Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Director of the French Institute in India, presents Villa Swagatam

Villa Swagatam joins other French residences abroad such as Villa Albertine in the United States, Villa Kujoyama in Japan, Villa Saigon in Vietnam, or Villa Médicis and Nouveau Grand Tour in Italy. What is special about Villa Swagatam?

There are two particularities, which we may find in other things network residence, but a particularly strong one at Villa Swagatam. On the one hand, we subject ourselves to a logic of reciprocity. NOW One network from 16 partner residences formed on the Indian side, we let’s work to identify residence in France ready to welcome Indian winners based on the same specifications. On the other hand, this system is basically based on the residence itself, with whom we choose the occupants, And who then takes care of welcoming them and accompanying them during their stay. Our added value as a French Institute located in the ability, thanks to our network, to ensure high visibility for group calls for applications, etc, to attract the best of French contemporary creation in India, and vice versa. Additionally, we will maintain long-term relationships with all winners to bring this community to life. which will ultimately become a breeding ground for IFI’s cultural collaboration activities.

The first call for applications closes at the end of May. It concerns artistic crafts, performing arts and literary creation. Can you explain this option to us?

We are looking for themes that have long been a tradition of excellence between the two countries. India is a country with immense talent in the field of textiles and crafts and this is in line with France’s excellence in the field of fashion and design. The performing arts is also a sector that plays a very important role in both of our societies, through theatre, dance and music. Even today, these sometimes spontaneous practices, interacting with public space, reflect great regional diversity. Not to mention that India and France are two countries that have festival traditions. Lastly, French publishers are increasingly taking interest in Indian literature and this trend is also visible in India where we have done a lot of work in translating and publishing French literature into Indian languages. Cross-border invitations from France and India to receive awards at the Paris and Delhi book fairs in 2022 and 2023 demonstrate the vitality of the sector. Therefore, we are at a very interesting moment, where the same curiosity from our two countries growing in these 3 sectors.

Serena Hoyles

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