Since its inception in 2011, this three-week multi-disciplinary immersive workshop combines an exploration of Paris with concerns of design and art practices. The course promotes real-time observation, intuition informed by critical thinking, and the development of individual creative processes.

This course is interdisciplinary, yet always nurtures each student within their own interest and specialty, whether Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Animation, Film, Architecture, Photography, or Fine Art.  Along the arc of this immersive workshop, all participants are encouraged to freely explore, experiment, debate, collaborate and above all, to reflect on their practice.

Information Sessions
January 26, Tuesday, 3:15-3:45 p.m.
Oakland campus, B BLD 1

February 1, Monday, 11:15-11:45 a.m.
San Francisco campus, GC7

Paris: City/Image/Identity

Instructors: Erik Adigard, Jeremy Mende
July 4–22, 2016: course dates
July 23–31: optional independent exploration of Paris
Accommodations are available to students through July 31 at no additional charge.

Housing Check-in: Friday, July 1
Housing Check out: anytime between Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 31

Interested students should contact Erik Adigard ( and Jeremy Mende ( with a few work samplesto start the approval process for registration.


Paris is one of the most saturated of contemporary urban environments with richly diverse subcultures, varying densities, world-class museums and cultural institutions, architecture, fashion, food, and a history that ranges from the Roman Empire to the most vital of 21st century creative experiments.

The City of Light itself is the ultimate guide in our exploration as we work with local experts in design, architecture, art, urbanism, publishing, and curating.

The workshop is based in the 17th century Recollets Cloister, an exclusive international residency for artists, designers, architects and scientists, and now home to the Maison de l’Architecture. Located in the heart of Paris between the bustling Gare de l’Est and the lively Canal St. Martin neighborhood, the Recollets includes a culturally active café that offers a 20% discount to its residents, as well as invitations to ongoing cultural events and lectures.

Accommodations run through the entire month of July in shared lofts with a bed on each level. Each loft includes wifi, bathroom, kitchen, linens, and weekly cleanings. The program includes museum visits and a month-long transit card.

2016 Theme

The City is a kaleidoscope of culture, commerce, technology, ecology, and, ultimately, identity. It is at once a space of competing tides: creation and destruction, occupation and rejection, limits and expanses. The City endlessly remakes itself and, necessarily, its inhabitants.

Using specific quotations from key Modern thinkers as prompts, the studio uses design as a means to explore how the city makes us, and how we, in turn, make the city.

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.” – Jean Baudrillard

In a series of related assignments, students select quotations from a curated set. These quotes become wedges to help us understand our individual observations of the city and how those observations can inform our individual creative development. In the final project, students synthesize their preliminary work into a story of the self within the city, where their individual journeys reveal the feedback loop between place and personal identity.

“Everything that was directly lived has moved away into representation.” – Guy Debord

Students have the choice to work in any medium that is appropriate to their individual conceptual and creative journey. The course is interdisciplinary and aids students in understanding how any one city can reveal essential truths about who we are and the world we are making.

Ultimately we discover how these 20th century quotes reveal the issues of 21st century design. Students return home with a wealth of personal insights that will build their creative confidence, help define their personal voice, and engender a passion for how design can be a means to engage complex social phenomena.

The New is not a fashion, it is a value.” – Roland Barthes

Feedback from previous students

“I really learned so much. Since I have started school again I can see a huge change in my confidence…”
“I will carry the program in my heart always!”
“It was fun, horizon broadening and a memorable experience.”
“It is only now, several months later, I can see how my mind expanded… Priceless.”

More info on Paris: City/Image/Identity »

About the Instructors

Erik Adigard is a CCA graduate whose father was a journalist and diplomat. As a result, Erik’s formative years were spent in Africa and then in Paris. After studying semiotics at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris he attended the Montpellier Beaux Arts.

Erik’s Berkeley studio M-A-D has produced a wide range of visual essays, experience designs, brand identities, videos, animations, and media installations for major clients such as Wired, IBM, HP, and Biennales in the US and Europe. He recently co-designed the Spontaneous Interventions exhibition for the Venice Architecture Biennale US Pavilion, which earned a Special Mention and then traveled to the Chicago Cultural Center.

His creations have been shown in galleries, museums, film festivals, and publications worldwide, and have won numerous international awards and have been included in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, Smithsonian Library and other institutions.

Erik is a recipient of the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design and the Rome Prize.

Related activities include editorial essays, speaking engagements and advising for institutions and startups. As a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, he is involved in the European and Paris design scenes.

Learn more about Erik Adigard »

Jeremy Mende is a visual designer from San Francisco. If questioned he will deny being a Modernist but will enthusiastically admit to a belief in beauty and its essential role in producing things of value and durability.

Jeremy received his BA in psychology from UCLA and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2000 he founded MendeDesign, a creative practice that balances commercial projects with visual research and public art. His work is an effort to define design as equal parts expression, criticism, intuition, and advocacy. He has been recognized internationally for his work and currently has pieces in several collections including SFMOMA.

Jeremy has been a member of the CCA design faculty since 2001. In that time he has taught widely in the program including classes in experimental typography, advanced visual design, critical theory, mythology, and design history. Most recently he was the 2010-11 Rome Prize winner in Design at the American Academy in Rome.

Before his career as a designer, Jeremy skippered a mail packet off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Learn more about Jeremy Mende »


Undergraduates: Completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2016 and instructor approval.
Graduate students: Instructor approval

In addition all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2015–16 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies a Studio Elective, Graphic Design Media History 2, or, for students who have achieved junior or senior standing by the end of Spring 2016, an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio.
For graphic design undergraduates who have completed level 3 coreqs (Graphic Design 3 and Typography 3), this course satisfies an Advanced Design Studio.
For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective or Studio Practice.

Program Fee

$4,950 + $50 registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 credits, housing, guest critics, museum entrance fees, local transportation, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Paris, ground transportation to and from airport in Paris, most meals

Extending Your Travel Experience

Ambitious students wanting an even more comprehensive summer European design experience may also enroll in the London/Milan/Amsterdam program (May 23-June 13). This would provide a total of six credits and allow students to explore Europe on their own between programs.

Related Topics
(Please read in entirety)

All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including the New York Studio) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs