In Avignon, the creative villa, the third place between science and society – Liberation

Economic Inclusion Forumissue

The site, chaired by the University of Avignon, will bring together different players in culture and innovative industries.

In partnership with the Avignon Festival and the University of Avignon,redemption It will be held on the 12th of July First Economic Inclusion Forum in culture and creative industries. Release, Event partner, it will publish on its site forums, reports and surveys on this topic.

The Avignon Festival begins marking the end of its posters in the streets of the City of the Popes, at the beginning of July. But this year, the wonderful garden of the former Faculty of Science, where some theatrical performances usually take place, will remain closed to the public for renovation. In fact, the imposing 19th-century building near the University of Avignon, deserted since 2015, is in the process of being transformed into a Creative Villa – the first stone is due to be laid on July 12. This new type of third place will open its doors in the summer of 2023 and will bring together more than 8,200 square meters of heritage buildings and gardens and many players in the culture and creative industries, all overseen by the University of Avignon, which will define it. Even a research laboratory and training service called Tout au Long de la Vie is there.

Among the future permanent tenants we find, of course, the Avignon Festival, but also the new photo school that trains in animation and has a well-established international reputation, the first in Avignon of the National Center for Arts and Crafts, The Frames festival that gives pride of place to video creation on The Internet and La French tech Provence that supports innovative start-ups. A co-working space has also been planned.

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“Open the place to the city”

“The Creative Villa will be a critical instrument in structuring the ecosystem of culture, heritage and digital society that aligns with one of the two axes of differentiation that the University of Avignon has developed nearly twenty-five years ago,” Philippe Ellerkamp, ​​president of the University of Avignon confirms. The Creative Villa will also enhance the visibility of projects in our chosen fields with a special focus on projects at the interface between science and society.“, he continued.

The chief of staff, Anne-Lise Rozier, was the one who for four years was entrusted by the chief of the Hannah Arendt campus with the heavy task. “but sexy” Project leadership. “The primary objective was to open the place to the city, to return it to the people of Avignon and to dismantle it by seeking partners outside the limits of the university”explains the creative villa manager. “It is a matter of allowing the public to crossbreed and making sure that those who do not dare to cross the University’s boundary finally dare to come to this wonderful site.”calling for.

It was the project of the Italian architect Alfonso Femia, to whom we owe the redevelopment of Docks in Marseille, that was chosen. An open renovation of the city and the facilitation of meetings between the various actors of the venue, particularly by taking care to make the best use of the corridor spaces to make them interactive spaces. A large central staircase is provided for this. An 80-seat auditorium as well as an art platform and gallery should also be constructed. “We think about programming throughout the year, beyond the height of the summer season. Because we want the Creative Villa not to be a space where we think about the cultural policies of tomorrow”The director, who plans to make Creative Villa a brand, insists.

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pioneer

The leadership of a university for this type of project is innovative, and its economic model as well. By becoming the first university and research association in France, with a budget of €1.9 million, the Avignon Higher Education Foundation has pioneered a new legal vehicle that allows universities to partner with private investors.

“We had to find a way to self-finance the Creative Villa project,” he said. Explains Ann Lise Rosier. Well aware that public-private partnerships related to higher education can be intimidating, the director wants to be reassured: “It is the university that retains control over the management and operation of the venue, remaining in the majority at 48%. The state becomes an investor with 17%. As for our private partner, he owns 35% of the investment share.” This is Etic, which operates ten third centers in France and works in the field of sustainable development, social and solidarity economy and responsible finance. “It was essential for us to deal with a partner whose values ​​we share”Ann Lise Rosier confirms.

“This model makes it possible to revitalize one of our research and training areas without the need for endowment or additional support, and it also allows for the possibility of making profits for the university that will be used in the service of this project and the jobs there. Will be attached. The strength of this model lies in its ability to replicate and serve the missions of universities”, Philip Ellerkamp concludes. While the first stone for the creative villa is being laid on July 12, another villa project is already underway, on agriculture, which is the other focus of the University of Avignon: the natural nature of the villa.

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