Master TRANS - de la Head

Art, education and civic engagement

One location: the Libellules district in the Swiss commune of Vernier. Two objectives: give life to a public space dedicated to art and invite local citizens to take part in creative projects collectively. This experimental project is managed by TRANS, a group of Master students in the field of visual arts at the Geneva School of Art and Design with the support of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations.

The challenge

“With the current unemployment levels and the highest concentration of low-income individuals in the canton, the 504 apartments of the Libellules district harbor a group of individuals whose stories escape the ordinary.”

Ernest Greiner, vice president of the Fondation HBM Emile Dupont

The TRANS— Master's Program of the Geneva School of Art and Design trains student artists in the theories and practice of “transpedagogy,” the alliance of art and education in an effort to broaden cultural outreach and social transformation. Such a project allows students to put the dynamics of artistic practice to the test within a social context.

Since 2015, this project has been taking shape in the Art’Lib space in the popular district of Libellules. The Art’Lib cultural space is open to the whole community; its programming and management have been entrusted to the students of Master TRANS— by the municipality of Vernier until the end of 2017.

Our ambition

Using art and culture as catalyzers for social inclusion: this is the aim of the TRANS— Master students in this unprecedented participative art project. Implemented within an underprivileged area that is undergoing redevelopment efforts, the project is conducted in close collaboration with the municipality, the community center, housing associations and, above all, the local residents. 

Explore the role of art in society and how artists can engage with audiences

by allowing students to work on an annual project requiring skills exchange at the aesthetic, organisational and critical levels

Enable access to art and other forms of expression to all 

with a goal of fostering empowerment, social cohesion and joint ownership of public spaces

Experiment with new forms of artistic expression and exchange

by developping methods of collaboration and by starting a lasting conversation between creators and residents

Our solutions


An integrated module in the TRANS— Master's curriculum at the Geneva School of Art and Design, coordinated by the educational team of the Microsillons collective


A varied program, conceived and carried out by students and local residents


The establishment of a permanent project support team, made up of young local residents who seek radical reform of the educational system

Research & action

An ongoing evaluation of the relevance and impact of each effort so as to be able to review and adjust them as we move along



months of collaboration planned


locals brought together
at each event


animations created since 2015

“Set up in a popular area,  away from the traditional contemporary art channels, the project in Libellules is at the heart of the TRANS— program. Its many efforts over the past two years—involving local residents, school children, members of the community center and other associations—have opened a real discussion on the political and civic potential of a space such as the Art’Lib cultural space.”

Marianne Guarino-Huet
Professor and course leader of the TRANS— Master's Program at the Geneva School of Art and Design, co-founder
the Microsillons collective

The way forward

  • Increase the number of collaborations with international artists and researchers in the field of social-minded artistic practices.
  • Continue the work of the Art’Lib project until the end of 2017 alongside the department of culture of the municipality of Vernier and other associations in the district.
  • Communicate on the practices explored and their results through a dedicated web platform.

Connect with the program 

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For art that is socially involved!

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