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16/12/13 00:01

Auld Alliance strengthens cultural connections

New Statement of Intent will enhance Franco-Scottish collaboration.

Scotland and France will strengthen their long history of friendship and cooperation today with the signing of a Statement of Intent to collaborate on cultural activity.

The document will be signed in Paris this afternoon (Monday) by Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and Aurelie Filippetti, French Minister of Culture and Communication.

The document will demonstrate a commitment from both countries to promote the others’ creativity and heritage, encourage collaborations and exchanges between artists and cultural institutions, and support the creative industries in each nation.

Today’s signing ceremony signals a mutually growing interest from each nation in the other’s culture and creativity. It is underpinned by the decision by world-renowned fashion house Chanel to host its legendary Metiers D’Art fashion show in the ruins of Linlithgow Palace last December, the recent publication of Asterix and the Picts – the 35th book in the Asterix series and a story based in ancient Scotland, and the recent performance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Aix en Provence.

Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“This statement of intent reflects our shared history of cooperation and is one of many examples of the firm and lasting friendship between our two nations.

“Our cultural statement of intent will strengthen these enduring links, strengthening Scotland and France’s commitment to learn from each other, promote our rich cultures and heritage to one another and nurture and develop cultural relationships.

“This document supports our strong desire to capitalise on France’s growing interest in Scotland’s culture and heritage, which was clear when Karl Lagerfeld brought Chanel’s Scottish-inspired Metiers D’Art collection to Linlithgow last year and when the recently published 35th Asterix book centred on ancient life in Scotland and referenced Scottish fashion design.

“France and Scotland have shared over 700 years of economic and cultural connections. The signing of this document will continue and strengthen this cooperation and give new momentum to it – to the benefit of our arts, culture and heritage sectors.”

French Minister of Culture and Communication, Aurelie Filippetti said:

"I welcome the signing of this declaration of intent, whereby Ms Hyslop and myself express our willingness to place culture at the centre of our cooperation.

“We both agree that culture is a unique means of expression but also a way of shared enrichment, social ties, mutual understanding and economic growth.

“France wants to promote a "Europe of Culture" and we need such initiatives more than ever."

As part of this strengthened co-operation the Scottish Government will look at opportunities to work with the French Government and other French partners on creative industries and cultural projects, for example through the recently launched Creative Europe programme.

Notes to editors

Ms Hyslop will be in France for two days from Sunday December 15, during which she will undertake a range of engagements to promote and enhance Franco-Scottish cultural, diplomatic and education links.

In addition to signing the cultural statement of intent, Ms Hyslop will meet with the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and visit a primary school on the outskirts of Paris, where she will take part in a language class in line with a previously signed agreement to collaborate on school education and training. Photos from that visit will be made available on Monday.

Ms Hyslop will showcase Scotland’s creative industries to key French decision makers and representatives of French business and the arts and culture sector at a reception hosted by the British Council.

She will also visit Philippe Parreno’s exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo – one of the largest contemporary art spaces in Europe. The Palais de Tokyo was revitalised and extended last year by the architects Lacaton and Vassal whose design approach has parallels with that taken by NORD Architects’ RIAS Andrew Doolan Award-winning design for South Block in Glasgow.

Creative Europe

Creative Europe, the European Union's new programme for the cultural and creative sectors can be found here.

Text of cultural statement of intent

The text of the statement of intent to be signed today is as follows:

There has been over 700 years of economic and cultural amity between France and Scotland. Building from their shared history, from their own tangible and intangible heritage and from their artists’ creativity, France and Scotland wish to continue and strengthen this co-operation.

In the understanding that shared enrichment, social cohesion, mutual understanding and prosperity are advanced through culture as a unique mode of expression, France and Scotland intend to give their collaboration new momentum, and in particular they will:

· Promote cultural activities on each party’s territory aiming at highlighting the other party’s creativity and heritage including emerging expressions;

· Support collaboration between artists and promote structuring partnerships between French and Scottish cultural institutions;

· Provide opportunities for the cultural sector to meet their counterparts and develop exchanges;

· Cooperate in the sector of creative industries.

The Minister of Culture and Communications and the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs ask their administrations to nurture a close and coordinated dialogue, in consultation with their key delivery partners, agree priorities on for the implementation and review of this Intent.

Cultural links between France and Scotland

Recent cultural collaborations include:


· In November the Royal Scottish National Orchestra performed a sell-out show in the Grand Theatre de Provence (Aix-en-Provence) with £30,000 support from the International Touring Fund.

· The Sound Festival visited the Musiques Demesurees Festival in Clermont-Ferrand to build new partnership opportunities 9-16 November 2013.

· The latest Asterix book, published in October 2013, was set in Scotland telling the story of Asterix and Obelix's journey from ancient Gaul to Iron Age Scotland and the fearsome Pictish clans living there. Jean Yves-Ferri, the author of the new Asterix comic book has said the Scottish landscape inspired the latest epic adventure Asterix and the Picts. The book is being published in English, Scots and Scots Gaelic, along with many other world languages - several for the first time.

· The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry was exhibited within the Bayeaux Tapestry Museum in Normandy from 14 September - 4 November 2013.

· The Edinburgh International Festival 2013 featured: Fidelio, Opera de Lyon (Festival Theatre) on 10 and 15 Aug; Musiciens du Louvre (Usher Hall) 14 and 15 Aug and Don Quichotte du Trocadero, Montalvo Company (Festival Theatre) 29 - 31 Aug.

· Creative Scotland funded Collect Scotland to present work at the textile trade fair Indigo, Premiere Vision, Paris, July-October 2013.

· The National Museums of Scotland hosted a Mary Queen of Scots exhibition from 28 June - 17 November 2013.

· From 28 June – 14 July 2013 the town of Mortagne au Perche hosted an art exhibition featuring Scottish artists from the Rhue Gallery in Ullapool in Chateau de Blavou.

· The Edinburgh International Film Festival featured a Retrospective of Jean Grémillon, director of some of the most highly regarded French films of the German Occupation.

· The World Writer Conference 2012-13 series, developed by the Edinburgh International Book Festival and supported through the Scottish Government Expo Fund, was launched in August 2012 in Edinburgh. The series ran for 12 months, in 14 countries across the globe, and took place at the Etonnants Voyageurs Festival of Literature, St Malo (Brittany) 18-20 May 2013. This event included Scottish authors.

· Historic Scotland's pilot Artist in Residence at Stirling Castle (2011-2012) paved the way for Stirling artist Iona Leishman to develop a project to celebrate the life and works of Maria de Guise. This led to an official invitation to be the first resident Scottish artist at the town of de Guise’s birthplace, Joinville in France. The Deputy Mayor of Joinville visited Stirling to meet Iona Leishman in her Stirling Castle studio. Stirling Castle has subsequently offered a major celebratory exhibition of a body of work to be created between the Castle and Joinville in September 2014. This was preceded by an exhibition of Iona's work at the Castle in 2013 to highlight the anniversary of the coronation of James V in September 2013.

· From 19-26 February 2013, the Travelling Festival of cinema, Rennes in Brittany specifically focused on the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Screenings included Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Hallam Foe, Young Adam, The Illusionist, That Sinking Feeling, My name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, The Angel's Share, Ratcatcher, Orphans and Neds.


· Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, was chosen as the venue for the French fashion house’s Metiers d’Art show on 4 December 2012, a major coup for Scotland. Karl Lagerfeld chose Edinburgh because he was inspired by the rich heritage of CHANEL in Scotland, and the skilled craftsmanship of Scottish tweed and cashmere, that are an integral and iconic part of CHANEL’s collections today. Together with the recent acquisition of Scottish knitwear brand Barrie made Scotland the perfect location for a collection that celebrated craftsmanship.

· On 14 November 2012, Ms Hyslop attended and spoke at the preview of the photographic exhibition ‘Albie Clark Changement de Décor’ an exhibition dedicated to the participation of the Institute in the Summer Edinburgh Festival 2012.

· The Mackintosh Trail and three Interpretation Centres in the Pyrénées Orientales were formally inaugurated by Michael Moore, former Secretary of State for Scotland on 14 November 2012. A bronze relief of Mackintosh has been erected in Port-Vendres.

· National Museums Scotland loaned 18 artefacts to the Musée National de la Marine in Paris for the lighthouse exhibition ‘Phares’ from March to end November 2012.

· The Scottish Chamber Orchestra toured ‘Robin Ticciati, Maria Jaoa Pires’ in Europe this year including Toulouse on 2 November 2012.

· Scottish Theatre Company, Catherine Wheels, toured the award winning children’s production ‘White’ to Centre Culturel Ramonville, Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France from 9-10 October 2012

· National Galleries Scotland supported the ‘Hiroshi Sugimoto’ exposition in Lille Metropose Mussee d’Art Moderne from June to 7 October 2012.