Explore Australia’s significant ties to France and Flanders through its involvement in WW1 through photography, film and culture.
ANZAC Day was established to commemorate the 1915 landing of New Zealand and Australian troops in Gallipoli, yet what is still remembered as ‘the worst day in Australian history’ would come a year later at Fromelles, just west of Lille. This region would also become the site of a number of notable Australian victories, such as the victory at Hill 60, where just across the Belgian border, Queensland miners played a crucial role in setting off a series of explosions that helped break the front lines. During this time Australian Frank Hurley, an Australian war photographer captured a number of images that would go on to define ‘The Great War’ for many around the world.
Yet the stories of Australian successes during WW1 did not go on to define the ANZAC spirit in the same way that the event in Gallipoli did, and Hurley’s stunning photographic montages were condemned at the time as ‘fake’. What are the issues involved in communicating such events and their importance? To answer this question and more, the course will analyse both Hurley’s photographic work and two modern Australian films set in the Flanders region – Beneath Hill 60 (2010) and An Accidental Soldier (2013), in relation to their historical and cultural contexts, including other regional Australian connections. Students will visit various Australian monuments such as the Cobbers memorial and museum at Formelles. They will also cross the border into Belgium to visit Ypres, rebuilt after near-total destruction during the first world war. While there, the group will attend the Last Post ceremony, performed at the Menin Gate Memorial every evening since the 1920’s.
The study of film and photography is necessarily intertwined with the study of art and art history, which likewise played an important role in the culture of the Flanders region from the middles ages onwards. As part of this course, students will visit Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts, whose collection is second only to the Louvre in France, and La Piscine, an art museum set in a former art deco swimming pool in the former textile centre of Roubaix, a suburb which today is part of the Lille metropolitan area and has significant ties to Australia through the wool trade.
Studying abroad was the best decision I’ve ever made. The lecturers are all engaging and invested in their subjects. It’s really interesting to see how universities are different in France. It was particularly moving to stand in the places where Australian blood was spilt during the first world war and where many Australians rest. – Alyssa, Edith Cowan University
I’ve learnt a lot about myself whilst on this trip. I had many obstacles, as well as a language barrier to contend with, but by putting myself out there I was able to overcome them.
I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to attend this program, I only wish I had time in the beautiful city of Lille. – Keyan, Curtin University
Intended Learning Outcomes & Additional Course Information
After successfully completing this short course, participants will have gained the following skills and knowledge:
- Understand and be able to utilise key terms and concepts pertaining to the formal analysis of art, film and photography
- Recognise key developments in the history of film and photography, in specific relation to World War I
- Demonstrate insight into the Australian experience on the Western Front during World War I, and its relevance to the present, particularly within an intercultural context
Student Participation (20%)
Continuous Assessment (20%)
Final Exam (60%)
University & Faculty
Universite Catholique de Lille is one of the largest universities in the French higher education system, boasting 28,500 students, 6 faculties, and 20 colleges and institutes.
Founded in 1875 the Universite Catholique de Lille has grown to include 33 research teams, a hospital complex with 700 beds, and a child guidance centre. These institutions share the same educational philosophy based on excellence, humanist values, achievement, solidarity and are open to students and staff of all cultures and beliefs. Even though Universite Catholique de Lille is a private university, the university is a not-for-profit institution which aims to make the university’s services available to everybody in order to contribute to both economic and social progress.
Baguettes, berets, stripy shirts, and cheese are not the only things France is known for. With stunning coastlines, forests and valleys, fantastic wine country, historic towns, and a rich history, it’s hard for this country to go wrong.
You will be based in Lille, which is located in the north-east of France and is the country’s 4th largest city. Influenced by its solid industrial history, Lille has come a long way to the commercial and cultural hub it is today. Despite being the largest city in the north, Lille has a laid-back feel to it without the big city arrogance.
Being a popular student city definitely contributes to its laid-back attitude and also drives its nightlife, making it one of the best cities in France for a fun night out.
During the day why not relax at a café with a coffee, cycle around taking in the city’s historical architecture, or head to one of Lille’s (and France’s) most famous art galleries: Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art and Roubaix’s La Piscine, a unique gallery located in a repurposed art deco public swimming pool.
If you’re looking for the real touristy stuff you always have the option of catching a one hour train to Paris, and it only costs 20 Euros!
The accommodation is in private residences on or off-campus with easy access to the university. The residences offer a secure setting, each building can be accessed using a swipe card. Students will stay in private self-contained studio apartments with a private bathroom and a kitchenette or a shared flat (two individual rooms and shared bathroom and kitchenette) – bedding and dishes are provided. All rooms have internet (wired or wifi depending on residences). Wifi internet in all common spaces. All residences have shared laundry. Some residences also have a dining room and/or a leisure room.
Social and Cultural Program
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the largest fine art museums in France. Located in the centre of Lille, this museum is truly a must-see location; not only does it have a beautiful Belle Époque style exterior but it houses sculptures, paintings, drawings, and ceramics by famous artists such as Raphael, Donatello, Tissot, Goya, El Greco, Delacroix, Rodin, and Rembrandt.
Wazemmes Sunday Market
Wazemmes is Lilles largest market with plenty to offer from food, flowers, exotic products to local produce. Vibrant and colorful with a “Soho” vibe to it, Wazemmes is the perfect place for a stroll and people watching- not to mention practising your french!
Field trip to Fromelles/Ypres
Students will visit various Australian monuments such as the Cobbers memorial and museum at Formelles. They will also cross the border into Belgium to visit Ypres, rebuilt after near-total destruction during the first world war. While there, the group will attend the Last Post ceremony, performed at the Menin Gate Memorial every evening since the 1920’s.
Weekend Trip to Paris
What visit to France wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Paris? With the capital only being an hour away, you get to enjoy an entire weekend there with fellow students and tick off a few things on your France bucket list.
Field trip to Bruges
Enjoy a day trip to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Bruges is UNESCO protected for its idyllic core, often leaving visitors amazed with its fairytale backdrop and incredible architecture. Make sure you pack your camera because this is a photo opt you don’t want to miss!
If you have any questions about our programs check out the frequently asked questions page, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us, we’re more than happy to help.
You can register your interest for a future program by clicking here.
Applications for YMCA Global Study January/February 2019 programs are now open. Places are limited and are usually oversubscribed. Students are encouraged to apply early to secure their spot.
The YMCA Global Study Application Process
Step 1: Apply Now
Click here to complete the online Registration and Application forms. This will give us the information we need to access your eligibility for a program. After you have completed the online application forms you will be prompted to book a time to have a telephone interview with one of our staff.
Step 2: Phone Interview
Phone interviews are usually about 15 minutes and give us a chance to talk to you about your program choice, make sure all the information we have is correct, and talk you through the rest of the application process.
Step 3: Finalising your application
Once you have completed YMCA Global Study will send you an email with instructions detailing how to finalise your application.
Step 4: Receive your acceptance pack
Once your application has been approved YMCA Global Study will send you an ‘Acceptance pack’. This pack will include important documents such as a course syllabus, acceptance letter from your Host University and advice on how to apply for credit with your home university, the pack may also include information on any funding specific to your university.
Step 5: Apply for credit and funding (if applicable)
Now you are ready to apply for credit and funding (woohoo!) – all the information you need will be in your acceptance pack
Step 6: Pay your deposit and confirm your place
Once you have paid your deposit your place on the program confirmed.
For further information about the application process check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us.
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