Institut Français Programmes and Project

How can I participate in the Seasons or Cross Years?


  • What is the difference between Seasons, Years and Festivals?

The term "Season" is both the generic term used by the Institut français to describe this model of cultural engineering, and the most common of its three formats:

  • Years usually last 10 to 12 months;
  • Seasons usually last 5 to 8 months;
  • Festivals usually last 2 to 4 months.

A “Season” can be shared simultaneously or consecutively between the two countries (e.g. The France-China, France-Brazil, France-Russia and France-Korea Years). 

The Tandems format, inaugurated in 2011 with the City of Paris (The Paris-Buenos Aires, Paris-Berlin, Dakar-Paris, Paris-London, and Paris-New York Tandems) promotes City-to-City dialogue, over a year or through a festival.

  • Does a Season always have a General Commissioner?

No, not always. The appointment of a Commissioner to lead a Season depends on a number of criteria, particularly the format chosen. The General Commissioners (and, where appropriate, the Seasons Chair) are appointed via a joint proposal from the Institut français, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The partner country is then also invited to appoint a General Commissioner who will work closely with his or her French counterpart.

  • Who are the operators of the Seasons?

As an operator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development for the State’s external cultural activity, the Institut français is responsible for organising the Seasons on the French side, and more specifically the Seasons Division. The latter is made up of around ten people who are experts in the different disciplines concerned: performance arts and cultural industries, visual arts, heritage exhibitions, cinema, education, books, research, academic cooperation, sport, economy, gastronomy and communication (see the organizational chart). 

The partner country is also invited to appoint an operator and/or an operational team that will work closely with the Seasons Division.

  • How does decision-making work?

The Seasons are an exercise in bilateral cultural diplomacy. All decisions are therefore made jointly by France and the partner country, through daily dialogue between the Commissions and the operators.

Meetings (Joint Organising Committees) are held regularly, alternately in France and in the partner country. Over three days of technical meetings, they bring together operators from both countries, their associated ministries and the other ministries concerned. It is in this context that applications for labelling, the progress of the programming, the major deadlines, the political agendas, the financing of projects and the communication strategy are examined.

  • Does the planning of foreign Seasons in France cover all disciplines and the entire French territory?

Not always. It all depends on the priorities of the partner country, which can choose to favour a particular discipline to support to its own communication strategy in France, or to focus on certain regions which align with the goals of its international cooperation.



  • What does labelling mean?

Labelling is a joint exercise, conducted within the formal framework of technical meetings between the French operator and its foreign counterparts.

The projects submitted are assessed by the sector-specific officers of the Seasons Division (and possibly by the project managers of other Institut français departments) and submitted for approval by the French General Commissioner.

If the project is approved, the General Commission will suggest it for labelling by the General Commission of the partner country, which will in turn evaluate it, according to its own selection criteria.

Labelling allows a project to be part of the official programming of the Season. In this respect, it benefits from the overall communication campaign of the Season (particularly the website). The labelling is made official by the sending of a letter sent from the General Commissioner to the project leader.

It also creates an obligation for the project leader: they must affix certain logos to all communications documents published as part of the approved project (at a minimum the logo of the Season, the Institut français and its associated ministries, the foreign operator and its own associated ministries). It also requires the project leader to have its tools approved by the Communication Department of the Institut français's Seasons Division, and to provide the Seasons Division with copies of all media published in this context.

Under no circumstances does the designation result in a right to funding from the Institut français, the Committee of Season Sponsors, or any other partner.

  • What are the criteria for labelling?

The labelling criteria are defined jointly with the partner country, and vary from one season to the next depending on the communications strategies chosen and the image the country wishes to project of itself.

Please note, however, that labelling is only granted to viable projects, i.e. projects which are financed (or have a solid financing plan), and have a host institution, specific dates and partners identified in the partner country.

Projects which remain uncertain may be rejected pending further information.

As a general rule, projects carried out in co-production with the partner country, highlighting contemporary creation, involving the younger generations or, in the case of a Cross Season, existing in both countries are prioritised.

  • How can I submit a project for labelling?

You can submit a project by filling out a labelling request, available on the pages dedicated to each of the Seasons in progress or in preparation.

Please complete your labelling application as fully as possible so that, in coordination with the partner country, we can process your application as soon as possible.

  • What are the deadlines for labelling?

The labelling deadlines vary depending on the frequency of the meetings of the Joint Organising Committees and the accuracy of the information provided in the labelling requests. It is recommended that you submit your requests at the latest one month before the Joint Committee meetings, the dates of which may be communicated on the pages devoted to each of the Seasons in progress or in preparation.

  • Does labelling involve funding?

No, these are two separate questions. Labelling is the registration of your project in the official programme. It does not grant any right to funding from the Institut français, the Sponsors’ Committee if one exists or any other partner.

Depending on their format, not all Seasons have equal sources of funding, and not all receive any private funding.

Any requests for financial support must be sent to the Institut français and the General Commission at the time of submission of the labelling form. The decision to allocate financial support is the responsibility of the General Commission, the Institut français and the partner country, according to guiding rules and jointly defined criteria.

In any case, any support granted by the Institut français related to the Seasons is not in the form of grants, but rather as “project aid” (paid for a service provided and on submission the expense receipts) which is intended to ensure a certain level of financing for a project leader. This support is earmarked for very specific items of expenditure which meet the administrative rules to which the Institut français is subject as a public institution. They are subject to contracts which very precisely set out the obligations of the project holder receiving the aid, in particular regarding communication, compensation and justification of expenses.

Under no circumstances may the Institut français be the producer of an event and therefore finance it in its entirety.

  • My project is labelled: how can I update my information?

In order for the Institut français's Seasons Division to have the most accurate information for the informational documents which they are required to publish (in particular the website dedicated to the Season), we invite you to regularly update your labelling form and send a completed version to us.

The Institut français Seasons Division Communication Department is at your disposal to answer any further questions (contact).



  • What is the Sponsors Committee?

Some Seasons benefit from the creation of a Sponsors Committee, which works in close collaboration with the General Commission and the Institut français teams. Some of the labelled projects may potentially receive financial support, depending on their quality and the interest they hold for the companies which are members of the Sponsors Committee.

The decision to allocate financial assistance is the sole responsibility of the Sponsors Committee following a proposal by the General Commission and the Institut français.

Funding requests must be sent to the General Commission and the Institut français Seasons Division. Any request sent directly to the Sponsors Committee or its members will not be considered.

Any support granted by the Sponsors’ Committee, the funds of which are managed by the Institut français, will be the subject of a contract which very precisely sets out the obligations of the project holder receiving the aid, in particular with regard to communications with and compensation granted to the Sponsors’ Committee and its members, as dictated by the French law on sponsorship.



  • What logos do I have to use and where can I get them?

You have received an official labelling letter following the approval of your request. This letter tells you how to obtain the logos you are required to include in all the documents you publish about your project.

These logos, which are presented in indivisible blocks, are mainly of two types:

  • institutional logos (the logos of the Institut français and its associated ministries, the foreign operator and its associated ministries) and logo of the Season, to which you are asked to grant priority position in your communications;
  • the logos of the Sponsors Committee (which you are contractually obliged to include in your communications if you have received financial support).

Depending on the case, you may also be asked to affix the logos of the partners of the Institut français (the local authorities providing additional financial support) or those of institutions or sponsors from the partner country.

The Institut français Seasons Division Communications Department is at your disposal to answer any further questions (contact).

  • My project is labelled, how can I benefit from the Season's communications?

All approved projects are included in the official programming of the Season. They thus benefit from the generic communications implemented by the Communications department of the Seasons Division in coordination with the partner country and according to the areas it wishes to prioritise.

You will therefore be asked to complete and return to us a communications form which will be sent to you in due course by the Seasons Division Communications Department. It must include a presentation of your project as well as good quality, credited, captioned and royalty-free visuals. Similarly, the Communications Department may contact you again when reviewing the Season’s performance to update this information and obtain the attendance figures for your event.

However, the Institut français cannot provide specific communications for each of the approved projects, or grant financial support for the implementation of your own communications plan

  • How can we keep up to date with the latest developments about the Seasons?

A dedicated website is set up a few weeks before a Season opens. It allows you to keep up to date with official programming.

A Facebook page regularly posts about calls for proposals, commissioner appointments, and events related to current or future Seasons.



  • How can I contact the General Commission?

A general email address is set up to allow you to contact the General Commission and the entire Seasons Division directly.

Please refer to the pages dedicated to each of the Seasons in progress or in preparation.

  • How can I contact the Seasons Division?

You can contact the various coordinators of the Seasons Division directly with any questions related to your project, after sending in your request for labelling.

  • Manager of the Seasons Division: Nicolas Ruyssen
  • General coordination: Pierre-Marie Bel
  • Administration: Chantal Keramidas (Division Assistant) and Marie-Sygne Budan (Administrative Officer)
  • Performing arts and cultural industries: Charlotte Billy (contemporary music and jazz, cultural industries) and Camille Buttin (theatre, dance, street arts, classical music)
  • Visual arts, heritage, architecture and design: Laura Davy
  • Cinema and Audiovisual : Pierre Triapkine
  • Economy, tourism, gastronomy: Elsa Passavy
  • Education, research, public debate, sport: Catherine Vinay
  • Communications Henri-Pierre Godey (Seasons Communications Coordinator) and Floriane Balac (Communications Officer)

If your project is multi-disciplinary, we invite you to use the general Season e-mail address to contact the Seasons Division as a whole.

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