Call for Creation of the National Center for Exhibition in France

Une salle de l'UCCA dans le District 798 de Pékin

On May 12, the XPO Federation published a column in Le Monde  calling for the creation of a National Centre for Exhibition on the model of the CNC, the CNL or the CNM. An autonomous public agency, at the crossroads of the ministries concerned. Its mission? To support the entire exhibition chain (private and public) at all levels: national and international monitoring, dialogue between trades, public/private, training, guidelines on good practices, pooling of resources, management of the sector’s international relations, etc.

The National Centre for Exhibition becomes the reference, the “French Expo”, a bridge between the players and, in fact, acts as an accelerator of the changes underway in the world of culture and education.

The role of the NCE (CNE)

The non-exhaustive and evolving list of professions concerned, in both public and private organizations, is as follows: cultural actors from local authorities, national institutions, museums, heritage sites, public and private exhibition producers, curators, exhibition curators, exhibition managers, mediators, historians, scientists, researchers, professionals in education and training in exhibition-related professions, architects, technical design offices, conservation specialists, interpretive planners, scenographers, exhibit designers, lighting designers, graphic designers, sound designers, audiovisual, multimedia and digital engineers, digital audiovisual producers, equipment operators, iconographers, documentalists, manufacturing and equipment companies, mount designers, translators, art transporters, insurers…

As an autonomous public agency, the NCE represents the entire exhibition ecosystem and defends its diversity and professionalism, both in France and internationally. It acts in concert with public and private cultural institutions, local authorities, federations, associations and unions in the trades concerned. It works in conjunction with the Ministries of Culture, Finance, Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Foreign Affairs and Territorial Cohesion.

The three missions of the NCE

1- The NCE supports and federates the French exhibition industry (cultural institutions, local authorities, designers, companies, training organizations, etc.) in order to boost it both nationally and internationally.  It promotes the sector’s societal, ecological and digital transition.

2- The NCE encourages and mutualizes exchanges between the different professions and territories. It defines and guarantees the good professional practices of all players.

3- The NCE monitors and supports research in the field of exhibition, particularly in terms of audience practices, innovation and experimentation in France and internationally. It collaborates with university and professional training organizations.

Are you also a supporter of the National Centre for Exhibition project?

Become a signatory of this call by sending us an email at

Indicate in the body of the email your first name, last name, function, employer (in this order, with commas in lower case on one line, thank you in advance)You can also share your ideas about the NCE in your email.

And spread the hashatg #CNexposition

Temporary and permanent exhibitions : “We are a sector of excellence, let’s make it dynamic, let’s reinvent the museum for everyone! »

Une salle de l'UCCA dans le District 798 de Pékin

Published in Le Monde, 12 May 2020

In a forum at “Le Monde“, exhibition  creators *, who are in great economic difficulty due to the Covid-19 epidemic, call on the public authorities to create a National Center for Exhibition, modelled on the National Center for Cinema, to promote their know-how.

Collective. The closure of museums, exhibitions and monuments since 17 March has highlighted the extent to which these places are essential to our cities and to the construction of social ties. Places of creation, acquisition of knowledge and encounters, they are levers for reflection and transformation of our societies. They work in a less visible way than cinema, shows or books.

Who knows the credits of the exhibitions “De l’amour” at the Palais de la Découverte, or “Christian Dior, couturier du rêve” at the Musée des arts décoratifs, the renovation of the Musée des beaux-arts in Dijon or the creation of the Cité du vin in Bordeaux, all blockbusters? The quality of our specific artistic and technical know-how is recognised worldwide. But we have no star-system or festival.

Shadow jobs

Behind these temporary and permanent exhibitions, there is an ecosystem of creative companies that collaborate with major French and international cultural institutions, as well as with “small museums.

Upstream, as interpretive planners, scenographers, graphic designers, multimedia and lighting designers, we give “body” to an idea, we interpret the thinking of a public or private client. Our mission is of public utility: to deploy works in space to make visitors feel their essence, to move them, to transmit a historical, scientific or artistic message.

In the same way as in the cinema, a director works with a team to stage a scenario, we create, with the client, the artistic principles of “monstration”. Like a film, the exhibition is a collaborative work. Then, as production managers, we supervise a chain of trades that materialize it: interior design contractors, display showcases contractors, specialists in audiovisual and lighting equipment, as well as mount designers, fitters, printers, decorators, transporters, and so on.

Gathered since 2019 within the Federation of exhibition creators XPO, we are trades in the shadows. When President Macron met with cultural professionals on May 6, there were no participants representing the museum and exhibition sector. Today, however, we are in a state of immense fragility. Most of us are heads of very small enterprises (VSEs), with no intermittent system.

The General Assembly for Exhibition

We are dependent on public contracts with increasingly low margins, while the implementation of projects is becoming more complex (increase in digital mediation devices, taking into account eco-construction, taking into account the risks and safety of the works and the public, reducing deadlines, etc.). On 15 November 2019, during the professional day on “Exhibition professions” organised with the Ministry of Culture, we were already sounding the alarm on the evolution and growing instability of our professions.

The health crisis could be fatal to many structures. Like all our colleagues in the cultural industry, we no longer have visibility: delayed openings, cancelled or postponed seasons or programmes, postponed public contracts, deleted budgets… So what can we do? Wait for the collapse?

On the contrary, this shutdown forces us to project ourselves into the future. We have inherited exhibition venues, designed in the 19th and 20th centuries: it is time to make them participative, interactive, sustainable… Whereas elsewhere, we collaborate agile, in co-creation, we always work with the sponsors in a pyramidal, siloed way, via a bureaucracy that takes precedence over the projects themselves. We are a sector of excellence: let’s make it dynamic, let’s reinvent the museum for everyone and for tomorrow!

We call on the public players to organise a general meeting on the Exhibition in order to think up a “New Deal” together.

Two subjects seem to us to be pivotal to this renewal.

An accelerator of our mutation

The first is the relationship of our sector with the public authorities. The “Exhibitions” sector is at the confluence of four ministries: culture, foreign affairs (in charge of tourism), finance (which is responsible for the instructions for using public procurement) and territorial cohesion.

As a result, we have no interlocutor to discuss our issues as a whole. One example: our creativity is put to the test through public procurement contracts as if it were a matter of buying reams of paper. In this quest for the lowest rather than the highest bidder, our industry is becoming poorer in the face of better armed foreign competitors. Bercy’s lawyers do not understand the specificities of our creative professions. And the Ministry of Culture is not a specialist in the public procurement code. As a result, they pass the buck without making a decision.

We are therefore calling for the creation of a National Center for Exhibition on the model of the National Center for Cinema and Moving Images (CNC), the National Book Center (CNL) or the National Music Center (CNM). An autonomous public agency, at the crossroads of the ministries concerned.

Its mission? To support the entire exhibition chain (private and public) at all levels: monitoring (non-existent today on a national and international scale), inter-business, public/private dialogue, training (university and professional), guidelines on good practices, pooling of resources, management of the sector’s international relations, etc. The National Center for Exhibition could become the reference, the “French Expo”, a bridge between the players and, in fact, act as an accelerator of our change.

Increasingly large audiences

The second requirement in the face of the crisis is to question the role of museums and exhibitions in tomorrow’s world. This is a vast question that we are all already asking, and the health crisis has shed a pale light on it. In recent decades we have witnessed an exponential growth in the size and quantity of exhibitions. Ever more spectacular, more numerous… and ever shorter: XXL was the watchword (while design and production budgets were greatly reduced by this inflation). The aim of this race was to attract a vast public, both French and foreign, from which we would make a profit from tourism in the process. It seems that it is no longer relevant.

Nevertheless, culture must remain a pivot of France’s future. The exhibition is an intellectual and artistic medium, just like a stage performance. It conveys a message, depending on the case, political, humanist, citizen, scientific. It reaches an increasingly wide audience, of all generations: 39% of French people have been to a museum in the last twelve months and 54% have visited a historical monument (while “only” 33% have visited a public library).

Let’s take the French taste for culture and turn it into a performance lever. Tomorrow’s exhibition must be a place of acculturation open to all, in dialogue between generations, braving social, language and knowledge inequalities. It must remain a place of conviviality and sharing, providing emotions, questioning and entertainment.

We do not know when foreign tourists will return to France. Let us commit ourselves to our fellow citizens. Do the norms of social distancing make large exhibitions impractical and question small, poorly endowed museums? Let’s design exhibitions that are more adjusted and more sustainable, in particular through eco-design and itinerancy, by thinking about their digital counterpart or by including the public in the design of the exhibition. These are all “revolutions” that the Estates General can instigate and for which the National Center for Exhibition would be the conductor. Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, proposed to “re-found the French model with art and culture”. We are ready to contribute to this.

*XPO, Federation of Exhibition Creators, affiliated to the CINOV Federation (Federation of Trade Unions for the Intellectual Services of Consulting, Engineering and Digital), and comprising: the Association Les Muséographes, the Association Professionnelle des Muséographes, the Association Scenographers, the Union of Scenographers (UDS), the Association of Light and Lighting Designers (ACE), the Association of Producers of Digital Experiments (PXN).

Signatories : Ali Akbari, muséographe ; François Aulas, muséographe, Abaque ; Laurence Bagot, productrice, narrative ; Estelle Basalo, scénographe ; Alain Batifoulier, scénographe Tovar ; Luc Bonnin, directeur, Scarabée ; Carole Benaiteau, muséographe ; Thierry Bertomeu, designer sonore, Nova Pista ; Anne Bourdais, muséographe ; Gilles Boustani, auteur-réalisateur producteur, AnimaViva Productions ; Michel Brand’Honneur, muséographe ; Martial Brard, auteur-réalisateur, Cent Millions de Pixels ; Jean-Jacques Bravo, scénographe ; Loeïza Cabaret, conceptrice lumière, Ombrages ; Richard Caratti-Zarytkiewicz, concepteur lumière, éducateur ; Sylvie Carlier, productrice, AnimaViva Productions ; Sara Castagné, conceptrice lumière, Concepto ; Pierre Cattan, producteur, Small Bang ; Renaud Chabrier, auteur et réalisateur, Nova Pista ; Frédéric Chauvaux, scénographe, Point de Fuite ; Nawel Creach-Dehouche, conceptrice lumière, Cosil Peutz Lighting Design ; Cécile Cros, productrice, narrative ; Stéphanie Daniel, conceptrice lumière ; Guillaume Darcourt, producteur-réalisateur, Fleur de papier ; Romain Déflache, producteur-réalisateur, Fleur de papier ; Cécile Degos, scénographe ; Emilie Delanne, scénographe, Græphème ; Olivier Demangeat, muséographe ; Simon Deschamps, scénographe lumière ; Charlotte Didier, productrice, Cent Millions de Pixels ; Camille Dugas, scénographe ; Laurent Duret, producteur, Bachibouzouk ; Lydia Elhadad, muséographe ; Jean-Jacques Ezrati, éclairagiste conseil ; Clémence Farrell, scénographe, Agence Clémence Farrell ; Jérôme Fihey, auteur et producteur, Le Crabe Fantôme ; Astrid Fontaine, muséographe ; Franck Fortecoëf, scénographe ; Loretta Gaitis, scénographe ; Dany Gandon, scénographe, scenorama ; Laura Gaudenzi, muséographe ; Noëlle Giraud-Sauveur, productrice associée, Dikdak ; Laurence Giuliani, productrice, Akken ; Pascal Goblot, auteur-réalisateur & producteur, Escalenta ; Maud Gouy, muséographe ; François Gschwind, concepteur lumière ACE, atelier du crépuscule ; Jean-Paul Haure, artiste-auteur scénographe ; Caroline Impergre, muséographe, agence Azimuse ; Akari-Lisa Ishii, concepteur lumière, I.C.O.N. ; Henri Joaquim, scénographe, La Fabrique Créative ; Mélinée Kambilo, scénographe, Abaque ; Marianne Klapish, scénographe, Klapisch Claisse ; François Klein, producteur, Digital Rise ; Michel Kouklia, scénographe, Ubiscene ; Laurent Laidet, muséographe ; Olivier Lambert, auteur-réalisateur-producteur, Lumento ; Emmanuel Landas, muséographe, Cultures et Territoires ; Amélie Lebleu, designer, studio Lebleu ; Claire Lebouteiller, productrice, Drôle de Trame ; Gilbert Leguay, conseil en assurances et responsabilité, Passages ; Yvonnick Le Fustec, directeur des productions, Muséomaniac ; Virginie Lemaistre, muséographe ; Agnès Levillain, muséographe, Sens de visite ; Xavier Limagne, muséographe ; Régis Lindeperg, graphiste d’exposition, La fabrique créative ; Aurélie Linxe, muséographe ; Jean-Jacques Lonni, producteur associé, Dikdak ; Suzie Maccario, muséographe, Agence Ame en Science ; Philippe Maffre, scénographe ; Marc Mamane, producteur, Sim & Sam ; Nicolas Mangeot, muséographe, Exploradôme ; Cécile Massot, muséographe, Abaque ; Miene Mathon, scénographe, développeure Erasmus + ; Marie-Laure Mehl, scénographe, Mehl’usine Conseils ; Pauline Mercier, scénographe ; Virginie Nicolas, conceptrice lumière, Concepto ; Pascal Payeur, scénographe, expositif ; Floriane Perot, muséographe ; Elise Petitpez, muséographe ; Omer Pesquer, consultant ‘culture + numérique’; Virginie Pivard, muséographe, La boîte à outils ; Flora Ploquin, muséographe, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle ; Marion Ploquin, muséographe ; Jérôme Politi, muséographe ; Jean-Christophe Ponce, scénographe, scénorama ; Laurence Pustetto, scénographe, Atelier Pustetto ; Nathalie Puzenat, muséographe ; Luc Reder, producteur, Chuck Productions ; Adeline Rispal, scénographie, Studio Adeline Rispal ; Marine Rocher, muséographe, Multiples ; Antoine Roland, ingénierie culturelle, Correspondances Digitales ; Myriam Rose, scénographe ; Henri Rouvière, scénographe, Arscenes ; Emmanuel Rouillier, designer interactif, Mosquito ; Nadine Salabert, muséographe ; Raymond Sarti, scénographe ; Aurore Soares, muséographe, Narrations plurielles ; Marina Simon-Gallé, muséographe ; Thibault Sinay, scénographe ; Adrien Stalter, muséographe ; Anne Stephan, muséographe ; Audrey Tenaillon, scenographe, masKarade ; Isabelle Thomas, productrice, Escalenta ; Martine Thomas-Bourgneuf, muséographe ; Timothé Toury, concepteur lumière ; Pierre Verger, scénographe ; Victor Vieillard, concepteur lumière, Studio by Night ; Agnès Vincent, muséographe conceptrice multimédia.

Conference Adeline Rispal – HEAD Geneva February 16th at 17h30 ” Scenography of our needs”

During a scenography workshop at HEAD – Geneva, organized by Victor Durschei from February 16th to 20th, Adeline Rispal will give a conference “Scenography of our needs”.




Scenographers Symposium – Oct. 31, 2014

The Scenographers Symposium focussing on the topic “One Object – Many Visions – EuroVision“ will be held as a prelude to the Young Scenographers Contest. It will take place the 31st of October 2014 at Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany.

The symposium will serve as a discussion platform and source for inspiration. The EMEE partners will introduce the topic and the aim of the contest and internationally renowed speakers from different creative disciplines will be invited to contribute and to exchange ideas of contemporary, holistic exhibition design and scenography. The symposium language will be English.

Please register for the symposium by completing the registration form online no later than 30th of September 2014. There is also the possibility of group registrations for university students or interdisciplinary teams. The online registration forms will be online by 1st of September. Since there is only a limited amount of places please understand that places will be awarded in the order in which registrations are received.

Please find more detailed information about the event starting 15th of September 2014.

Young Scenographers Contest

EuroVision – Museums Exhibiting Europe

The Young Scenographers Contest is part of the project EMEE – EuroVision: Museums Exhibiting Europe. EMEE is a European museum development project for national and regional museums. It is being realised between 2012 and 2016 and funded by the Culture Programme of the European Commission. The project explores an innovative, interdisciplinary approach for museums to reinterpret their objects in the broader context of European history. New means of presentation, participation and staging aim at enabling visitors to gain access to transnational objects and European perspectives. An international and trans-disciplinary team consisting of scientists, museum experts, cultural workers and designers is working towards this objective. The Young Scenographers Contest as part of the EMEE project wants to involve also young and ambitious designers and let them contribute with their creative, innovative ideas.

EMEE Coordinator:
Chair of History Didactics, University of Augsburg, Germany

EMEE Project Partners:
ATELIER BRÜCKNER GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany
National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria
University Paris-Est Créteil – ESPE, Paris, France
University Roma Tre, Rome, Italy
National Museum of Archaeology, Lisbon, Portugal
National Museum of Contemporary History, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Monochrom Kunstverein, Vienna, Austria

Soft power and emerging museology

Text: Serge Renimel

Resplandor y Soledad de Cai Guo Qiang
Resplandor y Soledad de Cai Guo Qiang. Photo : Carlos Alcocer by-nc-nd –

How long further the new lords of the world will need our talents?

Since the end of the past century, museum professionnals witness, and sometimes take an active part in a kind of ‘museological conquest of Asia’ which is unambiguously moved by our cultural imperialism. Since a half millenium, the world conquest by the four major imperial powers of Europe launched and consolidated globalization, and financed their golden ages. Today the faithfully cloned historical pattern of trading and cultural colonization of the mid- and far-eastern areas stays, although on a much more symbolic scale.

Presently, european expeditions no longer roam the Indian Ocean onboard of kraekships or of galions, as their modest avatars ‘don’t rock the boat’: nowadays, they fly in business class and enjoy substancial fees, but they are still focusing mainly on the same continental areas. In the field of exhibitions and museums, the occidental governments or big institutions delegate museum professionals as diplomatic agents, mainly to facilitate the globalization of our cultural stereotypes. From China and the East Indies, up to the Arabian Gulf, many european freelance adventurers are hunting business profits as a first priority. They attempt to negociate deals for art exhibitions which were initially produced for a very restricted fraction of european and north american audiences, but whose financial balance on their domestic markets is increasingly risky now. Continue reading

These objects which connect us to the others

Text: Adeline Rispal

IMAGE : Caida visualization tools
IMAGE : Caida visualization tools

When I wrote this paper late 2010 for the ICMAH conference in Shanghai “Original – Copy – Fake / On the significance of the object in history and archaeology museums”, headed by the historian and curator Marie-Paule Jungblut, we where working on a competition for the Musée-Cité of Economy and Currency for the Bank of France in Paris. In this project, as in any other, what we where attempting to highlight in the museum spaces was the complexity of human mechanics. It was the opportunity to think about the notions of value and exchange.
Continue reading