The picture above shows the space dedicated to Charles Rennie Mackintosh situated inside The Dome. It is part of a French nationwide initiative by the Ministry of Culture to provide a number of Micro Folies in designated towns throughout the country. These are digital museums which bring together thousands of masterpieces from national and international institutions and museums. Port Vendres is one of the locations chosen to host a Micro Folie.
Above is a photograph of The Dome in Port Vendres which is situated in the the south of France. The Dome is the home of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Association in Roussillon. I first came across it in 2016 whilst visiting the area, I was interested to see that CRM a fellow Scot was being celebrated in this corner of France. I wasn't aware at the time that he and his wife Margaret had lived in Port Vendres during the 1920's. I never gained access to the CRM Interpretation Centre on this occasion but when I returned two years later in 2018 I was determined to find out more. This time I was able to visit the centre and also the one in Palada (two of the three). I wrote an article about my visits and, for my research, I contacted the Association directly. I received assistance from the Association's secretary Sylvie Plas who was very helpful. Since that time I have stayed in contact with Sylvie and the Association and have also become a member. I am kept up to date with their projects, I also wrote another article detailing some of these and the progress they have made over the last couple of years. Below is a link to the first article I wrote about my visit to the CRM Interpretation Centres in Port Vendres and Palada.
Visit the website at -
The Micro-Folies were inspired by the "Folies" in the Parc de Villette in Paris which were designed by the architect Bernard Tschumi. The Micro-Folies, which were launched by the French Ministry of Culture , are a tool for cultural democratization, often located in urban spaces. The main mission is to make artworks broadly accessible to audiences which are far away from traditional cultural spaces. At first the Ministry of Culture wanted to open 200 Micro-Folies across France but this has accelerated to the implementation of the scheme to open 1000 Micro-Folies by 2022.
The Ministry of Culture work in partnership with La Villette, a vibrant cultural centre in Paris that hosts a wide range of world class events across the arts and
sciences. This ambitious and innovative digital archive and educational platform overcomes geography and economics to provide greater access to the arts. Founding partners include - The Pompidou Centre, the Chateau de Versailles, The Louvre, the Picasso-Paris Museum and the Orsay Museum among others.
The Micro-Folies have also been exported to other countries including, the USA (New York), Belgium, Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey, Romania and Peru.
One of the reasons I am interested in the Micro Folies is the fact that I have been active for many years in trying to promote more art education in the area where I live. I have both written about it and put on free art exhibitions for the public in accessible public spaces. I note that the organisers of the Micro-Folies are keen to reach people who don't normally get the chance to access museums and the like - so they take the art (and with it the knowledge) directly to them by setting up in shopping centres, for example. I find this an exciting prospect and would encourage the export of Micro-Folies to Scotland if that were possible?