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The Centre Intermondes is the brainchild of the sociologist Jean Duvignaud who visualised it as a centre for the exchange of ideas among creative artists, having as its purpose the stimulation of public debate on issues of creativity and cultural policy. Revivng the ongoing practice of critical questioning is seen as essential to the very existence of democracy.

The city of La Rochelle has made available the premises of the Maison Henri II or the Hötel Pontard with its superb renaissance façade, and it is thanks to this support that the projet saw the light of day in 2004. Thus it has been possible to establish a cooperative structure providing for artists in residence, most of whom are not French, in association with personalities and organisations active in the cultural life of La Rochelle and its region of Poitou-Charentes. Among these there is a number of close and continuing partnerships such as those involving the regional dance centre as well as International film Festival, Jazz Festival etc.

The Centre Intermondes has been officially associated with the Maison des Cultures du Monde since 2006, with the City of La Rochelle, with Institut Français (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs) since 2008. Such links allow the Centre to be part of major national and international events and celebrations, as occurred this year with the ‘Saison de la Turquie en France’ (1 July 2009 – 31 March 2010) and continuing with ‘Namasté India’ in 2010-2011, for which artists in residence are invited from all discilplines.

Supported by such partnerships, about a hundred artists of different nationalities have been involved. Guy Martinière, President of the Centre Intermondes, writes : ‘International cultural exchanges are the raison d’être of the Centre Intermondes. Inviting artists of different nationalities to La Rochelle is one way of ensuring wide acknowledgment and recognition of our harbour city. From the point of view of the artists, whether local or regional, there is the opportunity for experimental work to develop and blossom. Writers, directors, both in the theatre and in the cinema, visual artists, actors, choreographers have all benefited. They have come from countries near France and indeed, from other continents. Switzerland, Canada, Lebanon, Senegal, Brazil, Austraia, India, China, Gabon, Iraq, Burkina Faso have all been represented here.’

The Centre Intermondes seeks to encourage and develop such exchanges, local, regional and international, with the aim of facilitating contemporary creativity in all forms of artistic expression, and thus to build bridges between cultures to the mutual enrichment of all.

There is no better conclusion to this review than the words of Guy Martinière, historian and honorary Dean of Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, University of La Rochelle, and President of the Centre Intermondes. Professor Martinière sums up our attitudes and objectives in theses words, ‘At a critical time like this, let us not turn inwards upon ourselves, rather let us open wide the doors to all the horizons of creativity’.

residents working space, Studio / Atelier

Centre Intermondes is a non-profit association founded in 2003.

Its board of Directors includes: Guy MARTINIÈRE (President), Charles ILLOUZ (Treasurer), Jean-Pierre HEINTZ (Secretary), Hélène DE FONTAINIEU, Catherine BENGUIGUI, Maxime BONO, Katia BOURDIN LAPLACE CLAVERIE, Delphine LAGACHE, Michel SABATIER, Arnaud JAULIN.

Creation, objectives, activities

Espace international de résidence artistique 
ouvert à toutes formes de création, de débats et de rencontres