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ENSCI – Les Ateliers, one week later

One week after the resignation of Rémy Fenzy, the students of ENSCI – Les Ateliers continue to mobilize.

After having obtained the resignation of the director of ENSCI – Les Ateliers Rémy Fenzy on November 20, this is the opportunity for the students to take stock of their mobilization. A necessary step in particular in anticipation of a first important deadline: on December 9, the student-elected officials meet the school’s board of directors to discuss their future governance.
As a reminder, Rémy Fenzy is appointed Director of ENSCI – Les Ateliers on November 13 by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and the Minister of Culture Frank Riester. Contrary to the concerns expressed by the board of directors of the Parisian school a few months earlier, this appointment is not conceivable for the students and the members of the staff. They vote to block the design school in the wake. The massive dispute that follows will get the better of the new director since Rémy Fenzy presents his resignation the following week, on November 20.

A crucial first meeting

On November 25, the student-elected met the general direction of artistic creation (DGCA) and decided to bring down the wall which blocked access to the school yard. Exit the blockage, the students entered a phase of mobilization. Although classes are still canceled, work on partner projects has resumed.
Since then, between two projects, the students have gathered around discussion workshops. Indeed, December 9th marks the first meeting not to be missed for future designers. The students-elected will meet with the board of directors of ENSCI – Les Ateliers about, in particular, the governance of the school and this in view of the last months of protest. This meeting aims to propose a new organization chart in accordance with the identity of the Parisian school: a design school and not an art school.

The smoothing of specificities worries

The students of ENSCI – Les Ateliers, as well as the members of the staff, are worried about the tendency of the public administration to format the national schools of creation. By smoothing out their specificities, these schools will eventually offer the same programs as traditional art schools.
Among these smoothing tools is Parcoursup, the web platform that collects and manages the posting wishes of future students of French public higher education.
Some students accuse him of interfering in the recruitment process for future promotions, since registration on the platform would cut off part of the entrance examination to ENSCI – Les Ateliers. Given that the design school is under the supervision of the Ministries of Industry and Culture, its registration on the Parcoursup shelves was imposed on it. “The debate has been eliminated” concedes Erik Anspach, director of studies of the Ateliers, who nevertheless wishes to moderate the concerns of his students: “this is not completely bad since it provides visibility for the school” admits- he. Even if he deplores the idea of “leveling out the competitions” and seeing all the art and design schools convene the candidates on the same dates, he wishes to reassure the students. Indeed, Erik Anspach confesses that the school benefits from a “calendar exemption”: entry by competitive examination will be maintained between May and June 2020 despite the presence of ENSCI – Les Ateliers on the Parcoursup lists. In short, “nothing is definitive” as to the smoothing affirms the director of studies.

A reflection on the identity of the school

The identity of ENSCI – Les Ateliers takes shape beyond the entrance exam. It is as much its students as its staff members or graduates. As part of this mobilization, or more regularly throughout the year, everyone gets together to discuss what Les Ateliers are, what they contribute and what they lead to.
During the month of November, Aurélien Fouillet, who teaches the philosophy of design, moderated a discussion around the role of design in society. Yesterday, Antoine Camus, graduated in 2019, invited reflection on the identity of ENSCI – Les Ateliers. In addition, on the strength of his experience as an activist within the ecological social movement Extinction Rebellion, he presented key points of mediation in order to facilitate the agora in this context of mobilization. Frequently, former students of the school are invited to share their “après-ENSCI”, like Frédéric Lecourt, co-founder of the Sismo Design studio. Graduated in 1997, he recently took part in “Margot’s Breakfasts”. This initiative by Margot Casimir, “Project Workshop” coordinator at ENSCI – Les Ateliers, invites former students to share their personal journey and the benefits of training in rue de Saint-Sabin (75012).

Rémi de Marassé