The Creative France initiative was launched in Adelaide on 17 March 2016 by the Ambassador of France to Australia, H.E. Mr Christophe Lecourtier. This initiative includes a new French-SA web portal, Bonjour Adelaide, a variety of exhibitions and cultural engagements and very importantly establishment of South Australia’s first bilingual French primary school.
Creative France in SA is part of a national initiative driven by Business France with seed funding from the French Embassy and the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Local support for particular SA projects comes from the EU Centre for Global Affairs as well as a wide range of partners including the Alliance Francaise, the Unley and Victor Harbour Councils, the South Australian Maritime Museum, The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and UniSA.
As part of the Creative France Initiative, the EU Centre for Global Affairs is supporting a Primary Schools cultural outreach programme aiming to heighten South Australian primary school students’ awareness of the history of early maritime contact between Australia and Europe.
A particular focus is the collaboration between Adelaide and the Normandy port, Le Havre, of paintings and drawings by artists Charles Alexandre Lesuer and Nicolas-Martin Petit, who accompanied French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1801 when he mapped part of the South Australian coast. In late June 2016, the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre will send its collection of paintings and drawings to the Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide to launch what will then become a national tour.
The South Australian State Library will also host an exhibition of large-scale prints from the book “The Australia of the French Explorers” by contemporary French photographer Frederic Mouchet who revisited the sites of the first landings.
The Creative France Initiative is receiving extensive media coverage in South Australia. The Advertiser reported H.E. Mr Lecourtier’s remarks at the launch event in March as follows:
- “Creative France was a bid by his country to recast its image in the 21st century and move beyond the traditional idea of wine, berets and baguettes.”
- “Creative France was also an economic endeavour that sought to engage France with South Australia in areas such as defence, in particular through the contentious $50 billion Future Submarines project and its promise of 500 jobs.”
- “We need partnerships to help as you shift from the old industrial economic model to something based on several different clusters – health, renewable industries, defence and others.”
- “France can be part of this story.”
For the full text of H.E. Mr Lecourtier’s comments, click here.