Parcours Inter-écoles

Île de Nantes is one of the city’s must-visit neighbourhoods. Here, visitors discover major art works, like those of Nathalie Talec or Lilian Bourgeat – and yet, they are often unaware of the buzzing artistic and cultural activity that abounds within its higher educational institutions. Since 2022, new curiosities have popped up on Île de Nantes, which pull visitors off the beaten path to discover the talents of the “Campus de l’art”. From installations to exhibitions, the students here are designing the city of tomorrow – and shaking up the neighbourhood, giving it a new color while they’re at it.

Questions revolving around environmental and societal transitions are increasingly driving public debate. The foundations for the city of tomorrow are being built on the campuses of today. Young people are now tacking these issues and revealing their commitment to imagining a territory that will be resilient in every dimension.

Once again this year, Le Voyage à Nantes opens the doors to these unique buildings, which are usually closed to the public, to show the great creative activity inside, the quality of education, and the ins and outs of student life. Le Voyage makes its way into the spaces of production and creation to reveal construction workshops, research spaces, or gathering places where one can only imagine the emulation among students throughout the year.

École nationale supérieure d’architecture (ensa) – Nantes Université

The École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes is a public institution of higher education and research. This exceptional urban campus was designed by Lacaton & Vassal, winners of the 2021 Pritzker Prize. It accommodates more than a thousand students preparing France’s national diploma in Architecture. The school also offers training for scenographers, naval architects, architect-engineers, and urban planners.
Now affiliated with Nantes Université, the institution has decided to be even more resolutely invested in the city and surrounding region, offering its students a range of cultural activities that focus on architecture, the city, and the environment. With its emphasis on experimentation, it uses the greater Nantes region to propose other ways of thinking about the environment, and of inhabiting urban, suburban and rural territories.
Within this highly strategic environment, ensa Nantes offers a curriculum that integrates architects into society and opens them up to a wide range of professional practices that will prepare them to meet contemporary challenges. The building itself also opens out onto the region, thanks to its roof and terrace, both of which offer a unique panorama of the city.

École des beaux-arts Nantes Saint-Nazaire – Nantes Université

8,500 m2 (91,500 ft2) of Alstom’s former industrial warehouses were renovated by architect Franklin Azzi in 2017 to become Nantes’s fine arts school – 4,300 m² (46,300 ft2) of which contain workshops dedicated to research and experimentation in all areas of the visual arts: construction studios, as well as image and print centres for nearly 500 students (30% of whom are international) and the 1,000 students enrolled in courses that are open to the public.


Les Beaux-Arts de Nantes Saint-Nazaire is a higher education institution spread over two sites, and has been affiliated with Nantes Université since 2022. It trains students in contemporary creation and offers two degrees: the Diplôme national d’art and the Diplôme national supérieur d’expression plastique.

Les Beaux-Arts also offers a range of artistic activities. Managed by the Pôle artistique et culturel, its aptly named Open School consists of a gallery, a café, an art collection, and offers a series of lectures and hands-on courses that are open to one and all. Here, anyone can visit an exhibition, work in the library, borrow an artwork, attend a lecture, have coffee on the patio, or participate in an artistic workshop.

Halles 6 Ouest – Nantes Université

Halle 6 Ouest is a true catalyst for innovation and experimentation within Nantes Université, offering students the tools to meet the social challenges of tomorrow by bringing together world-renowned researchers, teachers, students, start-ups, artists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Through its 3 labs, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, it proposes a range of additional services, from creating building prototypes to studying user experience, in addition to courses and events planning.

Nantes Université is a public institution of higher education and research based on a university model unlike any other in France, combining: a university, a university hospital (CHU de Nantes), a technological research institute (IRT Jules Verne), a national research organisation (Inserm) and several grandes écoles (Centrale Nantes, École des Beaux-Arts Nantes Saint-Nazaire, and the École d’Architecture de Nantes). These different entities have joined forces to develop excellence in research within Nantes, while offering new training opportunities in all areas of learning.

Pôle des Arts Graphiques : lycée de la Joliverie et Grafipolis

The Pôle des Arts Graphiques was the first higher education institute to arrive in the district in 2010, where it presides over a large stone square that engages in a playful dialogue with the volumes of the nearby Zero Newton building and Trempo bunker. It is home to two schools: La Joliverie – for the Arts & Design sector – and Grafipolis, which trains apprentices for graphic businesses, as well as paper and cardboard and signage.

Courses here aid in the development of the cultural, creative, graphic-art, printing and digital industries. The curriculum is primarily project-based and focusses on developing partnerships that offer young or mature students thorough knowledge of the working conditions in today’s and tomorrow’s professional world. This training is enhanced by a network of businesses formed by both establishments, and student life is filled with myriad internships, work-study programs, visits, and conferences. Although visitors cannot see them, large workshop spaces – ranging from drawing to digital printing, to industrial silk-screening – can be found within its walls, revealing the knowledge and savoir-faire of the Pôle’s students and apprentices.

The Pôle des Arts Graphiques is working on a project with Studio Katra that will be completed in summer 2023.

École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA) – CinéCréatis

Opened in 2013, the Écoles Créatives (“Creative Schools”) bring together ESMA (l’École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques, or the “higher school of artistic professions”), and CinéCréatis. Located in the Parc des Chantiers district, the schools offer two creative training programmes, with all the educational tools to let students find their creative voice.

ESMA trains students in 3D animation and special effects over four years. One year of prep classes in “Entertainment” precedes the official programme, which helps pupils to acquire skills in drawing, volumetry, and storytelling. Films made in the final year are also regularly selected for leading festivals throughout the world.

As for CinéCréatis, it offers a full three-year training programme for students wishing to work in the audiovisual and film industry. Directing, producing, shooting, and post-production – all the essential stages in filmmaking – are taught in order to train the industry’s leading professionals of tomorrow.

The Ecoles Créatives belong to the Icônes group: a major network for higher education in the creative sector.

Mediacampus – Audencia SciencesCom

MEDIACAMPUS is a brand-new type of campus, and the flagship of the dynamic Campus de l’art on Île de Nantes, dedicated to communication, information and the media. Under one roof, it brings together the communications school, Audencia SciencesCom, the local television station, Télénantes, and audiovisual companies alongside professional associations (a communications agency, press agency, animation studio, audiovisual production, and the Club de la Presse). It thus allows for unparalleled cooperation between all these different players. This ecosystem offers training courses, conferences, and various events all year round, along with spaces dedicated to professional production (TV studio, recording booths, etc.). Audencia SciencesCom – Audencia’s school of communication – has been part of the MEDIACAMPUS since 2017. It combines academic excellence and professional functionality to enable its students to work in exciting and demanding professions. From start-ups to international companies, public institutions to associations, and agencies to media studios, the organisations that recruit communications and media professionals are multiple, as are the available jobs.

In 2022, the students created a project featuring student portraits from each school on the Campus de l’art.

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