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Design in Paris and London: Comparing Cultures

Design in Paris and London: Comparing Cultures
Compare and contrast design during a summer program in two great cities: Paris and London.
Paris, France; London, England
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Design--Illustration & Animation
Design--Industrial Design
Design--Photo Media
Design--Visual Communication Design
Visual Art
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 


  • Spend 3 weeks over the summer exploring the unique and creative cities of Paris and London
  • Visit galleries, museums, theaters while meeting designers, photographers, artists, and illustrators in both cities
  • Earn 6 academic credit hours
Program Summary: 

The pop culture writer/critic William Gibson cites power plugs and the covers of paperbacks as examples of ‘mirror-world’ objects that differ slightly from country to country. These seemingly banal objects actually help define what makes places unique. In the Design Department’s Paris+London Summer Program students will explore Architecture, Art, Design as well as everyday culture to better understand these two great cities. We will search for what defines each city and how they compare to each other.

This will be a multi-departmental, hybrid program that mixes graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, industrial designers and environmental designers. The program will focus on the cities of Paris and London, both known for their historic importance as well as world centers of contemporary architecture and design. Students will not be separated by department but will learn from the exposure to other disciplines.


Paris, France (15 days)
Our adventure begins with Paris. After walking the city and taking a Bateaux Mouches tour along the Seine we will be exposed to the amazing variety of French cuisine. We will explore the city as we learn about the artists, architects, designers, writers and cultural heroes that have shaped our society. We will visit Paris’ greatest art museums: Museum de Louvre, Grand Palais, Musée d'Orsay and the Pompidou. We will discover contemporary art in the galleries of the Marais district and at the Palais de Tokyo, Jeu de Paume and Le Centquatre. Our look at French film will include seeing a movie at La Pagoda and a visit to La Cinematheque Francaise, France’s film museum housed in a building by American architect Frank Ghery. We will visit other architecture sites including Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoy, Les Docks and the Arab Institute. We will continue looking at the city as we visit the studios of artists and designers who are making Paris an important center of creative work today.

London, England (7 days)
The train to London will be quick but memorable. We will look at the museums and places that make London important in the history of design as well as in culture today. We will explore the British Museum and the neighborhoods around it. We will visit Hyde Park and see London’s contemporary art scene at the Serpentine Gallery. We will spend time in London’s coolest neighborhoods, Shoreditch and Brick Lane. And like Paris we will visit some of the creative people that are still making London great.

Academic Information: 


Students must enroll in 6 hours for the program. The courses are:

ADS 532 Study Abroad: Design in Paris + London (3 credit hours)

ADS 533 Study Abroad Documentation: (3 credit hours)

Prior to traveling to Europe, students will be expected to attend weekly presentations and discussions in the spring semester in order to be acquainted the history and culture of Paris and London. Students will be given a variety of ‘research’ assignments to prepare prior to travel. Assigned readings will also be included in this prep work.

Course Descriptions

ADS 532 Paris+London: a studio course in which students will observe, take note and document the cultures of Paris and London. Prior to departure each student will choose several subjects to research and observe while abroad. Subjects can include anything that is part of everyday life in both cities. Students will document their subjects by collecting images, making sketches and writing observations. A book featuring each students’ collections will be produced to document this experience.

ADS 533 Study Abroad Documentation: this course includes relevant assigned research topics to be completed during the Spring Semester before travel initiates. Documentation of the travel experience itself will satisfy the rest of the requirements for credit. In a photographic and literary journal of the trip, students will keep notes, reflections and visual information for evaluation by the instructors. Mandatory attendance is required at all scheduled visits during the trip.

ADS 532 fulfills 3 credits of core requirements for Visual Communications majors, and studio credits for other majors and Schools. ADS 533 fulfills the Study Abroad requirement for Visual Communication majors, and other majors and Schools.


Participants will stay in student residences in Paris and London.


Open to undergraduate or graduate design, art and architecture students from any accredited U.S. college or university. Priority will be given to KU students. Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).

Program Faculty: 

For more information contact:

Tim Hossler, Assistant Professor
Visual Communications, Design Department
Office 353 Art and Design Bldg.

Tim Hossler
As the former in-house art director for photographer Annie Leibovitz Tim helped Ms. Leibovitz create her most memorable images, books and exhibitions of the late 90’s through the early 2000’s. Tim holds a degree in Architecture from Kansas State University (1993) and a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (2005). He was the Director of Design at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the Art Director of The Wolfsonian–Florida International University in Miami Beach before coming to KU in 2011. Tim is currently an assistant professor of Visual Communications. In addition to teaching he continues to work with artists, photographers and cultural institutions to create visual narratives. In 2012 he collaborated with British fashion photographer Tim Walker and art director Ruth Ansel to create Walker's book and exhibition Story Teller.


Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
KU Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall) while classes are in session. The financial advisor will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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