What is PICT?
The Paris Institute for Critical Thinking (PICT) is a non-profit educational institution founded in 2018 and based in Paris, France.
The teaching and research at PICT are focused on the humanities and arts, which we regard as the natural home of critical thinking. Our core program consists of a curriculum of university-quality courses. Besides these, we also organize a spectrum of other events including lectures, conferences, and workshops. We welcome participants from all backgrounds, regardless of profession, age, or educational level.
All our offerings are in the English language.
Does PICT have an official status?
PICT is registered with the French state as a non-profit educational association (Loi 1901, RNA W751243904) and domiciled at the Maison de la Vie Associative et Citoyenne du Marais, 5 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris.
Furthermore, PICT is registered with the French state as a provider of continuing professional education (formation professionnelle continue), registration no. 11755885775 (disclaimer: this registration does not constitute state endorsement).
Who studies at PICT?
Everyone is welcome to study at PICT, the only requirement being an advanced knowledge of English, which is our sole teaching language. Our experience has proven that courses are immensely enriched by the contributions of participants from a diversity of backgrounds, and so our courses are open to all regardless of profession, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or educational level.
Who teaches at PICT?
Our faculty consists of:
- Exceptional young academics interested in teaching outside the traditional university framework,
- Recognized professionals with unique perspectives on their field of industry and work.
Many of our faculty members are published authors in their academic or professional fields.
What does a PICT course look like?
PICT courses are designed by educators who know how to communicate with an interested, non-expert public. Our courses impart in-depth knowledge while at the same time encouraging vigorous, seminar-style discussion and enabling critical, self-reflexive thinking. PICT prides itself on offering courses that are academically rigorous but also accessible to participants of all educational levels--there are no prerequisites for enrolling in a PICT course.
PICT courses are capped at 15 students to guarantee lively participation and discussion. Course types vary, including two-week intensive courses as well as four- to six-week courses that meet once a week. The courses are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate regular working hours. Often, a second PICT faculty member aids the instructor in encouraging class discussion.
Where do PICT courses take place?
PICT is a pop-up institute that stages its events and courses all over the city of Paris. Our regular venues include the PICT Headquarters in the 3rd arrondissement, the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore next to the Jardin du Luxembourg, and the Maison de la Vie Associative et Citoyenne du Marais. Next to these, we cooperate with partner venues that are appropriate to each event, including the Sorbonne, the Goethe-Institut Paris, the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (FMSH), and many other notable Parisian institutions. You can find a full list of our partner organizations here.
What are PICT’s other activities?
Apart from its core course program, PICT is committed to organizing a large and rapidly expanding range of events. At present, these include:
- Regular talks and conferences that are free and open to the public,
- Book talks and signing events with prominent thinkers and authors,
- Applied workshops in fields such as creative writing and chess,
- A full Creative Writing Program including craft labs, write-ins, and submitathons,
- Scholarly tours including a walking tour of Parisian bookstores and a tour of the Museum of Lights,
- The weeklong PICT Aegean Summer School on the shores of the Aegean Sea.
To keep up with all upcoming PICT events, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter!
Why does PICT charge enrollment fees?
As a fully independent association with no state or institutional funding, PICT relies on two sources of income: (a) enrollment fees for courses and workshops, and (b) membership fees and donations made by PICT supporters. PICT is registered as a non-profit association with the French state, which means that all of our income is devoted to the running costs of the institute. The majority of course enrollment fees are passed on directly to our instructors, without whose vision and dedication PICT would not exist.
The enrollment fee for each PICT course is indicated on the course page. You can switch courses or receive a full refund up to 1 month before classes begin. There is no refund or make-up session for individual classes missed by students.
All public lectures and conferences organized by PICT are free of charge and open to the public.
Can I get my school or company to pay for my PICT course?
PICT is registered with the French state as a provider of continued professional education (formation professionnelle continue).* Therefore, employees in France can ask their employers to reimburse them for PICT enrollment fees. Such employers can be private companies, but in the past, we have also welcomed high school teachers and Ph.D. students who were reimbursed by their schools and universities for taking a PICT course.
* Registration no. 11755885775. Disclaimer: this registration does not constitute state endorsement.
Does PICT offer fellowships and fee waivers?
Each PICT course features 1 “fellowship seat” for participants who cannot afford to pay the full enrollment fee. If you wish to enroll in a PICT course but have financial difficulties, please contact us for our fellowship conditions.
PICT also aims to establish partnerships with public organizations engaged in housing, employment, and refugee aid. A number of fellowship seats will be reserved for participants referred by such organizations.
Can I have a PICT course just to myself?
Yes--in addition to regular courses, PICT also offers the option of customized individual study. Such courses give the participant the opportunity to:
- Create a tailor-made syllabus in consultation with a PICT instructor,
- Receive one-on-one instruction,
- Include an essay writing component if desired.
If you are interested in commissioning a customized individual study course, please contact us directly.
Can PICT teach at my organization?
If you are a corporation or public interest organization (such as a non-profit or trade union) and wish to design workshops, classes, or training for your members in the English language, you can partner up with PICT. Our experienced faculty members will gladly work with you in creating the ideal course framework and content for your purposes. Please contact us directly to inquire about details.
Can my organization become a partner of PICT?
PICT cultivates a growing number of local, national, and international partnerships with:
- Content partners such as cultural, artistic, and educational organizations,
- Venue partners such as municipal and cultural institutions, bookstores, and community centers,
- Private businesses and public organizations with an internal demand for PICT courses.