“Culture is a link that flows through the whole university”

18/02/2021 | Nantes Culture

Emmanuelle Bousquet is beginning her second term as Vice-President for Culture at the University of Nantes.

What are the cultural values and aspirations for the University of Nantes? For Emmanuelle Bousquet, “campuses are places of  culture, and we need to keep building on the university's reputation and bringing together artists, researchers and the general public to build a common culture.

With the measures put in place to keep people safe on campus, such as a limited number of students, social distancing, and online workshops, the university's cultural activities were adapted during the first semester. What lessons can be learned from this for the future of culture on campus?

“During semester one, all of the events were adapted. In particular, the provision of online cultural content was grounded in the need for people to stay connected with one another. But these solutions are not sustainable, and these events cannot stay “remote” forever. Culture is something that must be experienced collectively and on campus.”

What values will guide the cultural directions of the University of Nantes over the next four years?

“I think it's important that culture plays a role in the University’s attractiveness and reputation, at both the regional level and beyond. The strong links we are creating with “Voyage à Nantes” and art schools, and our involvement in the European University of Well-being (EUniWell), are examples of this. These initial activities reinforce, on a different level, more university community-based activities which are one of our major missions. This policy contributes to the fabric of the university and the construction of its identity.“

What is the University of Nantes doing for student creation and creativity?

“The cultural and artistic practice workshops and the artist residencies help to develop and support student creation. But in my opinion, there are not enough open and accessible places where students have the freedom to experiment and create. The Turbulences Festival, which is dedicated to student creation and creativity, takes place every year in March. It is an example of collective strength and diversity of perspectives. This is extremely precious. And to stimulate this appetite for creation, we need artists who are present on campus; artists who bring a professional perspective to artistic practices but who also do research. So to stimulate student creation, we need more places and more artists.”

Tell us more about these wonderful cultural plans you’ve got in mind for the university?

“Imagine a project that would start in the campuses and flow into the whole city, showcasing the vitality and creativity of the university and its students. Sometimes we need to be more daring ... Wouldn’t it be great if we could create one huge project, a project that is bigger than each individual campus and that involves all of the EUniWell universities, for example. It would show that university communities can create social links, connect with people and mix audiences, even during difficult times. We are the Culture, we create the Culture, so let's share it.”