Non-Profit Social Responsibility and the Festival d’Aix

Incorporated into its statutes since 2020, and now an integral part of its mission, the Festival’s social responsibility includes sustainable development, the fight against discrimination, and a defence of diversity.

In all aspects of its operations, the Festival is committed to defending and promoting its values in support of gender equality, diversity and the environment. Its Non-Profit Social Responsibility policy is implemented through a participative approach that involves all of the Festival’s stakeholders, thanks to insight provided by focus groups that include, on a voluntary basis, Festival employees who represent the overall diversity of the Festival staff.

GENDER EQUALITY — DIVERSITY

Among the priority projects driven by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence are gender equality and the defence of diversity, notably by way of:

  • An “Égalité Professionnelle Femmes / Hommes” (“Professional Gender Equality”) action plan, formalised and renewed yearly and based on a series of participatory discussions via a focus group devoted to Professional Equality. For 2021, this action plan has identified the measures to implement relative to recruitment. It sets the future goals for improving working conditions and the balance between professional and family life and responsibilities.
  • The Festival Académie and its Mediterranean Youth Orchestra (MYO), which are committed to gender equality, and to diversity in terms of origins and backgrounds. They also develop residencies devoted to career development among women artists and creators—in particular, with a residency dedicated to women opera makers, which has received support from the Creative Europe programme, and one devoted to women conductors.
  • A commitment against sexist and sexual violence at the workplace, which has led to the conception and broad distribution of a guide entitled “Reporting Sexist and Sexual Violence in the Workplace” (pdf). This guide, combined with an extensive training and awareness-raising plan, helps the entire permanent staff, seasonal and temporary workers, and artists better identify and react to situations of sexual and sexist violence in the workplace.
  • An internal project for reflection around the theme of disability, with the goal of facilitating the welcoming and integration of persons with disabilities among the staff, the artists and the audience.

 
ENVIRONMENT

  • The environment is another top priority that has been a part of the Festival’s global policy since 2010: elements include a Bilan Carbone© (carbon audit) of all its activities, the processing of waste generated by the Festival’s set construction workshops, and a revision of all set-production procedures to reduce their financial, environmental and human impact. The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence’s sets were the very first 100%–recyclable sets in the performing arts, and have been 100%–eco-designed since 2019. The Festival has also published the first “Guide Méthodologique de l’écoconception des décors” (“Methodological Guide to the Eco-Design of Sets”) (pdf, in French), created in partnership with Pôle Eco Design.
  • Today, the Festival’s set construction workshops rely on eco-friendly raw materials (e.g., cork instead of Styrofoam, and paper pulp instead of plaster). In addition, set design must now include end-of-life constraints from the outset, such as the possibility of separating materials that are subject to specific recycling procedures.
  • Thanks to this research work, the set of Carmen recorded a financial saving of 8% and a 15-metric-ton reduction in CO2 emissions compared to traditional designs. And in 2019, all decommissioned sets (i.e., Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni and Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno) enjoyed a second life by serving as scenographic elements for public spaces throughout the Sud Provence–Alpes–Côte d’Azur region.
  • In 2021, the Festival has made the development of waste- and energy-management procedures a top priority.

 

EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INITIATIVES

Audience diversity is one of the core missions of the Festival d’Aix. Since 2007, its educational and socio-artistic department (Passerelles) has addressed these concerns by offering a wide range of mediation initiatives, music workshops, and participatory projects with schools, non-profits and stakeholders in the social, medico-social, healthcare and penal spheres. All participants are then invited to experience an opera or a concert during the Festival.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

The Festival guarantees specialized attention for persons with disabilities, including adapted seating in the theatre for a maximum audio and visual comfort.

  • More than 540 tickets over all performances of the 2021 edition of the Festival, at the special price of €30 for operas and €25 for concerts, have been reserved for persons in wheelchairs and their companions.
  • In collaboration with the association Accès Culture, two opera performances in audio-description are being offered at the special price of €30 for eligible festivalgoers and their companions. This technique enhances the listening experience and helps feed the imagination of blind or visually impaired audience members by live-streaming descriptive information through wireless headsets. Tactile tours of sets conducted before performances allow participants to become familiar with the scenic space. In addition, sensory tours are developed in partnership with the Musée Granet, combining plastic arts and opera/music around a chosen theme.
  • Festival performances are surtitled in French and English. Amplifying headphones are also available at the Théâtre de l’Archevêché and the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume for every evening performance.

Based on these commitments and values, shared by all, the Festival has embarked on a process and obtained AFNOR certification in 2021 in support of professional gender equality.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Eco-Friendly Festival-Goer

Eco-Friendly Festival-Goer Charter (pdf)
City map showing the Festival d'Aix venues (pdf)

Responsible transport

Using public transport with Le Pilote (the last Cartreize network bus leaves Aix bus station for Marseille at 11.35 p.m.)
or with PACA Mobilité (last TER local train leaves Aix-en-Provence station for Marseille at 10.40 p.m.)
By carpooling with the Aix Automobile Club

COFEES
Ecologically Responsible and Solidarity Festivals Collective in the Region SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

The Festival d’Aix is a founding member of the Cofees group

Since 2014, 16 of the most emblematic performance arts events in the Sud, Provence–Alpes–Côte d'Azur region have joined forces to create a new and unique initiative—the COFEES collective—in order to propose concrete and innovative actions in environmental and social matters, by adapting the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) ISO 26000 norm to their professional activity. This voluntary commitment is meant to raise awareness and to encourage cultural festivals to institute responsible practices, by exchanging knowledge, sharing means, and reducing their environmental impact, while still favouring dialog and collaboration between local stakeholders and local governments. Indeed, cultural events need to affirm their role as leaders in civic rights.
These festivals are held in six different departments of the Région Sud, and are centred around a variety of artistic disciplines:

Les Envies Rhônements (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Marsatac (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Festival Nuits Carrées (Alpes-Maritimes)
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Festival d’Avignon (Vaucluse)
Festival OFF d’Avignon (Vaucluse)
Les Suds, à Arles (Bouches du Rhône)
Les Escales du Cargo (Bouches du Rhône)
Festival de Chaillol (Hautes Alpes)
Cooksound Festival (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
Festival Zik Zac (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Festival International de Piano de La Roque d’Anthéron (Bouches du Rhône)
Festival Résonance (Vaucluse)
Les Plages Electroniques (Alpes-Maritimes)
Festival Mimi (Bouches-du-Rhône)

Futher information about COFEES

with the support of

Développement durable