Romane Dufouil, founder of 8ème Vestibule
Hi Romane, we're so excited to have a conversation with you today. Could you start by telling us when did you decide to pursue a career in the field of art and culture?
Everything happened very gradually for me. When I was younger I didn't imagine working in this precarious field. I simply didn't think it was very realistic to go in this direction. I ended up a bit by chance doing a Bachelor’s degree in arts to become a graphic designer/communicator. It’s only then that I became passionate about art and museums. It was a real discovery for me!
It's interesting to see that even with your arts studies, you always felt uncomfortable in museums and art galleries. At what point exactly did you feel you didn't belong in this elitist environment?
Since the beginning of my studies, the professors have asked us to go see exhibitions. They expected us to know all the cultural places of the city. Even though I live in Rennes, I have rarely gone to the museum. When I wanted to go there on the advice of my teachers, I realized that it was not so easy: none of my friends wanted to go with me, I didn't know what to do once I got there, and I wasn't always sure of the entrance fee. Once I got past the entrance, it was still not very simple: I didn't know in what order to look at the art, or what I should focus on. I felt like I was being judged by the other visitors and even by the supervisors and mediators.
"I didn't know in what order to look at the art, or what I should focus on. I felt like I was being judged by the other visitors and even by the supervisors and mediators."
It was only recently that I discovered 8ème Vestibule, and I immediately loved the concept. Could you tell me more about the name of the project "8ème vestibule"?
The vestibule is an entrance room, which means that we are no longer outside but we are not quite inside either. So the idea was to place ourselves as a vestibule, a bridge between young people and museums.
The 8th is because before we classified the arts in categories, and even if it is not the case any more, everyone knows the expression "7th art" to speak about the cinema. We wanted an 8th art, which would be more open and accessible.
So you came up with the idea of an online media that meets the demand of the new generation: short videos that are both qualitative and entertaining. Can you tell us more about this project?
I wanted to create 8ème Vestibule because at the time, I couldn't find any content that was relevant to me. There was some more popularized content aimed at children or content that was more focused on art history, and it was quite advanced already. My idea is to create content that de-dramatizes museums in order to attract a younger audience. But above all, I would like to give young people the possibility to express themselves through art discovery, to debate and become more confident. My encounter with art has personally enriched me a lot, it developed my creativity and my critical spirit. I think it's a pity that many can’t benefit from it. I continue to notice through my studies and my associative experiences that most people in the artistic sector have been passionate since childhood, often thanks to their family. This shows that many people still can’t access the art industry.
Besides, since the first lockdown, we see more and more museums and art galleries on TikTok offering entertaining or educational content. Do you have any advice for artists or art professionals who want to get on this platform?
TikTok is pretty special! You really have to immerse yourself in this network, watch a lot of content to understand how the codes work. You shouldn't let yourself think that posting videos of a few seconds is easy, it sometimes (often) requires a lot of creativity, a lot of work in synthesizing but also in editing. You have to post often and regularly so that the algorithm likes you, so I would say prepare your arrival beforehand and think about what you want to do. Despite the difficulties there are many opportunities for visibility and the platform really wants to diversify and has already collaborated with museums.
You are the founder of 8ème Vestibule, and you are currently collaborating with other content creators. Can you tell me more about your team of creators?
I'm not alone on the project anymore. There is a team of volunteers that helps me. Some of them help on a strategic side so they are not necessarily visible on the Instagram account but we also have a team of content creators. There are four people besides me who create content: Clara, Emilie, Matis and Amélie. Most of them were already creating content on their own Instagram account before joining 8ème Vestibule.
When I had the idea of 8ème Vestibule, there weren't many art content creators on social media, in France at least. But 2020 changed the game. A lot of instagram accounts were launched, which is very nice. However, I thought it would be a great idea that we all team up around one project. The challenge was to succeed in keeping the spirit of 8ème Vestibule, but also to allow each of us to keep our personal identity and favorite themes.
What are your plans for the next five years?
As I said, 2020 has changed a lot of things, especially in art, museums and digital, so it's still unclear. I will graduate in 2022 with a Master's degree in art history with a specialization in exhibition design. For the future, we'll see, but what is certain is that I will continue developing 8ème Vestibule. My wish is to work with museums and institutions to help them connect with young people.
Finally, what is your favorite work on the Art From Future platform?
Not easy! But I have a crush on the work of Elisabeth Gomes Barradas, and it's not because she is from Rennes. I would say the Covers series.
Thank you Romane <3<3<3
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