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Letter to our alumni, from Christian Guellerin, General Director

Letter to our alumni, from Christian Guellerin, General Director

Dear Alumni of L’École de design,

I hope you and your families are well and that the disease spared you. Take care of yourself and yours.

The press reports that half of the world’s population is confined today after China was confined from February. Most of you in France or elsewhere must be. I hope that this does not weigh you too much morally, that your personal and professional life has not been too disrupted, that you can accommodate yourself to this at best, and that, in this incredible questioning of all our societies, you could, despite everything, find a meaning.

We are living in an extremely trying crisis for each one of us with consequences for personal and professional life which are more or less worrying. We obviously hope to get out of this crisis quickly, with the conviction that probably nothing will be the same as before. I do not know if it is, as some say, a crisis of civilization, I do not know if it should be desired, but I am sure that designers will have a major role to play for represent this new world after the pandemic.

L’École de design had to close suddenly in Nantes, Pune, Sao Paulo, Montreal, Cotonou. The China studio has not reopened since February and we are impatiently awaiting directives from the Chinese authorities.

Following these brutal closings, we made the choice of the continuity of lessons and programs. Almost all of the teaching is done today at a distance, with the exception of workshop courses. In 15 days and thanks to the commitment and solidarity of all, teachers, students, employees of the School, we managed to completely transform the establishment and make sure to maintain the educational link with the students. It was an intense, complicated but extremely rich period in terms of emotions and solidarity. L’École has been particularly close-knit. We are also mobilized to remain in support and listening to students in difficulty, to help and reassure them.

Many Alumni have given us their support, despite for some the difficulties they themselves encountered. Thank you.

I would also like to salute all those who mobilized, put their know-how into practice to provide support to those who particularly need it right now, caregivers, people in difficulty… Many of you are committed and put at the service of others. We are proud of our community, of its values of mutual aid, we are proud of you.

Of course, the period should not last too long, everything is not possible remotely, it is obvious and many businesses are in difficulty. We will see if we can support them.

For L’École, Internships cannot be guaranteed, learning suffers from the situation of companies and employment, travel abroad is compromised ... L’École suffers like all higher education establishments in France and abroad.

The budgetary stakes are difficult to estimate but could prove delicate for the next school year. Our non-profit establishment does not have by its own funds or financial reserves. It is not otherwise subsidized. It is unlikely that we can solicit the state whose colossal economic recovery effort. The challenge will be great to maintain all of our activity. But we are confident.

We are confident that beyond us and L’École it is about rebuilding a different world. Undoubtedly, designers are called upon to play a major role.

Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen - Former Danish Minister of Culture - writes:

"In the 19th and the 20th century, companies asked themselves the question of what was technologically possible and economically profitable, that of the 21st must ask themselves the question of what makes sense".

This aphorism has never been more relevant except for designers, and therefore for L’École de design, whose community includes 3,000 Alumni, 1,500 students and apprentices, 300 employees, and more than 1,500 partners over the years. A community whose responsibility is to think and represent tomorrow.

Again, take care of yourself and your families. In these stormy times we are thinking of you and assure you of all our moral and friendly support.

Christian Guellerin

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