OXYGEN IN SAINT-CHAMAND, EUROPE AT THE HEART OF A CHANGING DISTRICT
(RE)CREATING A COMMON STORY THROUGH CULTURE
On the eastern outskirts of Avignon, a few hundred meters from the Intra-Muros, stands one of the poorest districts in France, with a per capita income lower than the northern districts of Marseille, and nearly 75% of jobseekers in young people. In addition to this heavy socio-economic situation, there is a geographical isolation between the ring road, the railway and the shopping center, which creates a heavy burden for its inhabitants, in the immediate vicinity of one of the most important cultural events in Europe.
At 5 minutes from the ramparts, Saint-Chamand is however one of the districts of France living a urbanistic mutation of the deepest, following important investments of the State and the communities via the NPRU program (New Program of Urban Renewal). In addition to installing the terminus of the new Avignon tramway and the technical train maintenance hall, Saint-Chamand will see 3 destroyed towers and more than 80 relocated families. The city renovates the nautical stadium, which was abandoned, as a leisure center, as well as the Plaine des Sports. The ice rink was taken over by a dynamic team with renovation, extension and opening projects on the neighborhood. An eco neighborhood with several hundred homes is planned in the coming years. The entire neighborhood has an area equivalent to Parc de La Villette in Paris.
After the launch of several programs with the social center between 2008 and 2012 including a critical web TV and a professionalization of young people to digital tools, La Manufacture launched the “Oxygen” program in 2018 to place culture at the heart of this neighborhood. mutation, and to position the Festival in Saint-Chamand (20,000 spectators in 2018 at the Ice Rink and the Castle) as the pivotal moment of a territory action year-round. It installs its offices at the beginning of 2019.
A EUROPEAN ART CENTER
This unique and original program in France aims to involve the residents of Saint-Chamand, local associations and structures, young people, in the governance and management of residences year-round, and operationality during the Festival. A portion of the rent by companies (from public funding) of the social center room made available by the town hall and managed by La Manufacture during the Festival is used to finance this program, completed in 2019 by funding “Creative Europe” of the European Commission putting La Manufacture in network with 8 other European countries thanks to the Centriphery project. The partners of the project are the Festival of Regions (Austria), New Culture Foundation (Bulgaria), Dansehallerne – Choreographic Center (Denmark), Espoo City Theater – National Theater (Finland), La Manufacture (France), Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture (Croatia), Cultura Nova Festival (Netherlands), Walk & Talk Festival (Azores, Portugal) and Prin Banat associated with Timisoara 2021 European Capital of Culture (Romania).
The Oxygen program aims to increase professional competence and openness to culture for the inhabitants of Saint-Chamand by engaging young people from the neighborhood on fixed-term contracts in La Manufacture teams on the one hand, and free access to shows and events. to their mediation for the inhabitants of the eastern districts of Avignon on the other hand. It’s about (re) creating a common story by the culture for this territory. During the 2018 Festival, more than 400 inhabitants attended performances in Saint-Chamand followed by meetings with artists, and nearly 50 residents took part in artistic projects.
We invite, with local partners, committed artists wishing to invest in this process of (re) cultural construction such as:
Ahmed El Attar (Arabic Focus, 2018), Kheireddinne Lardjam (Disintegration, 2019, with La Chartreuse), Julie Desprairies (Now So Close, 2019), Eric Minh Cuong Castaing (Centriphérie, 2020), Fred Nevché (Centriphérie, 2020),Thomas Hirshhorn (Monument Deleuze – 20 years, 2020)