As part of a major government reshuffle, Audrey Azoulay, currently President François Hollande’s cultural advisor, is to replace Fleur Pellerin as France’s minister of culture. The move comes at at time when the senate is debating Pellerin's proposed “creation, architecture and heritage” law.
Azoulay, 43, who joined François Hollande’s cabinet to advise on cultural affairs in 2014, has had the typical career path of high-level civil servants. The daughter of an advisor to the King of Morocco, she studied at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po) and the National Administrative School (ENA)—where she was coincidentally a classmate of Pellerin. She then joined the culture ministry’s media management team in 2000, where she was in charge of the audiovisual sector, before moving to the National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC), where she rose to the number two spot.
Unlike Pellerin, whose background is in economics, Azoulay’s professional career has entirely been in the cultural sector, even if it has mostly focused on cinema. Whether her experience in the presidential cabinet has allowed her to become familiar with wider issues—artistic creation, architecture, protected sites, historic monuments and archaeology—has yet to be seen. But her first test may come up as soon as Monday, when the senate is expected to continue the debate on Pellerin’s culture bill.