The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts offers several Options: an art Option and four design Options. The art Option covers five years, the first of which is a foundation year that is common to all the different Options. This is followed by a "Programme" phase, which takes three years, ending in the award of the DNAP (Diplôme National d'Arts Plastiques), and then a "Project" phase, which takes two further years, and leads to the DNSEP (Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique).
The three design Options are:
• Space(s) Design
• Graphic Design
• Textile Design
Depending on the student's orientation and abilities, a design programme can take three or five years, including the initial foundation year. Then comes a two-year "Programme" phase which culminates in either the DNAP (Diplôme National d'Arts Plastiques), for the Space(s) Design Option, or the DNAT (Diplôme National d'Arts et Techniques), for the "Graphic Design", Textile Design and Product Design Options. The following two-year "Project" phase leads, in all four cases, to the DNSEP (Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique). It is open to any student at the ENSBA who has obtained a DNAP or DNAT, and has satisfied the admissions panel's criteria. The different study programmes are divided into semesters, in line with the ECTS system, but the students are enrolled for the full academic year of 34 weeks.
Along with its diploma courses, the ENSBA offers a postgraduate art course consisting of a year's high-level work for small groups of research students who have attained at least a DNSEP qualification or a Master's degree.
Student Numbers, 2009-2010
In 2009-2010, apart from foreign students on study visits, the ENSBA had 332 students, divided up as follows:
• 82 students in Year 1, i.e. around 24% of the total number;
• 129 students in the Art Option, i.e. around 37%;
• 127 students in the Design Option, i.e. around 37%;
• 5 students in postgraduate art studies.
The ENSBA's teaching staff comprises around 60 artists, authors, designers and active professionals with national and international experience.
The team's objectives are both individual and collective:
• a high level of expertise in art, design and writing, based on the students' orientations;
• the development of personal projects, in a dynamic of research;
• the acquisition of the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills required by the development of the student's personal project;
• a teaching programme that complies with the ECTS European Credits Transfer System
The Teaching Council makes decisions of general applicability for the school. Its responsibility for the coordination and organisation of the academic year contributes to the implementation of the school's basic policies.
The Teaching Council is comprised of the Director, the General Secretary, the Head of Teaching, the Assistant Head of Teaching, the coordinators for Year 1 and the Art and Design Options, members representing the Sections, the library, the workshop technicians, the international relations department, the business community and the student body. It has a maximum of 20 members. It plays a consultative role, and participates in the implementation of the school's teaching policy.
• The coordinators of the different Options keep the Teaching Council informed about questions of organisation and programming (e.g. seminars, travel plans, guest artists and teaching staff).
• Decisions on teaching and disciplinary action are taken by the Director on the basis of proposals put forward by the Teaching Council.
• The Teaching Council holds monthly meetings between October and June. These are scheduled at the start of the academic year.
• A copy of the agenda is sent by email to each of the Teaching Council's members the day before the meeting, at the latest. Items may be added to the agenda at the start of any given meeting.
• The Assistant Head of Teaching produces a report on each meeting. It is sent to all the members of the Teaching Council by email, and is also posted on the school's noticeboard.
In a teaching programme that is exclusively orientated towards the students' personal projects, the definition of aims is as important as the conditions for the design and development of projects. Teaching aims are defined by the techniques and types of expertise needed by the students.
These aims embrace four categories – knowing, doing, saying and being – which provide the templates for the specific skills that are to be acquired by the ENSBA's students.
Historical and transversal, specific and general, scientific and empirical acquaintance with works: in the course of their previous studies, students will have acquired a certain amount of knowledge about the history of art, contemporary art and aesthetics, and the general field of present-day culture.
In the "Programme" phase, the students expand their fundamental knowledge, and this can act as a foundation for their emerging personal projects.
In the "Project" phase, they are expected to appropriate different forms of knowledge, and to develop, in quality and diversity, those that are directly related to their research projects.
Mastering technical and technological methods, conceptual and linguistic techniques, communicational skills (oral and written), etc.
In the "Programme" phase, technical and technological initiation courses contribute to the acquisition of practical skills, as does the work carried out in the studio.
For the "Project" phase, a basic familiarity with a range of techniques is a prerequisite. A more advanced mastery of certain techniques is also necessary. As in the register of "knowing", the students acquire the techniques they need, and, where necessary, invent new methods.
A capacity for analysis, argumentation and communication about work…
By the end of their studies, students must have acquired an ability to analyse images in general, and their own work in particular. The idea of cultural specificity is important.
A capacity for analysis, both in oral situations and in writing, comes into the different aspects of the curriculum, at graded levels of difficulty:
• a project and dissertation in Year 1;
• a pre-diploma project in the context of an application for admission to Year 4;
• commentaries on work produced, in the context of the diploma examinations;
• diploma dissertations.
A capacity for communication comes into the production of a portfolio or file of personal work, with an ability to use such methods as DTP, and to bring together a range of different protagonists – students, teachers and technicians, along with any others whose participation may be necessary to the success of a project.
An "artistic personality" is built up and optimised over the course of the study period, and especially in Years 4 and 5:
• in general: desire, motivation, a capacity for work; methods, setting goals, autonomy, independence and an ability to function as part of a group;
• in particular: the establishment of a relationship to the world, and to the domain of art; attitudes, behaviour, position, stance, viewpoints, preferences; in other words, a distinctively innovative approach to the production of art (including a certain "non-knowing" that consists of experimentation without presuppositions or intentions).
An "artistic" form of being can be acquired and developed through a synthesis of knowledge and practice, but also through concentration and immersion in project culture and the working logic of artistic research.