SACRe collaborates with the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences

A delegation of nine professors and doctoral students from the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences traveled to Paris from Cambridge, Massachusetts to learn more about PSL’s SACRe (Sciences, Arts, Creation, Research) doctoral program and draw inspiration.
délégation de neuf professeurs et doctorants de la Faculty of Arts and Sciences de Harvard University © Daniel Nicolaesky Université PSL

SACRe – established by the five major art and design schools affiliated with PSL, plus the ENS – is an interdisciplinary research program without peer. Since 2012 it has drawn on the strong disciplinary specialization at those institutions to create opportunities for dialogue and joint projects. This unique program has generated and fostered a genuine commitment to creative research, yielding twenty-one dissertations since 2016. It proved especially intriguing to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which is looking to revamp some of its arts-related PhD programs.

To host this exceptional delegation, which included the science historian Peter Galison and anthropologist and filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the SACRe team designed a tour of the six participating schools and institutes that would showcase the program’s artistic and scientific resources in all their variety.
The members of the delegation were officially welcomed at CNSAD on December 12 by Claire Lasne-Darcueil, the Conservatoire’s director, joined by PSL Vice President for International Relations Minh-Hà Pham and SACRe’s director, Emmanuel Mahé. Following their comments and those of researcher representative Sylvaine Guyot, the visitors had the opportunity to attend performances, conferences and screenings that combined reflections on specific disciplines, interdisciplinary methodologies and arts-based research projects. From theater performances at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique to film screenings at La Fémis; from a guided tour of the exhibitions at the Beaux-Arts de Paris to a researcher conference at EnsadLab, a look at the EnsAD research laboratory and a concert of works by composers at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris... each stop on the visitors’ tour was designed to offer that blend of performance, scientific communication and peer discussion that typifies SACRe events.

délégation de Harvard visite l’exposition consacrée à Robert Walser coorganisée par les Beaux-Arts et l’ENS © Daniel Nicolaesky Université PSL

The Harvard delegation during their tour of the Robert Walser exhibition, jointly produced by the Beaux-Arts de Paris and ENS. That exhibit, funded in part by the SACRe laboratory, is just a recent example of the creative research initiated at the facility. It capped off a day of study and a day of workshopping conducted with input from other research laboratories, including the TransferS Labex and the CCS (Creation, Cognition, and Society) Interdisciplinary and Strategic Research Initiative (IRIS).

Having previously engaged in daylong discussions back in 2017, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the SACRe doctoral program wanted to pursue further dialogue in 2018 by setting aside this opportunity to discuss methods for creative research. This latest meeting represents a further step toward building a special relationship between two unique initiatives in arts-based research at the doctoral level. The program is likely to gain momentum in 2019, with an additional trip on the agenda and plans for a scientific exchange program for doctoral candidates and artist-researchers at PSL and Harvard.

SACRe doctoral students at Harvard

SACRe (Sciences, Arts, Creation, Research) is an interdisciplinary doctoral program and laboratory at PSL devoted to artists and creatives, led by PSL’s five major art and design schools along with the ENS: Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique (CNSAD), Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP), École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD), École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA), École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son (La Fémis).
Directors: Emmanuel Mahé, Jean-Loup Rivière (†)
Executive Assistant: Quentin Rioual