France and S'pore sign agreement to enhance cultural cooperation


France and Singapore have signed a framework agreement to enhance cultural cooperation between the two countries. The agreement was signed in Paris by Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the French Republic Bernard Kouchner on 20 January 2009. The signing of the agreement marks an important milestone in the partnership between the two countries. It signifies the commitment and determination of both countries to intensify two-way cultural cooperation and exchanges.

The new agreement, which builds on a previous agreement signed by both countries on 17 December 1982 to promote cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, is focused on promoting and encouraging the development of exchanges, artists in residency programmes and cooperative activities in the fields of art and culture. These activities will contribute towards Singapore's positioning as a Global Arts City by providing greater international exposure for our national museums and our artists to showcase their works in France.

An important objective of the agreement is to bring exhibitions of masterpieces from internationally renowned French museums as well as performances and community engagement programmes by world-class French artists and writers at our District Arts Festivals, Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Writers Festival. There will be many exciting programmes for Singaporeans to enjoy and deepen our appreciation for the arts. Many Singaporeans have enjoyed the recent exhibition of Greek masterpieces from the Louvre museum at the National Museum of Singapore. This new agreement will facilitate more of such exchanges in the future. Correspondingly, the agreement will also facilitate the presentation of artworks and artefacts by Singapore museums to museums in Paris and other French cities. It will also allow for greater curatorial exchanges such as co-curation of exhibitions and joint research opportunities.

Aside from these, the agreement will benefit Singaporean artists, students and professionals in the arts and culture fields. It will facilitate the showcasing of Singapore arts and culture in France, as well as artists in residency programmes and exchange programmes for students, arts administrators and museum specialists.

Within the framework of the new agreement, officials from both countries will identify opportunities and concrete projects to be implemented over the next ten years. The following projects have been finalised or are under discussion:

(a) An exhibition of the haute-couture works of celebrated French fashion designer Christian Lacroix, in collaboration with the Centre National du Costume de Scène (National Costume Centre, Moulins, France) to be brought to Singapore in 2009;

(b) Presentations by French arts groups: Compagnie 111, Theatre Le Palace, Compagnie Beau Geste and Malabar at the 2009 Singapore Arts Festival.

(c) An exhibition on Peranakan artefacts from Singapore's Peranakan Museum to be displayed at the world-renowned Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in 2011.

To complement the agreement signed at the Government-to-Government level, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed in Paris on 19 January 2009 between France's Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN) and Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB) in the presence of the French Minister for Culture and Communication Christine Albanel and Minister George Yeo. The agreement was signed by the Director of RMN Thomas Grenon and the CEO of NHB Michael Koh. Under the MOU, RMN and NHB will work together to facilitate and organise French exhibitions in Singapore as well as bring Singapore exhibitions to France.

NAC Fact Sheet - Proposed Collaborations With France
NHB Fact Sheet - Cultural Endeavours With France

20 JANUARY 2009

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