On the 1st of January each year, the list of new recipients of the Legion of Honour is announced in France. This year, the list included the name of Ms Marie Lavandier, director of the Louvre-Lens and former President of the ICCROM Council. Upon receiving the award, Ms Lavandier stated that it "engage plus qu’elle ne récompense" – in other words with this recognition also comes responsibility.
An art historian and anthropologist, specialist in 20th-century art, African art and conservation, and author of numerous publications, Marie Lavandier is an influential figure in France’s cultural sector. During her distinguished career, she has held a number of key positions. From 2006 to 2010, she was deputy director of heritage and collections at Musée du Quai Branly. Following this, she served as director of the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF) located at the Louvre Museum. In 2014, Marie Lavandier was appointed director of the museums of Nice, a city-run network of 12 institutions, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain.
In 2016, Marie Lavandier was appointed director of Louvre-Lens – the northern branch of France’s renowned cultural institution. Built on the site of a former mining yard, approximately 200 kilometers north of the French capital, Louvre-Lens displays objects from the collections of the Musée du Louvre. As director Marie Lavandier has led the museum team in the realization of a vision of culture open to the city, engaging the community to co-create exhibitions exploring the region’s heritage and identity.
Member of the ICCROM Council from 2011 to 2019, Marie Lavandier was elected its Chairperson for the period from 2013 to 2017. During her two mandates, she enriched the program of the ICCROM General Assembly by adding to the conventional administrative sessions new thematic sessions on major issues facing the field. These included a reflection and exchange on Climate Change (2015), Post-Conflict Reconstruction – Recovery and Community Involvement (2017), and Decolonizing Heritage (2019).
In the development of ICCROM’s strategic directions for 2018-2023, Marie Lavandier insisted on the essential role of communities in guiding heritage conservation as a social process.
She strongly encouraged the strengthening of ICCROM's regional action by supporting the African Heritage School (EPA) and the ICCROM regional office in Sharjah for the Arab countries.
During her nine years at the highest level of the organization, Marie Lavandier has always kept in mind the driving role that ICCROM must play in the field of conservation and in the communication of cultural heritage.
In addition to her service within the Council, Ms Lavandier has also made many other contributions to the work of ICCROM over the years. A notable example was her role in the 2013 Forum on Conservation Science.
“I applaud Marie Lavandier for this prestigious honor, which is a testament both to her professional excellence and to her commitment to cultural heritage,”
Webber Ndoro, ICCROM’s Director-General.
ICCROM warmly congratulates Ms Lavandier on this achievement.