On Monday 15 April, the APPG travelled to Paris to see the impact of the arts, and language learning in UK-French relations.
The delegation inquired into the way in which the UK is perceived in France and the affect of Brexit on this perception. Although the UK is seen positively in France, the uncertainties around the negotiations and the future have cast doubts about this relationships. Risks and several opportunities were also identified.
Education was shown to be a strong link between France and the UK with the French government placing multilingualism at the heart of its education strategy. A potential challenge to the UK working in France, was outlined in the form of competition. Other countries are becoming leaders in language teaching and the uncertainty around Brexit has created worries around the visa process between the UK and France, meaning they may seek language guidance from other countries.
Yet, France also has a desire to develop its internationalism in the higher education sector and therefore actively wants to continue higher education collaboration post-Brexit. It already has close links with the UK and they expressed that this would not change.
The UK and French cultural sectors have strong links already. It was noted that multilateral programmes and approaches to working are different. Monitoring and evaluation of equality and diversity targets is done differently meaning that difficulties can arise when working together. The shared cultural history between France and the UK was shown to create a strong bond in the areas of actor-led production, diversity models and funding creates further opportunities. Stakeholders highlighted the importance of programmes like Creative Europe in bolstering work.
The delegation visit offered clear case studies as the current role of education, the arts and the creative industries in UK-France relations. The trip also laid out the key challenges and opportunities that these sectors are facing giving opportunity for constructive development.