2: Training and Transmitting Excellence in Arts and Crafts
Artistic crafts, being intangible cultural heritage, rely on the transmission of techniques and gestures from one generation to the next. It is essential to attract young talents and provide them with training to ensure the sustainability of this sector.
Increasing Continuous Training and Llifelong Learning Opportunities for Professionals:
- Professionals registered with the Chambers of Trades and Crafts will have the opportunity to participate in guided visits and mediation programs at renowned museums such as the Musée d’Orsay and Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
Enhencing VET for Decorative Craft Professions:
- Training will be offered for decorative craft professions. It will harmonize and cater to the needs of national manufactures and regional workshops, fostering international collaborations. Additionally, the strategy seeks to expand its reach to encompass professions that have encountered challenges due to the loss of formal training programs or increased pressures, including textile weaving, table silversmithing, and watchmaking.
Increasing the Number of “Maîtres d’Art” to Bridge the Generational Gap:
- The “Maître d’Art” program, established by the Ministry of Culture in 1994, rewards the transmission of rare and exceptional French arts and crafts skills from master artisans to their apprentices within workshops. This program plays a crucial role in preserving endangered skills that no longer have formal training programs.
Continuation of the “Exceptional Know-How Accelerator” by Bpifrance:
- The “Exceptional Know-How Accelerator” program will be extended in 2024 and 2025 to support two additional cohorts of 25 companies. This 18-month program aims to structure businesses, foster peer collaboration, and connect participants with the craft industry ecosystem.
Axis 3: Anchoring Arts and Crafts at the Heart of Communities
Arts and crafts professions, such as Limoges porcelain, Baccarat crystal, and leatherwork in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, contribute to the historical, patrimonial, and economic strength of regions.
Creation of Territorial Arts and Crafts Centers:
- As part of the France 2030 initiative, funding will be allocated to create territorial centers focused on cultural and creative industries, including arts and crafts, design, and fashion.
- Artisans will be eligible for installation grants or equipment purchase support provided by the Ministry of Culture.
Promoting the “Living Heritage Company” Label (“Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” EPV):
- The government aims to double the number of EPV-labeled companies to 2,500 by 2025. This label recognizes businesses with exceptional craftsmanship and promotes their excellence.
Developing Geographical Indications:
- The plan includes a strong push for the development of artisanal geographical indications, which highlight specific regions of production. Currently, only 13 artisanal geographical indications have been approved in France.
Axis 4: Supporting Research, Innovation, and Creation
Research and innovation play essential roles in evolving practices while preserving traditional knowledge.
Mapping Innovation Support:
- Chambers of Trades and Crafts maintain a platform that lists public financial aids accessible to businesses, making it easier to access relevant funding.
Preserving Endangered Arts and Crafts Professions through Digitization:
- A digital bank of craft gestures will be created to preserve endangered ancestral techniques through digitization.
Promoting Ecological Transition in Arts and Crafts:
- CMA France offers energy, insulation, mobility, and other diagnostics to craft businesses. They also deploy programs to raise awareness and provide support for ecological and energy transition.
Axis 5: Developing Artistic Crafts Internationally
Arts and crafts are highly valued and sought after abroad. Efforts will be made to increase visibility and promote exchanges between French and foreign artisans.
Actions led by the French Institute:
- The French cultural network abroad will increase its presence and support for the arts and crafts sector, organizing studio visits, and offering mobility grants to artisans.
The “ICC Immersion” Program:
- As part of France 2030, this program supports the export activities of cultural enterprises. With a budget of 10.5 million euros, it is dedicated to innovative cultural entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate their international development in target markets.
- Over three years, Business France will sensitize 1,000 companies to internationalization and support 600 companies in identifying opportunities and exploring foreign markets.
Arts and Crafts at the Osaka 2025 World Expo:
- French artistic crafts, including EPV-labeled companies, will be prominently featured in the French pavilion at the Osaka World Expo. This platform aims to showcase the audacity and expertise of French craftsmanship to a global audience.
At its core, this comprehensive strategy aims to empower, preserve, and promote arts and crafts professions, ensuring they grow sustainably, preserving cultural heritage, and gaining international recognition. It’s impressive how well this strategy aligns with the MOSAIC project’s vision and objectives. With its diverse and international consortium, as well as its expertise, MOSAIC is in a prime position to play an essential role in nurturing and driving the strategy forward. It can make a substantial contribution to the success and impact of this shared vision, ultimately benefiting the arts and crafts sector.
Further official information about the strategy available on https://www.economie.gouv.fr/metiers-de-la-main-metiers-de-demain-une-nouvelle-strategie-nationale-en-faveur-des-metiers-dart