Article by Aurélie Besenval, Laure Hubert-Rodier et Grégoire Pateau, UFISC

On the strength of the work, analyses and proposals carried out on the theme of “culture and rurality” over the past several years through various actions and meetings initiated by its member organisations, UFISC*, as a federation of artistic and cultural networks in France, has decided to initiate a process of observation and support to better identify and promote artistic and cultural practices in rural areas. Particular attention is paid to the dynamics of associations, policies and citizens, which allow for better consideration and support for the participation of young adults in cultural life.

The cultural dimension is understood here through the notions of cultural rights and cultural diversity. It brings about the recognition of the identities and capabilities of these young adults. It opens the way to the creation of territories in movement and allows us to take an interest in emerging resources, in a decompartmentalised approach. It encourages the thought of a transition towards a sustainable and solidary development, which considers each person in their dignity.

The overall objective of the project “AJITeR through culture! “project is to propose a programme of capitalisation and dissemination of practices around the theme of welcoming and settling young adults in rural areas, based on support for their paths and initiatives. The participation of young adults in the cultural life of rural areas is achieved in particular through the relationships they can build with artistic and cultural structures of the social and solidarity economy.

The three-year action plan consisted of identifying, discovering, analysing and characterising a number of practices, which are structured around three axes: employment and training, cultural activities and citizen participation, in order to better support and disseminate them.

Numerous workshops, meetings, surveys, exchange and training sessions have made it possible to explore the subject based on the practices and experiences of actors in the field, to identify practices at work in rural areas, the challenges ahead and the innovative responses to them, as well as the obstacles and difficulties that remain to be overcome. Our exchanges and meetings with European and international actors, particularly in the context of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies and the POPMIND meetings, show that these problems are the same whether we are in the heart of Brittany in France, the Aosta Valley in Italy or the countryside of Semigalle in Latvia.

In order to respond to them, it is essential to start by deconstructing our representations of youth, rurality and culture, and by developing training and support tools aimed at strengthening the systems of actors. Some levers seem particularly relevant, such as the development of territorial engineering but also the implementation of “new” public policy measures such as territorial cultural projects.

Young adults, both in the initiatives they can lead and in the resources they bring to the territories, constitute an active force that can and must experiment, question, and participate in the elaboration of these new projects and in the associated rural development policies.

“AJIteR par la culture! ” has thus made it possible to lay the foundations of an approach to accompany these territorial cultural projects, a project that will be pursued with all the stakeholders, actors, artists, elected representatives and communities, citizens, in France and in Europe.

The five partners of the project (ADRETS, CIPRA France, RECCCA, UFISC and CREFAD Auvergne) invite you to a day of feedback and testimonies about the analyses and conclusions of the project on 24 June 2021. On the menu, testimonies, presentation of the results obtained, workshops, debates and exchanges!

Find all information and publications on our website and (in French)

* Union fédérale d’intervention des structures culturelles (Federal Union for the Intervention of Cultural Structures)

This article is part of the European project AJITeR “Facilitating the Reception of Young Adults and their Initiatives in Rural Territories” co-sponsored by ADRETS, CREFAD Auvergne, CIPRA FRANCE, RECCCA and UFISC.