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

Explore the relation 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
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
4 June - 28 June 2024

The programme offers a unique opportunity to dive into the heritage of Art Nouveau in Brussels and beyond and 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 valorized today? How can public and private stakeholders make Art Nouveau accessible to a wide audience?

The programme has a dual focus: first, it will shed lights on the full scope of the Art Nouveau 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. Second, it 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 valorization 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

At the end of the programme, 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 in teams and produce a piece of contemporary sgraffito inspired by the visits and lectures organised during the program. They will be guided by experts in sgraffito and experts in cultural mediation.
Dates: 4 - 28 June 2024 Total workload: 75 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Location: Brussels, Belgium Language: English (B2)

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The physical part will be running from 24 to 28 June 2024 at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

It is dedicated to guided visits of exclusive heritage sites, as well as lectures and encounters with private owners, academics and local political stakeholders. Participants will be able to bridge the theoretical knowledge acquired during the online sessions with direct experience of Art Nouveau in Brussels.

Sites will visit include, among others: Musée Horta, Maison Hannon, Hotel Van Eetvelde, Maison Roosenboom, Hotel Solvay, Maison St Cyr and CIVA’s archives.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 4 June to 19 June 2024 (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.

  • 04 June 2024: Introduction session
  • 05 June 2024: Brussels, a short overview of urban history/ Art Nouveau: more than a style, a societal movement
  • 11 June 2024: Brussels, birth of Art Nouveau?
  • 12 June 2024: The “1900 Art” in Transylvania: Secession, jugendstill and Art Nouveau
  • 18 June 2024: Henry van de Velde, pioneer of Bauhaus and founder of La Cambre
  • 19 June 2024: Case-study: the Neoromanian style – a local, Romanian variant of Art Nouveau


The programme is open to all students at CIVIS member universities, specifically to the ones with a background and interest in History, Philosophy, Urban Renovation, Architecture, Art History and Cultural Management.

Participants should be able to follow lectures and visits, as well as interact with speakers and other participants in English.

Skilss such as documents analyzing, enjoying working in groups and having some competencies with digital tools (Photoshop/ Adobe etc.) as well as willing to learn to manually work to produce an object (stained glass) are also desirable. 


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.

Students from CIVIS’ strategic partner universities in Africa cannot apply for participation in this course.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 25 February 2024 and including:

  1. CV
  2. Motivation letter
  3. Level of english (According to CEFR)

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • 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. They will also work in teams to produce a piece of contemporary sgraffito inspired by the visits and lectures organized during the program. Experts in sgraffito will be guiding them. 

Assessment will be based on:

  • attendance and active participation during the online sessions and preparatory meetings (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
  • Maxime Nicolas, Professor, Aix-Marseille Université

Other invited speakers include representatives from various museums, cultural departments and heritage sites:

  • Hortense de Ghellinck, LAB-AN Coordinator x Hotel Van Eetvelde
  • Erika Giuliani, Réseau Art Nouveau Network
  • Tom Packet, VUB
  • Grégory Van Aelbrouck, Maison Hannon
  • Jos Vandenbreeden, CIVA
  • Benjamin Zurstrassen, Horta Museum
  • Jean-Marc Basyn,
  • Guy Conde Reis,
  • Kevin Saladé, Ecole Nationale des Arts Visuels de la Cambre
  • Valérie Thomas, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy, France
  • Anne Impens, Maison Roosenboom
  • Alexandre Wittamer, Hotel Solvay
  • Andrian Prieto, Joseph Hoffmann exhibition at the Cinquantenaire Museum