Each year the Institute brings together a cohort of 14-15 Fellows, half of them Columbia faculty and post-docs, the other half artists and writers from around the world, to spend a year together in work and conversation.

The Institute fosters intellectual and creative diversity unconstrained by medium and discipline through the interaction of the arts and academia.

The Institute also welcomes Columbia scholars and faculty who wish to come for shorter visits to carry out research, organize meetings and talks, or collaborate in arts outreach with its SNF Public Humanities Initiative.

Architecture at the Institute and in the neighborhood

Based in Paris, the Institute is housed within Reid Hall, a large property in Montparnasse dating back to the 18th century. Overlooking a verdant garden and a cobblestone courtyard, the Institute contains fellows’ offices on two floors, and a seminar room, reading room and common room/dining area on the top floor.

The entire building was renovated and modernized by Explorations Architecture in 2017–2018. The building backs onto the rue de la Grande Chaumière, home to a famous painting academy of the early twentieth century, and the studios of artists such as Amadeo Modigliani and Paul Gauguin.

Lynnette workshop

A presidential initiative that grew out of an extended process of faculty consultation, the Institute aims to encourage connections between the analytic and the creative imagination

It was born of the conviction that the transformation of the global knowledge economy poses new challenges to the way ideas are conceived and communicated, and aims to help academia meet those challenges by fostering an environment of imaginative exploration, global in character, in which a younger generation of scholars and creative artists works alongside more established scholars to produce innovative work that will introduce new perspectives into the university and the culture more broadly. A showcase for their ongoing work is the regular series of fellows’ lectures, talks and performances, the SNF Rendez-vous de l’Institut, which are free and open to the public.


The Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination is made possible by the generous support of the Areté Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and Daniel Cohen, and with additional gifts from Judith Ginsberg and Paul LeClerc, Olga and George Votis, the EHA Foundation, and Mel and Lois Tukman.


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