Le Fresnoy is a post-graduate art and audiovisual research center, opened in October 1997 and financed by the Ministry of Culture with the Hauts-de-France Regional Council and Tourcoing Town Council. It was conceived by Alain Fleischer who is also the artistic and pedagogic director.

As its full name - National Studio - indicates, it is a place of production (studio) as well as study. Its aim is to enable young artists to produce works using professional standard equipment under the direction of established artists. The emphasis is on breaking down the barriers between media and languages.

The work of production is complemented by an ambitious communications policy. This includes various exhibitions and events which explore all aspects of creativity, in particular 'Panorama', when all the works produced at Le Fresnoy are presented under the auspices of a guest chairman every year in September.

The theoretical and practical work embraces all audiovisual languages, from electronic and traditional media (photography, cinema and video) to digital technology and other state of the art media developments.


Le Fresnoy is designed for students of all nationalities seeking to develop their knowledge and expertise in audiovisual media by working on projects intended as a first step towards a professional career. Applications are considered from all educational backgrounds and from all creative fields (visual arts, cinema, photography, video, architecture, music, performing arts, etc.).

To realize his or her project, each student is allotted a budget and given access to the Studio's production, post-production and screening equipment. They are free to choose the content and the artistic form of their projects providing they respect the school's pedagogical guidelines.

As well as these individual works, students collaborate on the productions of their fellows and on the projects of visiting artists. The course also includes historical, technical and theoretical lectures on various aspects of contemporary art and by days given over to various aspects of audiovisual production.

Successful completion of the two-year course is recognized by the Fresnoy-National Studio diploma. Students must be free of any commitment liable to clash with their course.

Le Fresnoy also welcomes visiting students who, if their project is selected by the commission, are given free access to the school's technical facilities and accommodation for a limited period. The Studio has exchange agreements with other French institutions such as the Académie de France in Rome (Villa Medicis) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, as well as with a number of establishments abroad (Université de Québec à Montréal, Ryerson University in Toronto, Pasadema Art Center and the College of Design in California etc.). Finally, it welcomes those studying for the Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique (DNSEP), as visiting students.


The selection procedure is open to all candidates, of any sex or nationality, aged 35 years maximum on 1st January of the current year (i.e. in 2019, born after 31st December 1983).

The candidates must be able to provide proof of:

  • - A levels or Baccalauréat (or recognized equivalent) + 5 years of study validated by a diploma
  • - A levels or Baccalauréat (or recognized equivalent) + 7 years artistic or professional experience; in this case, a one page argument should be sent with the administrative application to explain how this experience is relevant to the course at Le Fresnoy. The candidates in the second case will sit a specific examination set by a special committee, who will judge and validate their application. Their decision is final.

The first stage of selection is based on a written application including a link presenting a work or set of works made by the artist, a letter describing the applicant’s trans-disciplinary interests and artistic approach. The second, final stage involves an oral at Le Fresnoy.

It is essential to have good working knowledge of both French and English. The application procedure is free and apart from the 760 € enrolment fee, payable before the term starts in October, the course is free.

Le Fresnoy does not provide grants, but it will recommend eligible students to the appropriate funding bodies. Likewise, it facilitates their applications to the CROUS (the National University Catering and Accommodation service).


Le Fresnoy has a pedagogical, artistic, administrative and technical staff of around fourty. There is no permanent teaching body. A teaching coordinator, assisted by two production experts, supervises the program for each year. Each area of production and post-production is run by a highly qualified staff of technicians, but the school also employs outside technicians on a regular basis.

The projects developed by students are directed by three invited artists/teachers who, in the course of their one or two year residency, will produce a personal project with the assistance of students. The artists who have acted as visiting teachers at Le Fresnoy since October 1997 are: Jean-Marie Straub et Danièle Huillet, Tsaï Ming-Liang, Bruno Dumont, André S. Labarthe, Chantal Akerman, Arnaud Des Pallières, Avi Mograbi, Luc Moullet, Mathieu Amalric, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jochen Gerz, S & P Stanikas, Hicham Benohoud, Joan Fontcuberta, Grégory Chatonsky, Charles Sandison, Atau Tanaka, Pascal Convert, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Georges Aperghis, Andrea Cera, Alain Buffard/Armando Menicacci, Sven Påhlsson, Ryoji Ikeda, Christian Rizzo, Scanner/Robin Rimbaud, Robert Cahen...

Le Fresnoy is placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture's educational advisory body for the visual arts (Ministère de la Culture). It is legally registered as a non-profit association. Its board of administration comprises representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the Nord/Pas-de-Calais and Tourcoing councils, together with other qualified personalities from the field. The president of Le Fresnoy is Bruno Racine.


Le Fresnoy, National Studio, is located in Tourcoing, which is part of the Lille conurbation. Equidistant from Rotterdam and Paris (Paris-Lille 1 hour by TGV), it is just over the border from Belgium and close to the UK.

The site (and name) is that of an old popular entertainment center. Here Bernard Tschumi has built a completely new complex acclaimed, in France and abroad as one of the most original architectural designs of recent years.

The building houses outstanding production and post-production facilities covering all areas of image and sound technology, as well as extensive exhibition spaces and auditoria. Every year, the "Grande Nef" (great nave) and its annexes house two international exhibitions and other events (shows, concerts etc.), while the two art house cinema theatres are used for screenings for the students, weekly public film shows, classic revivals, and themed film evenings. They are also used for lectures and symposia.

The media library offers a comfortable working area with documentary resources (books on history and theory, magazines, video cassettes, etc.), used by students and guest artists, and open to outside visitors by appointment. (free registration)