Discover Saint-Etienne


The Jean Monnet University: Heritage as a Source of Development

The Jean Monnet University (UJM) was founded in 1969 and is one of 20 French plural-disciplinary universities (Medicine, Law, Economics, Business, Arts, Humanities, Languages, Social Sciences, Science & Technology, TELECOM Engineering School, 2 University Technological Institutes – IUT). There are 1500 employees and 17,000 students (of which 2500 are foreign students from 121 different countries). Since 2007 that university has been a member of the Communauté d’Universités et Établissements de Lyon (Community of Universities and Institutions of Lyon) which comprises of more than 129,000 students and 11,500 scholars. There are three centres of excellence: Medicine, Optics, and Heritage. This last centre has its own dedicated campus: The Heritage Campus at the Le Corbusier site in Firminy in a historical classified monument, L’Unité d’habitation Le Corbusier.

Named after Jean Monnet, the university opened very early to Europe and the world, and has established a solid network of international relations (as the coordinator of 2 Erasmus Mundus Programs, 2 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees [EMJMD], International Mobility Credits [MIC], and a Jean Monnet Module).

The UJM has piloted the University Centre of Saint-Étienne (10 institutions including the National School of Mines in Saint-Étienne). It is composed of 34 research teams including 18 joint-research units from CNRS and INSERM.

The Jean Monnet University of Saint-Étienne is found in the department of the Loire (not far from Lyon) in an industrial basin that was once a showcase for the France in the 19th and 20th centuries. Industrial and technological heritage as one of the region’s development focuses.

From 1991 to 2000, Professor Jean Davallon developed two master and doctoral programs concerning the question of museology, heritage, and cultural mediation. It was one of the first in France. The current team at the International Centre for Training in Heritage and Cultural Landscapes has invented new training methods according to the new expectations of local, national, and international actors. Since 2004 there have been new masters level courses and since 2008 an Erasmus Mundus Masters.


Each year, the Master of History, Civilisation, and Heritage accepts 50 students. This program is co-accredited by the National Superior School of Information and Library Sciences (Enssib), the National School of State Public Works (ENTPE), University of Lyon 2, and the National Museum of Natural History (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle).

Another master’s program is the international Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Dyclam (Dynamics of Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Management). Since 2008, more than 50 nationalities have sat on the benches of the Jean Monnet University. DYCLAM is a two-year European program (France, Italy, Portugal, Germany) comprised of 22 students who specialise in the management of cultural landscapes. The employment rate is exceptional, with 92% students employed within three months of graduation. Certain alumni have opened their own enterprises, 11 created alone within the last six years.

The International Centre for Training in Heritage and Cultural Landscapes is a member of the research laboratory EVS-ISTHME “Image Société Territoire Homme Mémoire Environnement” (Images, Society, Territory, Humanity, Memory, Environment). This stéphanois interdisciplinary laboratory brings 40 researchers together to study territorial dynamics (heritage, energy, urbanism, temporality, and territories), actors, transformations, and the relations between them. It is integrated into the Joint Research Unit “EVS 5600 CNRS” (City Environment Society).

Saint-Etienne, a pioneering city

This territory is marked by the development of a number industries related to its mining identity (mines, metallurgy, mechanics, textiles, weapons manufacturing…) since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first continental steam train line was built in Saint-Étienne (the Andrézieux-Saint-Étienne line). Marc Seguin, the inventor of the tubular boiler, was an eminent, regional figure that contributed to the region’s industrial-technological prowess. The factory of Benoît Fourneyron (inventor of the hydraulic turbine) has been preserved in the western suburbs and is an emblematic element of this industrial heritage unlike no other.

The Engineering School of the Mines, established in 1816, is one of the best educational centres of engineering in France, and it testifies today to the richness of this past industrial heritage still present in the region.

The industrial identity of the region and the city of Saint-Étienne is also characterized by the textile, bicycle, and weapons industries which the latter has been present in the city since the establishment of the Manufacture royale d’armes (Royal Factory of Arms) in 1764. Another major element of the identity of Saint-Étienne is linked to commerce; from Manufrance to Casino, Saint-Étienne is a centre of commercial experimentation.

Saint-Etienne French Tech

In 2015, the agglomeration of Saint-Étienne obtained the label French Tech as recognition for the region’s digit expertise and support for start-ups. World-renowned digital companies are located here such as Metaproductique (editor of production management software), Focal JMlab (an expert in Hi-Fi audio systems), and the internet service provider CieNum.

The city has increasingly developed a new identity that embraces modernity with the influence of its industrial heritage to capture the collective imagination. For example, the site of the industrial and military “palace” of the old Manufacture Nationale d’Armes that has been transformed into the “Cité du design” (City of Design) and a centre for research and education in optical vision, not far from the National Superior School of Art and Design.

The post-industrial era has provoked the emergence of a new economy of high-value technology and a restructuring of the social and urban landscape, however, the concern for this history and industrial heritage has led to the development of dynamic and imaginative cultural policies. A symbol: The Museum of Art and Industry (Musée d’art et d’Industrie). A label: Saint-Étienne is the only French city designated as “UNESCO Creative City of Design.”


Le Corbusier, UNESCO

Since 2012, the International Centre for Training in Heritage and Cultural Landscapes has offices and classes located in the old school of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation, a historic monument and UNESCO site.

Indeed, the location of heritage training programs in the heart of a modern heritage site is one of the strong points of the management plan of the Le Corbusier Site in Firminy, inscribed since the summer of 2016 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built as the heart of the Firminy Vert quarter (an industrial city adjacent to Saint-Étienne), the ‘’Centre for Recreating the Mind and Spirit’’ is comprised of the Maison de la Culture, a stadium, a church, and a swimming pool with the Unité d’Habitation as one of the major works of Le Corbusier in Europe.

Firminy is the premier site of Le Corbusier in Europe. Students and researchers live daily in the incredible Unité d’Habitation (Housing Unit), an imposing ‘’vertical garden city’’ and participate in the creating of a living heritage.

One day of the congress will be held at this UNESCO modern heritage site.