Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding our summer school, which takes place both in person and online:
1. Do you need to know French?
No, the primary language of discussion is English, and all of the events that take place in French will be accompanied by simultaneous translations. Some knowledge of French is certainly an advantage, and the Workshop is an excellent place to work on your language skills. However, it is not a requirement, and the lack of any knowledge of French will not be a mark against you in the evaluation process for admission.
2. Is there financial aid available?
There is a sliding scale that goes down to zero for the program fees, and we do everything that we can to work with people’s financial needs. However, as an educational non-profit and independent institution, we also have to pay people for their labor and generate some revenue for our projects, many of which we offer as free and open to the public. Therefore, we commonly request that applicants do everything that they can to obtain funding from their home institutions–if they have one–in order to support our alternative platform.
3. Will I have an opportunity to present my own research, and could I request travel support from my home institution to attend the Workshop as if it were a “conference”?
Yes, the first week there are brief presentations by all of the participants. The second week there are smaller working group sessions, and the final week there is a participants’ conference for anyone who wants to present. This is purely optional, however, and you are welcome to opt out if you prefer to simply attend the workshop without presenting your research.
4. Is this an American study abroad program?
Absolutely not. This is a dual-language international program that includes participants from around the world. Depending on the year, there are usually participants–including faculty, students, artists and independent researchers–from 4-6 different continents.
5. What time of day are the sessions, and will I have time for other activities (such as French classes)?
The sessions generally take place 4 times a week at the end of the day, usually from 5-7 p.m., in order to allow participants time during the day to do research, visit museums, take French classes, etc. Given the intellectual and cultural resources available in Paris, the Workshop is specifically structured in this way so that participants can maximize their research time and take full advantage of everything that the city has to offer.
6. Are there breaks or time for weekend trips?
Yes, the Workshop usually takes place 4 times per week, and the sessions are consolidated as much as possible to allow for 3-day weekends. The program is always posted well before the beginning of the Workshop in order to allow participants to make their plans.
7. Do I need to present my research?
No, this is not a requirement, and some participants in the past have preferred simply to engage in the material without formally presenting their own work.
8. Do I have to be in philosophy or work on Frankfurt School Critical Theory?
No, the CTW is a trans-disciplinary platform that works against the traditional silos of the academy. Participants often come from a very wide variety of disciplines and fields, and there is no need to have formal training in philosophy or particular traditions like the Frankfurt School.
9. Do I have to be an academic or be affiliated with a school?
No, the Workshop is open to autodidacts, independent researchers, activists, artists and writers.
10. Where do participants live, and are there lodging options through the Workshop?
Participants are welcome to make their own arrangements or reserve a room at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (approximately $900). In the past, most participants have succeeded in finding reasonably priced apartments via platforms like Airbnb.
11. Are there required assignments?
No, the CTW is dedicated to autonomous research and collaboration. There are no traditional assignments, and participants are encouraged to work as much as possible on their own research. There are, however, readings made available for nearly every session, which allow participants to come more prepared to engage with the issues under discussion. For the working groups, participants share their work with other members of the group for feedback and discussion.
12. What types of more creative and non-academic projects have there been in the past?
Projects have ranged from work by documentary filmmakers on contemporary political struggles to photography exposés and experimental music performances with non-professional musicians. There is no set limit to the nature of projects, and creative initiatives are more than welcome. This can include collaborative projects–if they be creative or more research oriented–between two or more people.
13. Are there research libraries nearby to which participants have access?
There are a number of libraries and archives affiliated with the EHESS. Click here for a list. They all have specific restrictions, but you will likely qualify if you are a professor or graduate student. As with most other libraries in Paris, they do not have open stacks.
The Bibliothèque interuniversitaire Sorbonne has specific restrictions, but you will likely qualify if you are a professor or graduate student. As with most other libraries in Paris, it does not have open stacks.
The Pompidou Center has a good public library in the center of the city, although it can be busy with students. It does have the advantage of having open stacks.
There are numerous municipal libraries that are usually relatively nice places to work, and they have open stacks. You can search your neighborhood here.
Here are some other resources for libraries:
You have to pay for the Bibliothèque nationale, but it has a remarkable collection. It has open stacks for some collections.
14. Where can I print or scan?
There are a number of copy shops in the neighborhood of the EHESS.
15. Are there good websites with practical Information about Paris?
16. Is it possible to obtain credit or a diploma?
The Workshop is not credit bearing, but independent studies can be discussed with the Director as a possible option. It is also possible to be issued a certificate that testifies to one’s active participation in the CTW.
17. Can I attend some of the summer school online and some of it in person?
Yes, we just ask that you specify your approximate dates on the application and then confirm them a few weeks prior to the beginning of the program.
18. What is the format for the research presentations that are given by participants in the workshop?
In a typical summer, participants who want to present their work (it is not a requirement) do so once a week, in three different formats:
- During the first week, each participant presents a brief outline of their project (5-10 minutes) in front of the entire group so that everyone gets a preliminary sense of everyone else’s project and conversations can begin to be generated around shared research concerns.
- For the second week, each participant is assigned to a working group with 4-5 other participants who are focusing on similar themes. Each participant is expected to pre-circulate a relevant aspect of their project to the other members of the group (this could be an outline, a draft chapter or article, a dissertation prospectus, working notes, a collection of images, a storyboard, etc.). During the working group session, each participant will be allocated a minimum of 30 minutes to receive feedback from all of the other members of the group. Rather than responding to all of the queries, we generally recommend that the person whose work is being discussed take notes on the feedback without feeling compelled to defend their position.
- For the last week of the workshop, all of the working groups have the opportunity to present their work to the group as a whole in a final conference. In the past, some groups have decided to have each individual present their work, and others have preferred to organize a group presentation or debate around a shared theme.
19. Can I choose to only present my work in the small working group, rather than in the final conference (or vice versa)?
Yes, absolutely. We just ask that you let us know in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements.
20. Are there extracurricular activities or informal gatherings?
Yes. We usually organize an opening cocktail after the first session, which provides us all with the opportunity to begin getting to know one another on an informal basis. Since most of the sessions end in the early evening, it is also very common that small groups will get a drink to continue the conversation informally. We usually also go for drinks after the final conference, in order to conclude the summer school.
21. Can I apply early?
We encourage early applications, and we make an effort to work with applicants who need an early decision regarding admission in order to secure funding, make travel plans, etc.
22. Can I apply after the deadline?
While we generally prefer to avoid reviewing applications after the deadline, please feel free to reach out to us in order to ask (see email below). There are sometimes last-second changes or cancellations that make spots available, and we have therefore accepted some applications after the deadline in the past.
23. Who should I contact if I have additional questions?