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Heritage & Innovation: Art Nouveau, past, present & future challenges

Explore the relationship between heritage and innovation through the lens of Art Nouveau

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Art, Design and Media
  • Business and Management
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
6 June - 30 June 2023

The programme aims to offer a unique opportunity to dive into the heritage of Art Nouveau in Brussels and beyond and to explore how Art Nouveau can act as a laboratory for current and future challenges.

Participants will undertake a journey through European culture and history as well as reflect on the links between Art Nouveau and today’s challenges related to architecture, urban renovation and heritage management.

How did Art Nouveau blossom and later expanded throughout Europe and beyond? What are the links between Art Nouveau and cultural and heritage management policies? How is this revolution in art and architecture still relevant today? How is Art Nouveau valorised today? How can public and private stakeholders make Art Nouveau accessible to a wide audience?

The programme is built around two focus points. On the one hand, the programme will shed lights on the full scope of Art Nouveau as a transdisciplinary and transnational movement. Lectures will focus on how Art Nouveau blossomed in Brussels and later around Europe and beyond. It will also address how Art Nouveau infused society well beyond architecture, expanding its influence to arts, ornamentation, furniture, etc. On the other hand, the programme will invite participants to reflect on the relationship between heritage and innovation through the lens of Art Nouveau.

Lectures and discussions will focus on current issues related to urban renovation and preservation policies. They will also explore the links between cultural heritage and tourism as well as the valorisation of heritage. With a view to foster transdisciplinarity, participants will also be invited to broaden their perspectives by reflecting on hidden scientific aspects in Art Nouveau and bio-inspired and bio-mimetics structures.

Main topics addressed

  • The beginnings of Art Nouveau
  • Art Nouveau across Europe and beyond
  • Victor Horta, a pioneer
  • Brussels Art Nouveau: from Horta to van de Velde
  • Politics and Urbanism
  • Renovation, mediation, valorisation
  • Bio-inspired and bio-mimetics structures 

Learning outcomes

Following this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain how Art Nouveau blossomed in Europe and to compare Art Nouveau developments in different countries.
  • Analyse the links between heritage and innovation through the lens of Art Nouveau.
  • Work on the mediation of Art Nouveau heritage sites. In this context, they will be active and dynamic mediators involved in the democratization of knowledge about Art Nouveau architecture. 
Dates:  6 - 30 June 2023 Total Workload:  76 hours

Format: Blended

Location: Brussels, Belgium Language: English (B2)

Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

The physical part will be running from 26 to 30 June 2023 at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Activities will comprise:

  • Lectures and conference by academics and guest speakers
  • Guided visits in museums and Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels (including Horta Museum, Maison Hannon, Walking Tour in Ixelles)
  • Teamwork sessions and final presentation on the last day

The full programme will be available soon. 

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 6 June to 21 June 2023 (2 hours per week). All virtual sessions will be held in the late afternoon. Minor changes may occur.

The first online session will provide an introduction to the programme and explanations about the assignements. Students will receive guidance on topics, requirements and expected outcomes. A series of lectures by academics and guest speakers will provide an introduction to Art Nouveau and to the topics and challenges to be further examined during the summer school.

  • 06 June 2023: Introduction session
  • 07 June 2023: Brussels, a short overview of urban history / Art Nouveau: more than a style, a societal movement
  • 13 June 2023: Brussels, birth of Art Nouveau?
  • 14 June 2023: Henry van de Velde, pioneer of Bauhaus and founder of La Cambre
  • 20 June 2023: The “1900 Art” in Transylvania: Secession, jugendstill and Art Nouveau
  • 21 June 2023: Case-study: the Neoromanian style – a local, Romanian variant of Art Nouveau?


This course is open to Bachelor's, Master and PhD students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in the following fields of study or related: Architecture, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Cultural management, Urbanism.

A B2 level of English is also required.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2023. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Level of English
  • Background and interest in history, philosophy, urban renovation, architecture, art history and cultural management
  • Relevance of the programme for their studies and career plan

Apply now


Students will be assessed on their individual active participation and on a final group assignment. The groups will be asked to reflect on the valorization of Art Nouveau today. The proposals will be related to one site visited during the week in Brussels.

Assessment will be based on:

  • Attendance and active participation during the online sessions (25%)
  • Attendance and active participation during the 5-day summer school (25%)
  • A final group presentation during the 5-day summer school (50%)

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Marcelle Rabinowicz, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture La Cambre Horta, Université libre de Bruxelles
  • Oana Serban, Lecturer, University of Bucharest
  • Mihaela Pop, Professor, University of Bucharest
  • Ecaterina Lung, Professor, University of Bucharest
  • Maxime Nicolas, Professor, Aix-Marseille Université
  • Tom Packet, Vrije Universiteit Brussels
  • Pascale Ingelaere, Head of the Furniture Department of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Urban.brussel
  • Jean-Marc Basyn, Lecturer, Université libre de Bruxelles / Urban.brussel
  • Grégory Van Aelbrouck, Curator, Maison Hannon
  • Nathalie Filser, Director, Ecole supérieure d’Art de Lorraine, France
  • Valérie Thomas, Curator, Museum of the Ecole de Nancy, France

Other lecturers to be confirmed.