How Cultural Institutions Create Public Spaces

1st September 2018


Galerie Romain Rolland I Alliance Française de Delhi

72, KK Birla Lane, Lodi Estate,

New Delhi – 110003

Institut Français in India and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhawan in collaboration with Alliance Française de Delhi, is organising a public discussion titled ‘How cultural institutions create public spaces’.

How cultural institutions produce, create and develop public space, is a pressing question. Public space, as it is understood here, means both the physical space where citizens can freely gather and meet and the metaphoric space, synonymous of freedom of expression and speech, where everybody can dialogue and debate. Public space must provide the opportunity for a non-regimented exchange of opinions and the enjoyment of basic civil rights.

Cultural institutions are precisely involved in these two dimensions. By opening their doors and presenting programmes in the heart of the city, they invest public space and transform it into an area open to circulation of ideas, creativity and debates, where artists are welcomed to present their singular view on our society. At the same time, they serve as institutions for education and reflection, discourse and entertainment. Designed as open spaces where ideas and artistic disciplines come together, mix and mingle, they also re-create public space inside their walls by encouraging debates and discussions. While the organisation of artistic events in public space is getting more and more challenging due to the increase of security constraints, cultural institutions present an interesting alternative as new open spaces which encourage the circulation of ideas and exchanges among citizens.

The event is divided into two parts.

An internal workshop will held in the afternoon, on the day of the discussion, comprising 12 experts who will discuss how cultural institutions create public spaces. Institut Français India and Max Mueller Bhawan have invited directors of public institutions and arts schools, heads of private museums and festivals, artists, scholars and journalists to participate in the workshop.

In the evening, Frédéric Mazelly will give a presentation on 'How cultural institutions can create public spaces'. The presentation will be followed by a discussion between him and Smriti Rajgarhia, Director of Serendipity Arts Foundation, on the subject of art in public spaces. The discussion will be moderated by Aman Sethi, a renowned journalist.



Frédéric Mazelly works as the Artistic Director for the Parc and the Grande Halle de La Villette, the largest urban cultural park in Paris. He has been running the cultural season of La Villette since 2007 and has put a lot of effort into opening up the cultural programme for a variety of art forms and new public, in particular those who do not have easy access to art. As Project Manager-Program at la Villette between 2000 and 2007, he has initiated different festivals and many outdoor projects oriented towards fine arts, world music and art in public space.