The summer session offers an exhaustive exploration of Paris’ artistic scene. Mornings are dedicated to Language class at La Sorbonne, while afternoons are spent studying and making art.
Language Class (50h):
French language courses are taught at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced levels at the Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne with other international students. The groups are limited to 15-20 students of similar levels, and are based on grammar, oral practice, phonetics, and literature for the more advanced levels. Grades are based on final tests and a separate phonetic grade. For more details, check our Sorbonne page.
The Art of the Museum (30h)
This seminar is devoted to understanding the role that museums and other cultural institutions play in shaping our vision, and in developing a more critical relationship to them. Students analyze the relationship that museums and exhibitions’ settings create between the viewer and the works of art. Fundamental questions raised in this class are : what kind of art do we see in museums? How is art history written? How do we interpret artworks? How do we understand them depending on context, experience, or knowledge?
Most classes take place in museums or art galleries, notebook, sketchbook and camera in hand. They are prepared by theoretical readings (general texts on the aesthetic experience and articles on the various roles of museums), and followed by discussions and written presentations. Throughout this course, we have in-depth discussions of individual art works, we visit some of the most famous art museums in the world : le Louvre, Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée de Branly, the newly reopened Picasso museum, the two museums where Rodin and Delacroix lived and worked, the Palais de Tokyo, Jeu de Paume (or Maison Européenne de la Photographie), Musée de la Cinémathèque, art galleries, private foundations and many more. We attend vernissages and festivals.
In addition to actively exploring the museums of Paris, we will take a one-day trip to Lille, a city whose image, architecture and economic development have entirely been rewritten in recent years. A longer visit will bring us to the opposite side of France, in the South: Aix-en-Provence following Cézanne, and Marseille, where we will not only visit the newly opened museums but interview their curators.
One of the most important purposes of this course is to make the students more active and self-confident viewers, able to use the museum as a source for their own creations. We help students develop a more personal relationship to the often awe-inspiring and overwhelming display of culture that Paris is famous for. To this aim, assignments and grades will encourage personal exploration of the infinite artistic resources of Paris, through a collective student blog featuring short exhibitions reviews, personal reflexions, sketches, or creative works (photographs, drawings, ideas) inspired by the works seen in museums.
This seminar is taught by academics, and provides ample opportunity to meet professionals : artists, curators, art critics, gallerists, etc, including former students who are now making a career in Paris.
Creative workshop (30 h)
“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse
The aim of this class is to examine the notion of “creativity” and how to develop it through a structured approach, a notion that may seem paradoxical at first.
How do we encourage invention, imagination, creation in a context like Paris – a city filled with images and traditions “to suffocation”, as artist Sherrie Levine once said? How can we establish a dialogue with the city, with older art forms, and collaborate with each other as we explore forms of creation? How do the interactions between the art student and the surrounding world nourish or stifle her voice ? The workshops explore contemporary creation, and confronts the students with their own creative blocks or limitations. After several sessions of research, meetings with artists, innovative exercises, collective discussions and short projects, the goal will be to create a personal project (drawings, photography, video, performance, intervention) within the space of Paris. Visiting and observing the city helps the students reach an understanding of creative processes and of themselves based on analysis, drawing, sketches, photographs, short videos and presentations.
The aim of this workshop is not to produce great art, nor to learn techniques, but to welcome and develop your own creativity.