Musée des Moulages

Culture of/at the university: promoting culture in and around the University  

Paul Valery University is the only university in France to be classified as a 20th century architectural heritage site and to boast an on-campus theatre and museum. University assets are not limited to these cultural facilities alone, but also to the human skills of the administrative staff, teacher-researchers and students who spend time on the campus every day. For many years, the University has hosted cultural initiatives, that have not always enjoyed sufficient visibility or promotion. In the same way, cultural partnerships developed by researchers and training programmes with the local authorities, are relatively discreet and lack in outreach. Aware of the challenges of the coexistence of infrastructures and skills, the University team seek out to position culture and the arts as a key strategic development priority.

Triggering fresh momentum

The creation of the University Arts Centre at the end of 2014, following a process initiated several years previously, and symbolically marked PVU’s commitment to the arts. The University Arts Centre includes the Museum of Mouldings, inaugurated in September 2015 after major renovation work on the museography and which is now open to the general public every weekday afternoon; the La Vignette Theatre, which saw the quality of its programming recognised in January 2016, through a “National Theatre” label; and the University Orchestra,  combining students from PVU and the Montpellier Metropolitan Music Conservatory. Since its creation, the Arts Centre has supported many diverse projects and set up several practical arts workshops, further enhancing the visibility of the University’s artistic aura. Efforts were crowned by the signing, at the end of 2015, of a framework agreement between the University and the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs, which marked a new step in artistic commitment. Covering education, research and cultural life, this convention goes well beyond what is recommended by the agreement signed in 2013, between the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Conference of University Presidents.

A structured approach for a lively, bubbling artistic hub

Of course, this is not the end of the story. PVU proudly bears the name of the poet who wrote "What do you do every day? I reinvent myself” (Paul Valery, Les Cahiers). We must be the worthy heirs and invite you to invent the future alongside us.

An overriding priority for PVU is to affirm and promote the University as an artistic hub, both nationally and internationally: an ambitious and challenging project indeed. We are lucky to offer a full artistic spectrum on one site - research, training, creation, dissemination, conservation. It is our duty to promote artistic assets by fostering the circulation of information, ideas and persons within the University. PVU enjoys a wide range of artistic projects: students participate in cultural initiatives launched by research centres, and many partnerships have been concluded with local authorities, initiated both by research centres and training courses. The partnerships can be Metropolitan - as with the Comédie du livre Book Fair, Regional, through the links established with the Regional Contemporary Art Fund, or Departmental with the Printemps des Comédiens Theatre Festival. ...And so much more! Some of the partnerships, particularly the training projects, are international in outreach. Now, it is time to go further, federating and strengthening existing links, through enhanced coherence and visibility.

Economic research projects with innovative clusters also highlight the key role universities and public agencies play in the deployment of technological or creative innovation processes. It is rare today to find somewhere where one can take the time to test, create, innovate and test again... The university is still - to a certain extent - one of these favoured places. Due to the presence of many research activities (universities, institutes and laboratories) and cultural activities (major facilities, international festivals, dense artistic ecosystem) in Montpellier Metropolitan area and more broadly in the Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées Region, we enjoy a particularly favourable environment for the emergence of an artistic cluster. Our University has a key role to play within this ecosystem.

For this, we will work on cross-functionality while promoting synergy, both internally and externally. The dissemination of artistic information and mediation are also priority areas for further development.

Externally, it is our responsibility to develop and strengthen partnerships with local authorities, fostering enhanced outreach, as well as reinforced links at national and international levels. External networking must, obviously, be combined with internal, in-house networking. Greater intermediation with teaching, research and student life as a whole, is also required. Enhanced visibility for the University’s "artistic" action is key to encouraging the emergence of new projects and partnerships.

From idea to conservation, dissemination to production, the university aims to be a major regional arts hub, and active player at all stages of the creative process. The challenge is ambitious, but PVU has all the vital ingredients to succeed.

Generating ideas
Infusing creativity
Incubating projects
Distilling innovation
Disseminating production
Storing works and repertoires

Our objectives

  • Diversifying, enhancing training and promoting the professional integration of our students in the field of arts, heritage and culture
  • Encouraging the development of research partnerships between University teams, higher education institutions in the arts and creative structures;
  • Fostering the dissemination of research into culture and the arts by researchers within the city, and the national and international artistic and cultural community;
  • Participating in the development of arts within the University. Intensifying the cultural and artistic practices of students and, more broadly, of the University community as a whole;
  • Contributing to the University’s local, national and international cultural influence.

Our proposals

  • Promoting PVU outreach to development of cultural projects with professional partners, and projects related to new digital uses and international exchange;
  • Promoting access to contemporary creation through the presence of on-campus artists and artworks;
  • Promoting PVU's architectural, scientific and landscape heritage;
  • Providing support for the creative, artistic and cultural practices and action of students and all University staff;
  • Encouraging research and experimentation into the fields of performing arts, digital arts, new technologies, heritage preservation, etc;
  • Contributing to the pooling of skills and resources;
  • Strengthening partnerships with regional artistic and cultural distribution networks: theatre, opera, orchestra, cultural venues;
  • Consolidating convergence between PVU and networks of higher education institutions in the arts;
  • Proposing scientific, artistic and cultural editing;
  • Supporting the dissemination and promotion of the University's research work, collections and heritage funds;
  • Increasing the dissemination of information and on-campus mediation activities;
  • Respecting and promoting the 1% artistic policy for construction and renovation of buildings.
  • Federating the University community via on-campus high points and events in the field of arts.
Last updated : 15/01/2020