Research field

The river Loire in all its complexities (geographical, historical, biological, technical, cultural, social, legal and political).


Orléans School of Art and Design naturally comes within the scope of the territory of the Loire valley, the river which passes through the city and deeply marks its identity (geographical, historical, biological, religious, public and artistic). If one part of the Loire is enclosed with dikes and canals, it is also a mainly ‘wild’ river whose movements are sensitive, even in the Orléans metropolis.

The research programme echoes the project initiated in 2019 by the POLAU collective (Pole Arts & Urbanism), for the creation of a legal entity for the Loire. The same year, POLAU started the project “Génies-Génies” (Engineering Genius) (territorial energy transition, promoting recycling waste and the culture of the river).

Within this project, there is the “culture of the river” workshop, proposing a “Loire Parliament”. This project consists in raising the following question: what if, for the first time in Europe, a river was given the opportunity to express and defend its interests through an interspecific system of representation? It will be first a matter, through design, of studying, questioning and testing the “embodiment”of the Loire in all its complexities (geographical, historical, biological, religious, public and artistic), through the problems specifically put forward by cohabiting with a river enjoying a new and hitherto unseen legal status in Europe.

The programme will deal with questions of cohabitation (forms of dwelling, historical, vernacular, future), of biodiversity, of soils and flows. Moreover the objective will be to produce new and particular knowledge on the “design” of the river; and finally, put the research at Orléans School of Art and Design within the territory which, in the long-term, will aim at developing “Loire Studies” with a multi-disciplinary approach.


ECOLAB Research Professors : Marie Compagnon (direction), Gunther Ludwig, Laurence Salmon

Associate Research Professor: Ludovic Duhem (ESAD Valenciennes)

Associate Professors: Clothilde Liot, Éric Verrier

Associate Students Researchers of the Advanced Research Degree (French DSRD) : Clémence Mathieu