#EuropeanWay Unleashing the strength of the European Spirit

Join us in going behind the scenes of ESCP’s participation in the Inside Out Project to celebrate the European Spirit

Step into a vibrant world of art and celebration as ESCP embarks on a collaborative journey like never before. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its European model, ESCP unites its students, alumni, faculty, staff & local communities across its European campuses with the school’s participation in the Inside Out Project.

European 50 years Celebration logo

Inside Out is a participatory art platform created by French artist JR to help communities worldwide to stand up for what they believe in and spark global change locally.

The collaborative works of art created thanks to this initiative reflect both the school’s pan-European DNA and the strength of the European Spirit. Join us in learning more about this initiative with ESCP Deputy Communications Director Maud Autrechy.

Embodying the European Spirit

But, what is the ‘European Spirit’ exactly? “The European Spirit can mean different things to different people,” says Autrechy. “That’s why we are inviting everyone taking part in the project to answer the question: ‘What does the European Spirit mean to you’ via a short questionnaire after participating.

For me, the European Spirit refers to the shared values, historical connections, cultural heritage and aspirations associated with the people and nations of Europe. We are a laboratory of cultures with common values and a commitment to striving for peace.

- Maud Autrechy

European unity has shown its strength in the face of great challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. But in many ways, Europe feels both more united and divided than ever before.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the school’s European model, we realised that we had the opportunity to do more than celebrate. ESCP seeks to reinforce the links within its local communities and among students, faculty, staff and alumni, whose lives span generations and continents, around the message of unity through diversity.

“Community, along with ethics and sustainability is a pillar of ESCP,” adds Autrechy. “We want to honour the individuals who, in their diversity, form the basis of our community and embody the ‘European Spirit’.

Every year, ESCP welcomes more than 9,000 students and 5,000 managers from 130 different nationalities, with more than 75,000 active alumni in over 200 countries. Across all campuses, at least 33 nationalities share experiences every day.

For ESCP, the mission of the Inside Out ‘United for European Spirit’ tour is to celebrate the links between people, and how their interconnectedness is what gives a place spirit. It’s a way to acknowledge and embrace the connections that bind communities, to something greater than the individual, and open to a world of shared experiences, mutual support, and collective growth.

As a higher education institution, this is the value that we offer to our students: a safe place to learn and grow, to encounter new ideas and experiences, and to build relationships that will last a lifetime,” says Autrechy.

What does ‘European Spirit’ mean to you?

It means finding solutions to common problems and challenges despite differences. It is about spreading democracy and the values of solidarity.

- Katia Sinelle

Painting the town with European Spirit, literally

Giant black and white portraits spread across the walls of the campus, yet, they reveal the colours of unity and diversity. In 2023, the Inside Out Photobooth truck will visit six ESCP campuses across Europe as part of the ‘United for European Spirit’ tour. Members of the public and the ESCP community are invited to the campuses to be photographed and have their portraits unveiled in giant mosaics. The tour began on June 8 at ESCP’s Paris campus at République, a campus that ESCP will soon be leaving for a period of four years in order to allow for its renovation.

It all started with a promise: that the community could say goodbye to ESCP Business School's historic campus, the one at 79 avenue de la République, our address for over 150 years now,

- Maud Autrechy

Art seemed like the perfect medium to express the dynamics of the change taking place, to reflect the energy of this place through all the destinies that have succeeded one another here. In 4 years' time, the story will continue with the same conviction that Europe is our common project, the one we embrace thanks to all our campuses.

Since its founding in 2011 by JR, the Inside Out Project has reached over 500,000 people in more than 150 countries and territories, with over 2,500 Actions created.

We were inspired by past Inside Out actions and the compelling ability of art to effectively communicate and propel significant causes forward,” explains Autrechy.

What does ‘European Spirit’ mean to you?

Overcoming differences so that together we can make anything possible.

- Mehdi Delaunay El Mekki

Going behind the scenes

So, what happens exactly when people use the Photobooth? Of course, they get to have their photo taken and their portrait printed in large format, which is then pasted onto the walls of the school. But the experience does not stop there.

It is especially fun to search for your own portrait as well as those of your colleagues,” adds Autrechy. “Everyone was encouraged to make whatever expression they wanted, funny or serious, but you only had one chance to take the photo. We shared a lot of laughs together as we watched our photos print from the photobooth, with some people very surprised by the result.

These displays offer a sense of identity and honour to those depicted and create a positive atmosphere within the school. Each portrait represents an individual who plays a unique role within the institution, whether it be students, faculty, staff, or alumni. It shows unity beyond diversity.

In addition to the portraits, participants will be invited to record themselves answering the question: "What does 'European Spirit' mean to you?" This will allow us to bring to life the key message of the action and create an audio collage of the experience.

“For ESCP, our mission was to show the excellence and diversity of the people who make up our rich community. Whose impact and commitment to ESCP spreads beyond the walls of our campuses. We had to show the faces that make up ESCP Business School.”

And like ESCP’s students, the Photobooth truck will travel from campus to campus. The journey, which started at ESCP's Parisian site in République, will continue through the cities of Berlin on the 21 & 22 September, Turin on the 25 & 26 September, Madrid on the 30 September & 2 October, and London on 5 & 6 October, ending its expedition at the new Champerret site in Paris in December. The walls of ESCP campuses in each of these cities will be covered with the faces of the people who are or have been part of them.

To borrow from Plato: ‘It is not the walls that make the city, but the people’,

- concludes Autrechy

What does ‘European Spirit’ mean to you?

In Europe, there are differences in culture but not in spirit. We are all united in the commitment to collective action and a quest for peace in order to ensure a fairer, more sustainable world.

- Houneyda Bibi