The isdaT — institut supérieur des arts et du design de Toulouse (isdaT— Toulouse Higher Institute of Arts and Design) is a public higher education institution dedicated to art, design, graphic design, music and dance.

Each field gives rise to specific courses and diplomas and may involve collaborative projects, depending on the course.

Initial training, continuing education, courses open to everyone, all of our training courses respond to the social and educational importance of developing creation and transmission in our rapidly changing society.

The isdaT trains artists and creators in several fields, making this public higher education institution a unique environment in France for artistic and educational dialogue. Offering future authors, performers and teachers specialized courses in music, dance, design, graphic design and arts, the isdaT maintains a balance between practice and cultural and theoretical context. This equips students with the skills needed to flourish and integrate into professional and social life.

The isdaT also supports the importance of collaborative and interdisciplinary practices by deploying the knowledge and expertise which is increasingly applied in contemporary cultures. Creators are encouraged to “do it themselves” but also to “know how to do with others”, regardless of their practices. This collaborative approach is being developed within our courses and has given rise to an introductory research workshop, PLEXUS Lab, from 2019 to 2020. PLEXUS Lab is based on a pedagogy of artistic projects combining various practices.

The isdaT belongs to a vast local, national and international network that gives it a great capacity for partnerships. Students are therefore presented with support and mobilization of the highest standard. With the public courses, the isdaT permits individuals of all ages to practice and develop their skills in the field of plastic arts. In addition, the isdaT offers continuing education, primarily in the fields of music and dance, with plans to develop new offers in other fields. As it evolves, the isdaT prepares its students for the professions and challenges of the future, while being strongly anchored in its rich history.

Watch our introduction video (in French)

more photos
isdaT site Daurade, façade © Franck Alix
Auditorium Saint-Pierre des Cuisines, isdaT site Saint-Pierre © Franck Alix

Our missions

  • Organization of higher artistic studies up to doctorate level and the issuing of national diplomas;
  • Implementation of research projects (conferences, study days, seminars, international partnerships, publications);
  • Both internal and external production and distribution (exhibitions, shows, concerts, etc.) in partnership with numerous artistic and cultural venues;
  • International relations (student and teacher mobility, international partnerships);
  • Professional integration of graduates.


Research at isdaT is based on a critical approach that questions eminently political and social issues through creation. In this way, social and economic organization is questioned and revisited, particularly with regard to ecology, organization of production and consumption, as well as upheaval in work organization. The topic of gender is an opportunity for the isdaT to use creation as a means of questioning the way in which our society is “gendered”, to dismantle the false evidence. Our critical approach, both theoretical and practical, has also been deployed according to a deliberately multidisciplinary method, within the framework of the “LabBooks” research. By questioning the notion of editorial writing, this experiments with and combines the diverse visual, performative, conceptual and auditory ideas and intelligence that operate as research in action. Based on the strong objectives of our pedagogy in art, design, and graphic design, these programmes are fully aligned with the general perspective of our teaching and of which it is the most advanced and experimental part.

The research council consists of a representative of each research program. It collegially validates the directions and developments of research within the institution, as well as supports the research of 3 open programs on prevailing issues in the fields of art, design and graphic design and based on prospective plastic and theoretical work.

Their common organization into a research unit within the isdaT makes it possible to support teachers, students and young graduates in their research and experimentation needs, by bringing together researchers and professionals from outside the institution, while sharing research, production and dissemination resources.

Find out more about our research programmes

Key figures

  • 475 students in initial or continuing training
  • Around 150 graduates / year
  • 420 students in public lessons
  • 64 professors and teaching assistants
  • 330 guest speakers
  • 10 diplomas
  • 5 specialities
  • 54 workshops and trainings
  • 103 events
  • 33 conferences and study days

History of the isdaT

As part of the reform of French art schools, the isdaT – institut supérieur des arts et du design de Toulouse was created in 2011. As an Établissement public de coopération culturelle (EPCC – Public Institution for Cultural Cooperation), it brings together two schools: the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Centre d’Études Supérieures Musique et Danse de Toulouse. The creation of the isdaT has fostered a cross-disciplinary identity by combining projects in art, design, graphic design, music and dance as part of the curriculum.

History of the École des Beaux-Arts

The origin of the École des Beaux-arts (School of Fine Arts) dates back to the 17th century, when in 1680, the city of Toulouse opened a public school of drawing and painting at the Capitol. In 1750, the School was established as the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture (Royal Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture) in letters patent signed by Louis XV.

In the 19th century, it became the École des Beaux-Arts et des Sciences Industrielles (School of Fine Arts and Industrial Sciences). In 1806, the School relocated to the Musée des Augustins . In 1895, it once again moved to the buildings of the former tobacco factory, quai de la Daurade.

It was during this time that the current facade of the Palais des Arts was built. It was based on the plans of Pierre Esquié, a former student of the School and recipient of the Grand Prix de Rome for architecture. Today, the Palais houses the library and the old collection / media platform upstairs. On the ground floor, a large exhibition room is dedicated to the work of students and the planning of major exhibitions.


History of the Centre d’Études Supérieures Musique et Danse

In 1993, the Centre d’Études Supérieures Musique et Danse (CESMD – Centre for Advanced Studies in Music and Dance) was founded by the State, the City of Toulouse and the Toulouse – Jean Jaurès University, under the direction of Marc Bleuse.

According to the recommendations of the State, the CESMD and the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse have been united in the form of an Établissement Public de Coopération Culturelle (EPCC), known as the institut supérieur des arts et du design de Toulouse (isdaT).


isdaT site Daurade, verrière
Auditorium Saint-Pierre des Cuisines et studios de danse, isdaT site Saint-Pierre © W-Architectures
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