Ministero della pubblica istruzioneAfam

Erasmus policy statement

2021/ 2027

ISIA Florence
considers its internationalization strategy to be a central component of its general strategic vision.
The Institute's philosophy considers the role of Design (in the widest definition) to be central in pursuing research, in enabling innovation and in orienting contemporary society towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.

In today's context, denoted by a continuous evolution of technologies, by transformations of urban areas and societies as a whole, and by emerging environmental challenges, ISIA strongly believes that - in order to work towards solutions to the great global challenges - design must be nurtured by the variety of knowledges and perspectives that can only derive from a dialogue with a network of local, national and international partnerships. This enrichment in the realm of research and learning brings with it the development of each individual, but most importantly it enables the kind of innovation processes that bear a positive impact on the whole society.

The topics that ISIA, together with local stakeholders, strives to tackle in these years by means of its teaching and its research strategy are the ones of: reducing environmental impacts, studying the urban transformations and the involvement of both citizens and institutions, designing for people’s well-being and designing of goods and services for “hostile environments” such as outer space that, with all its constraints, becomes  a modeling paradigm of ultra-low impact and extreme sustainability processes.
We strongly believe that ISIA’s general strategy optimally converges with an internationalisation strategy aiming to enhance the quality of teaching and research by the means of collaborations with the most advanced institutions and businesses.
The institute is therefore strongly committed to an overall strategy aimed at increasingly embedding the international dimension in its research and learning activities.
Within this perspective, ISIA’s internationalization strategy includes the continuation and reinforcement of the initiatives already under way, such as mobilities for study and traineeships, as well as teaching and staff mobilities, and moreover in participating in other EU-backed projects, all activities requiring a significant workload on the Institute staff.

ISIA’s internationalization strategy is coordinated by the Delegate teacher for Erasmus activities, in close collaboration with the Direction and with Finances Office, following directives approved by the Academic Governing Bodies. Organisation and programming of activities is managed by the International Relations Office, supported by the Erasmus Commission, expressly set up to ensure that learning activities that take place abroad are fully and transparently recognized into the students’ curricula.

Reinforcing the existing network of partnerships and creating new Bilateral Agreements with other institutions participating into the Erasmus+ programme is the first goal of ISIA’s internationalization strategy, in order to enrich the mobilities of students, teachers and staff. Within the EU Programme, ISIA therefore intends to quantitatively and qualitatively increase the number of international relations in order to widen the range of opportunities for staff and students and to give the possibility of choosing qualified educational institutions that share the general direction of development consistent with ISIA’s educational philosophy.

Teachers mobility activities have recently been implemented and ISIA intends to follow it up with a more structured system of activities, increasing the types and quantity of the mobilities. ISIA is strongly committed to increase mobility activities among the teaching and non-teaching staff in order to cross-breed educational opportunities through contact with training experiences based on different approaches and to re-qualify the professional skills of the staff in a permanent learning perspective.

On a national basis, ISIA is already collaborating with other Higher Education Institutions in order to develop joint learning offering and intends to strengthen this activity and hopefully bring it to a European level by implementing Strategic Partnerships within the Erasmus+ programme.
Beyond the EU boundaries, the institute maintains a long-term exchange relationship with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design of Minneapolis, USA, and intends to further increase this partnership model and to apply it in the creation of new relationships and partnerships with other educational institutions operating in non-European countries. In recent years, for example, ISIA has been working to open its internationalization strategy to partners in Asia, in order to bring Italian and European design approach to Asian countries, and viceversa.

ISIA further intends to potentiate international internships opportunities, in order to enhance employability and improve students’ career prospects. That’s why the Institute aims at making traineeship mobility for students and recent graduates more structured and systematic, so as to create employment opportunities and open channels of dialogue with individual companies and most importantly, with the professional category associations, thus increasing its number of industrial partners.

Collaboration with enterprises plays a central role in the Florence ISIA’s approach in teaching design, in fact the relationship between education, research and business concerns is considered a key channel for identifying design as an essential drive for development. This is why ISIA will pay special attention to the parts of the Programme that include financing projects of exchange and cooperation between Higher Education institutions, public bodies and businesses. The Institute is currently collaborating with local and national stakeholders, such as public institutions, enterprises and other higher education institutions in the design of projects in the field of health and welfare in general terms; the goal is to translate these practices into wider and even more ambitious Knowledge Alliances, involving a network of local and international partners.



2014 / 2020

For many years the Florence ISIA has been following a strategy of internationalization that aims, for the benefit of the students, to project the institution into a wider dimension as regards taking care of relations and a regular redefinition of critical reflections on the subject of design.

The prime objective in the ISIA strategy is to affirm its philosophy regarding the importance of the part that design can play in contemporary culture in the directions of sustainability and solidarity. The main theme, therefore, of the internationalization strategy, as interpreted here, is linked directly to considering design as a means of development and not simply as a discipline connected solely to the ornamental or decorative arts, as many other educational institutions unfortunately consider it, even today. At the end of 2012 moreover the European Commission itself prepared a document of policy, known as Design for Growth and Prosperity, through the European Design Leadership Board, identifying this discipline as being one of the principal instruments that can help the development of the Union in the next seven years. ISIA can in this sense boast a long experience as a generator of economic development projects through Design. As an example, we would like to mention the transversal project of collaboration between the countries of Uruguay and Argentina that has led to the building of new schools and courses in Design in those countries, as well as creating several industrial spin-offs that are still operating. This strategy is developed today through an extensive network of relationships on European and international levels: on the one hand ISIA is a partner in some of the largest networks of educational reality in the field of art and design in the world and Europe - the CUMULUS International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media and ELIA, the European League of Institutes of the Arts – and, on the other, ISIA promotes and sustains bilateral agreements with individual educational, professional or industrial entities.

ISIA intends to make the most of its long-term exchange relationship with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design of Minneapolis, MN, USA, in order to create relationships and partnerships with other American educational institutions and professional studios and companies operating in the field of design, communications and the new media. In this regard, one of the ISIA teachers, invited in the sphere of the Eisenhower Fellowship, was able to make a series of strategic meetings at some of the major institutions of education and research in the United States, with the aim of building up various forms of cooperation.

The medium and long-term objectives that ISIA wishes to carry out are:
  • to quantitatively and qualitatively increase the number of international relations in order to give the students in mobility the possibility of choosing qualified educational institutions that share the general direction of development consistent with ISIA’s educational philosophy;
  • to make placement mobility more structured and systematic and open channels of dialogue with individual companies and above all involve the professional associations, thus increasing its number of industrial partners and ensuring the quality of the placement experiences;
  • to set up mobility programmes among the teaching and non-teaching staff in order to cross-breed educational opportunities through contact with training experiences based on different approaches and to re-qualify the professional skills of the staff in a lifelong learning perspective;
  • to increase project development skills in relation to EU funding and that specifically regard the relationship between higher education and business, considered a key channel for identifying design as an essential drive for development.

On the basis of its previous experience, the Florence ISIA mainly intends to invest in relations with the geographical areas around the Mediterranean, as they represent the real frontier of the future in terms of European integration, economic development and the patrimonial assets of the huge cultural potential existing in this area, which has not been sufficiently developed up until now.
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