Culture, Heritage and Diversity

Projects and policies that help to make Lyon a lively cultural city

Like other large European cities, Lyon is therefore multicultural and faced with the consequent issues, such as:

    · How to maintain and improve social and urban cohesion throughout the metropolitan area, when communities are liable to turn in on themselves and cause a breakdown in geographical continuity;
    · How to make the diversity of the city’s inhabitants into an asset that enhances its influence and development;
    · How to ensure that each person is valued, regardless of his or her social background, ethnic origin, religion or gender, when some people are “invisible” or over-represented;
    · How to guarantee equal opportunities and fair treatment and change people's perceptions of other people, when discrimination is still commonplace;
    · How to involve everyone in community development;
    · How to ensure that intercultural dialogue can be established across the whole city, by changing the way people see those who are different from them.

In addition to the successive national polices on integration, the City of Lyon has, since the turn of the century, tested and developed local policies in the municipality and metropolitan area by means of various approaches.

These experiments have yet to be shared and compared with those of other large European cities. They could also usefully serve as a basis for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to diversity and interculturalism in all local public policies.

The main thrusts of the local policies pursued are:

A. An “equality task force” to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities
The City of Lyon’s “equality task force” is the result of a proposal by the GIPIV (“Action Group for City Integration”).

The task force supports the services of the City of Lyon and local initiatives in combating all forms of discrimination, by devising or consolidating measures in this area.

One of the most important aspects of its work is helping to implement the proposals put forward by the GIPIV in its reports on employment (2004) and housing (2006). It can also draw on the work of the Conseil des Résidents Etrangers lyonnais (Council of Foreign Residents in Lyon) and the Conseil Lyonnais pour le Respect des Droits (Lyon Rights Council).

In addition, the “equality task force” is the initiator and co-ordinator of an action plan linked to the “charte de la diversité dans l’entreprise” (“charter for diversity in the workplace”).

This was signed by the City of Lyon on 3 October 2005, and commits the city, together with the businesses that signed it, to promoting and respecting the principles of diversity and non-discrimination at every level of human resource management. The City of Lyon is the first French municipality to have signed such a charter.

B. Provision for diversity in contractual urban and social cohesion policies

The Lyon metropolitan area and the City of Lyon undertook in the Contrat Urbain de Cohésion Sociale (Urban Social Cohesion Contract), along with the local authorities and the government, to foster diversity policies, as a driving force for the development of the area and in order to reduce social and economic discrepancies.

The Contrat Urbain de Cohésion Sociale sets out three strategic challenges:
- To make the most of the development potential of the communities concerned;
- To pursue and extend a diversity strategy;
- To reduce discrepancies, address migrant integration and combat discrimination.

In addition, the section of the Contract concerning culture gives priority to measures to take account of diversity.

C. Provision for diversity in local policy concerning culture and the arts

The City of Lyon sets great store by providing for diversity, in all its forms, in local cultural policy, ensuring diversity in cultural events, a diversity of audiences, and a variety of suitably adapted public services, designed with the help of the cultural, artistic, “socio-cultural” and educational sectors, politicians, institutions and the relevant associations.

This project has led, in practice, to:
The establishment of facilities for holding discussions at local level;

    · “Nos cultures de la Ville” (“Our town cultures”) days, on 27, 28 and 29 June 2007, based on the theme of “cultural and artistic policies in the age of diversity”, they were prepared in partnership with the European cultural network Banlieues d’Europe and attracted nearly 250 people;
    · The ENCATC (European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centres) workshops in Lyon on 27 and 28 March 2007, held in partnership with the Université Lumière Lyon II and the association Cités et Gouvernements locaux unis (United Cities and Local Governments), on the theme “The Agenda 21 for culture: Towards a new cultural governance”;
    · Involvement of the various cultural amenities through a Cultural Co-operation Charter, in which a new approach to the inclusion of diversity has been incorporated for the 2007-2009 period;
    · Diversification of the music festivals on offer (the world cultural festival, “le 6ème continent” (“the 6th Continent”), the South American music festival, “Y salsa”, the electronic music festival, “les nuits sonores”, the hip-hop festival, “l’original”, among others);
    · Schemes to conjure up memories of immigration, the development of the city and the influx of people into the social housing estates.

D The growing number of local schemes based on a grass-roots approach to interculturalism

    · Centre des Musiques Traditionelles Rhône-Alpes (Centre for Traditional Rhône-Alpes Music) / Musical map of Les pentes de la croix-rousse and La Guillotière: An ethnological project designed to identify the musical practices and songs of the inhabitants and different communities in a district of the city. The project concerns both sacred and profane music, and is designed to distinguish and highlight the cultural identities that exist in a particular area. The information obtained is archived. A public presentation has been organised. The idea is to pass these practices on from one community to another, so as to foster interculturalism.

    · Café partage in La Duchère : Inhabitants of the La Duchère neighbourhood, which is being redeveloped, meet in a café to discuss marriage customs, cuisine and traditional clothing. The local social and cultural amenities, an artist and an ethnologist are involved in the project, which appeals to young and “old” inhabitants alike.

    · Groupe Abraham Duchère : A regular meeting of Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish community representatives. In addition to spiritual and religious matters, this group has occasionally intervened in the neighbourhood at times of urban tension in order to dispense messages of peace.

(Many other examples of schemes could be given here, such as the “6th Continent” intercultural forum, La Maison des Passages and the Arabic poetry workshops held in the context of the association Gertrude II’s Noir sur Blanc project.)