Looking at animals

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 


Tutors: Philippe Lenouvel/ ethologist and neuroscientist, Hélène Roche, Romy Sauvageot/ ethologists

Project manager: Anna Mezey


How do people and animals relate to one another on a farm? What governs the cows' behaviour and how does the farmer communicate with his animals? Four classes, accompanied by an ethologist, observed life on a farm for several months to learn how men and animals live together, side by side.

What are animals and what is ethology?
An ethologist discussed the world of animals with the pupils: What relationships do we have with animals? What do they bring us? How are they perceived?
Introduction to the basic notions of ethology: How to observe and understand animals. How to observe their behaviour. What influence does the environment have?
Introduction to ethological tools.

Each class was put into contact with its research field, one of the following farms: L’arbre à poule, Villiers-Saint-Pau; La Bergerie nationale, Rambouillet; Francilianes, an organic donkey dairy farm, Chennevières-sur-Marne. To create a real research situation, the pupils drew up analytical tools: an ethogram and a questionnaire.

Analysis and description
The aim was to sort out and understand the material gathered during fieldwork (photos, notes, interviews). The ethologist and the farmer helped the pupils understand the nature of the relationships which permit the farmer and his animals to “work together.”

An installation was set up in each school. It was filled with life sized cardboard models of the animals that had been studied during the year (pig, duck, donkeys, cows, sheep.) This mini-farm, in a space measuring 2 x 3 metres, was supplemented by excerpts from the pupils' reports. 

Acknowledgements: L’arbre à poule, Villiers-Saint-Paul, La Bergerie nationale, Rambouillet, Francilianes, organic donkey dairy farm, Chennevières-sur-Marne
Special thanks to Magali, Pierre and Julien for their hospitality and their time.


Participating schools :
- Class (6th ), Collège Auguste-Delaune, Bobigny
- Class (6th ), Collège Jean-Jaurès, Pantin
- Class (6th SEGPA), Collège Lavoisier, Pantin
- Class (ULIS), Collège François-Mitterrand, Noisy-le-Grand


Photo and scenography: ELODIE DESCOUBES

Looking at animals
Looking at animals
Looking at animals
Looking at animals