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Ecole Supérieure d’Art et Design de Saint-Etienne (ESADSE)

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Mission Statement

The Saint-Etienne Higher School of Art and Design trains the artists and designers of the future. The close relationship between teaching and practice in the workshops higlights the value that ESADSE places on "Making" and which has sealed its unique place among French art schools. At the heart of the Cité du design and the only French city to be a UNESCO Creative City of Design, it enjoys the benefits of a privileged environment and its international standing.

Saint-Étienne School of Art and Design (Esadse) places the student's project at the heart of its pedagogy and encourages experimentation that fosters audacity and creativity. It holds error and wandering as necessary moments in the training process. It proposes a global apprehension of the disciplines, in a collaborative way, taking the tensions and disputes inherent in the opposition art-design for fruitful opportunities.

Founded in 1803 under the name École de dessin, renamed École régionale des arts industriels in 1884, École régionale des beaux-arts in 1923, then École supérieure d'art et design in 2006, the Esadse has been closely linked to the industrial boom and economic development of a city that was at the forefront of industrial modernity throughout the 19th century. Its history is closely related to the one of the industrial arts and brings into play all the tensions that are associated with them: art and economy; aesthetics and functionality; ownership and commission; fine arts, applied arts and decorative arts. In 1990, the school developed a design department. In 1998, it creates the International Design Biennale. This dynamic of innovation in connection with the contemporary world continues today within the public establishment of cultural cooperation (EPCC) bringing together the school and the Cité du design.

International Role

Since 1991, ESADSE has built an international network with 72 schools in the world for students’ exchanges, workshops, exhibitions. ESADSE is member of ANDEA (National association of Art Schools), ELIA (European League of Institutes of the Arts), CUMULUS and founded the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne in 1998. ESADSE participates in different european projects: Human Cities – Creative Works With Small and Remote Places (SMOTIES), Arts & Crafts Aujourd'hui, Digital Tools for Creative Collaboration etc.

Main Focus

As a school of creation, the Esadse trains authors and artists and develops its curriculum through two disciplines: art and design. These two disciplines, which are both highly complementary and distinct, have forged close relationships in response to major socio-economic changes. The courses encourage dialogue and synergies between the two fields of study. Over a five-year program, these two curricula enrich the students' educational paths in terms of creativity and professionalism.

Faculties and Departments

Saint-Etienne higher School of art and Design offers training in art and design, with the possibility of specialising after a common core course in the first year. ESADSE prepares students for and awards two national diplomas recognised by the European LMD structure.

Bachelor Level Programs

National Diploma in Art (Diplôme national d'art, DNA):

– DNA Art

– DNA Design

Master Level Programs

National Postgraduate Diploma in Plastic Arts (Diplôme national supérieur d'expression plastique, DNSEP):


– DNSEP Art & Design Cross-disciplinary course ACDC_Spaces

– DNSEP Design, courses : Digital Creation; Graphics and Images; Object; Public(s)

– Sandwich DNSEP Design, courses: Object; Public(s)

Research Activity and Main Areas

Design and Art Research

Conducted by designers and artists (researchers and/or teachers), the design and art research of the Cité du design/Esadse is organized as a platform. It fuels the historical controversy that confronts technical culture and art through its coverage of the following topics and fields: the exploration of technical, design and digital culture, the investigation and critique of representations of modernity, design and the anthropocene, public policy design, vernacular design…

The platform is a space for sharing work and research tools. It benefits from a mediatheque, a materials library, la Matériauthèque, production workshops and distinctive tools such as the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne, the journal Azimuts and other publishings. 

The platform combines multiple forms of research within three types of laboratories: Laboratories, labs and units.

The research labs:

– Laboratoire Images – Récits – Documents- 
– Laboratoire Random
– Laboratoire d’expérimentation des modernités
– Lab : Deep Design Lab
– Lab : Design des Instances
– Unit : Everyone can design, even designers
– Unit : Déconstruction de segments techniques

Doctorate Level Programs

– PhD Industrial Arts (partnership with Jean monnet University)

– Postgraduate diploma: Design & research

– Higher Diploma: Design research (DSRD)

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

Art and Design

Application Deadlines

1. semester (autumn): 15 May 2. semester (summer): 15 November

Teaching Languages

French (some teachers and academic staff speak English)

Semester Dates

1. semester: October till February 2. semester: March till June

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

Living expenses are 900 € per month (including approximately, rent, food and public transportation) and not includind material expenses.


Bachelor: 60
Master: 32

Exchange Students

Incoming: 32
Outgoing: 31

Teaching Staff

Professors: 38
Lectures: 4

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