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Institute of Borders and Discontinuities


1- Legal form

L’Institut des Frontières et Discontinuités, (the Institute of Borders and Discontinuities) is a Franco-Belgian « Groupement d’intérêt scientifique ».

2- General aim and main mission of the institution

The IFD (the Institute of Borders and Discontinuities) is a scientific group launched through an agreement between research laboratories from 6 Belgian and French universities: the Catholic University of Louvain, the University of Artois, the University from Littoral – Côte d’Opale, the University of Lille, the University of Reims – Champagne – Ardenne and the University of Lorraine.

Founded in 2011, the institute is a flexible network; it is recognized by the relevant European and international scientific fora. It brings together scientific members, including PhD students and academic seniors. It plays three kinds of missions: it is a cross-border network of researchers, a space for scientific debates and an answer to the needs of the territorial authorities.

3- Role of the institution regarding cross-border issues

The IFD facilitates and develops the networking of researchers specialized in borders and cross-border areas, cross-border cooperation and governance, in a multi-disciplinary approach connecting i.e. geography, social and political sciences, sciences of education, public administration and history. Its main field is the Franco-Belgian border.

It is a research group organizing international conferences or thematic workshops, developing common methodologies, conceptualization or studied cases, communicating and publishing all for scientific arenas, operators or wide audience.

It plays also a full role in training or teaching missions taking part of masters programs, organizing field surveys for students (e.g. a yearly visit of CBC organizations) and developing a DU (Diplôme universitaire), (Chaire Jean Monnet project).

It develops applied expertise for territorial authorities and think tanks and has been recognized as a specific partner for a 2017-2020 Chaire Jean Monnet project.

4- Activities / References regarding cross border issues

  • Continuous education: Diplôme universitaire in « Frontières et Intégration européenne » 2017-2020 (Chaire Jean Monnet)
  • Master : Discontinuités, TErritorialités, Culture (UFR Géographie et Aménagement, Université de Lille)
  • PhD Seminars including an introduction by 2 senior researchers, presentations and debates with Ph D Students; they are organized during the IFD Days (cf infra)
Research / Applied research
  • Chaire Jean Monnet: Frontières et Intégration européenne, 2017-2020 led by prof Bernard Reitel, University of Artois.
  • Jean Monnet Network: CECCUT: Capitale Européenne de la Culture et Cohésion Urbaine Transfrontalière (lead: LISER) from 2018.
Consulting / Studies
  • The research program « Les R eprésentations P olitiques et C itoyennes de la F rontière dans le cadre de l’ E urométropole » (RPCFE) for the Region Nord Pas-de-Calais, 2013-2015.
Conferences (own organisation)

BRITXIV: Border Regions In Transition International Conference, November 4-7, 2014 (Arras, Lille, Mons): 270 participants, with a field trip at the Franco-English and at the Franco-Belgian borders
IFD yearly Scientific Days since 2015:

  • 2015: Borders and Security (December 10 – 11, Mons), with (i.e.) prof Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (UVIC) and Amaêl Cattaruzza (Centre de recherche des Ecoles de St Cyr Coëtquidan),
  • 2016: Frontières, réseaux, flus, territoires (December 8-9, Dunkerque) with (i.e.) prof Birte Wassenberg (IEP & Université de Strasbourg),
  • 2017: Les frontières fantômes en Europe: mémoire, pouvoir et signification (October 6, Arras) with (i.e.) prof Vladimir Kolosov (Académie des sciences de Moscou),
  • 2018 : La contrebande hier et aujourd’hui : activité illicite et sociabilité transfrontalière, (December 5 – 6, Lille) with (i.e.) prof Adriana Dorfman (Universidade federal do Rio Grande do Sul).

International Conferences

  • 2017 : Frontières, territoires de santé et réseaux de soins (June 1-2, 2017, Arras)
  • 2018 : Penser avec les discontinuités en géographie (June 4-5, 2018, Arras)

Organization of special sessions in the ASRDLF since 2015:

  • ASRDLF2018, Caen: “La coopération transfrontalière européenne: laboratoire ou impasse?” (2)
  • ASRDLF2017, Athens: “The European crossborder cooperation: a lab or a dead end?”
  • ASRDLF2016, Gatineau (Canada): “How to study the border”?
  • ASRDLF2015, Montpellier: “Zone frontière, coopération transfrontalière: reconfigurations scalaires et innovation”
Publications/Conference papers
  • Considère S. et T. Perrin (dir.), 2017, Frontières et représentations sociales. Questions et perspectives méthodologiques, coll. Académia, Louvain-la-Neuve, L’Harmattan.
  • European Crossborder Cooperation on Health : theory and practice, 2017, co-edited with E. Delecosse et H. Lewalle, DG Sanco & DG Regio, European Commission, Luxembourg, Office des publications de l‘Union Européenne (english, german and french versions)
  • Moullé F. (éd), 2017, Frontières, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, Bordeaux.
  • Leloup F. et L. Gagnol, 2017 (coord.), « De la Barrière à la coopération transfrontalière : frontière, développement et gouvernance de l’environnement » Mondes en Développement, vol.45, numéro 1.

The development of a specific web site : not only to advertise the IFD activities but as a resource for teachers/ operators and other researchers in terms of bibliography, filmography or lexicon (