Tue, Dec 06, 2011 - Page 2 News List

French diplomat to promote joint cultural ventures

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Bureau Francais de Taipei will be launching a series of co-production ventures with Taiwanese artists over the coming year, the bureau’s new director, Olivier Richard, said.

“In the field of art and culture, it is very nice to have exhibitions visiting, but it is much better to create something together,” Richard said recently about his vision for bilateral cultural relations after taking office last month.

While both sides have engaged in frequent academic exchanges and visits in the past years, the 47-year-old said there was a need to go beyond just talk.

He proposed increasing and deepening diplomatic dialogue through co-production and teamwork. Under such initiatives, talented individuals from both France and Taiwan could join together for brainstorming sessions and production activities, he said.

“We like to do things together. Not only bringing French artists to Taiwan and Taiwanese artists to France, but also having them work together,” Richard said.

Since last year, the bureau has facilitated communication and cooperation between museums, musicians, dancers and visual artists.

Richard previewed two performances to be delivered by French choreographers and local professionals in the coming year. Fashion designer Johan Ku (古又文), for example, will work with France’s Mourad Merzouki in presenting a piece titled Yogee Ti at the National Theater in Taipei.

Aside from art projects, Richard is also pushing for a double diploma program that would allow university students to be awarded two diplomas upon graduation after spending time studying in both countries.

As of this month, there were 16 universities in Taiwan that have formed such liaisons, the bureau said.

With the number of Taiwanese studying in France at about 800, an expansion of the co-diploma program is expected to attract more youths to that country.

For those who wish to experience living in France, an agreement on a working holiday program is now under review by the French government.

Richard, who was first posted to Taiwan 12 years ago, said he was excited about coming back and would strive to make cultural exchanges more active through the introduction of more collaborative programs.

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