Villa Créative

The Villa Créative: a third place to serve the Culture, Heritage and Digital Societies axis

The Villa Créative, a new hybrid site for training, creation, innovation, experimentation and research, will open its doors in 2023. This unique place for meetings, sharing and collaboration will bring together the worlds of academia, research and entrepreneurship around the university's "Culture, Heritage and Digital Societies" specialization.

The main site and its annex
The Villa Créative will be located on two sites:

The Pasteur site, located within the city limits, which has hosted conference cycles of the Avignon Festival every summer since 2014. This 19th century building offers a remarkable site, with a central building of 3500 m² and one of the rare gardens in the heart of the city of Avignon of 4000m² ideally located 30 meters from the Hannah Arendt campus. It is located in the heart of a "campus district" undergoing renovation.

The project has aroused the desire of many structures to become permanent residents. In view of this success, the university has allocated a 700m² annex 200m away which increases the capacity of the Villa Créative.

  • A pavilion reserved for research, university laboratories and their partners.
  • A floor totally dedicated to the Lifelong Learning Service (SFTLV).
  • A Coworking space with evolving, connected furniture, adapted to collective intelligence work.
  • Training and administration areas.
  • A high-end auditorium with 80 seats for seminars and conferences.
  • An audiovisual studio for filming and calibration.
  • Three spaces of 100 m² each for ephemeral uses (living lab, exhibitions, projections, performances...). These convivial spaces are designed as meeting and sharing places for the various users of the space (academics, researchers, students, entrepreneurs, artists, general public).
  • A city brasserie open to all.
The arrival of the Lifelong Learning Service (SFTLV) on this site will be part of a project to develop relations between initial and continuing education in a dynamic way for the greater benefit of the region. In addition to its catalogue, it will develop training courses related to the theme of this site and will propose new offers with the partners of the ecosystem.

The vocation and missions of the Villa Créative

To stimulate project mode and collective intelligence, to facilitate new methods of experimentation, to encourage interdisciplinarity, to strengthen collaborative work with all users with different backgrounds, levels and horizons, to amplify communication around scientific news, to develop new partnerships and to participate in the influence of the cultural ecosystem of Avignon.

The association "Les acteurs de la Villa Créative"
In advance of the opening planned for 2023, the university has decided to create a prefiguration association, "Les acteurs de la Villa Créative", to bring the place to life outside the walls from 2021. This association will make it possible to gather cultural structures or partners around the project, to involve them and to build a common territorial animation.

The University Research Society (SUR)
Avignon University is the first higher education establishment to carry out an initiative of this type based on a new economic development model with the creation of a university and research company (SUR).
Aignon University, after the presentation of its application to the 1st SUR PIA3 commitment committee, entered the pool on August 1st, 2020. The SUR guarantees Avignon University the self-financing of the Villa Créative project. The 2nd commitment committee will take place mid-May 2021.

As of 2023, this University Research Society (SUR) will be entrusted with the management of the spaces and equipment. The university will be the majority shareholder alongside public and private shareholders.

15 M€ Rehabilitation of the main site - funded by the 2015-2020 State-Region Plan Contract.
700 K€ Rehabilitation of the annex - financed under the 2020 recovery plan
1.8 M€ Financing plan - carried out within the framework of PIA 3 SUR

Partners supporting the project:

Banque des territoires, Caisse des dépôts et Consignation, Rising Sud (South PACA Region), D4 avocats, EY, Les Canaux

Applicants to become permanent residents:
Festival d’Avignon
Service de la formation tout au long de la vie d’Avignon Université
L’Ecole des Nouvelles Images
Frames Festival
French Tech Grande Provence
CNAM Avignon

Project owner: Rectorat d'Aix-Marseille (Board of Education of Aix-Marseille)
Project management: Atelier Alfonso Femia
Opening date: 2023

Co-design workshops

Co-design workshops "Living in the Villa Créative" will be held throughout 2021, to which teachers, researchers, employees, students and the University's partners will be invited.

The project team:

Philippe Obert: VP Economic Development
Georges Linarès: VP research
Anne-Lise Rosier: Chief of Staff / Project Director
Pierre Aumont: Partnership and usage scenarios engineer


Date of update June 21, 2021