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Society, culture, and the arts

Culture, digital, arts, history and heritage: see how our community combines research and creation to understand societies, their cultures and their arts.

Background and issues

Since it was founded in 1852, Université Laval—the oldest French-language university in North America—has earned a reputation for excellence through its contribution to culture and the arts and the innovative research produced by its professors, both individually and collectively, at leading research institutes and centres. Given the importance of language and history to culture, and Québec’s unique role as a French-speaking society in North America, Université Laval has a responsibility to focus on the study of both the facts of language and the symbolic productions that have helped shape and define Québec’s identity and way of being.

Strategic priorities

  • Develop research at the interface of culture and digital technology
  • Analyze language facts and symbolic productions 
  • Expand the study of Québec and other francophone cultures in historical and contemporary contexts
  • Stimulate creative endeavours in the university setting and continue to develop research-creation
  • Study the various dimensions of history and heritage from new methodological perspectives
  • Consolidate the integration of artistic disciplines within knowledge ecosystems
  • Continue to develop new forms of socially relevant expression

Expertise at Université Laval

Many UL professors are renowned for their expertise in creation and research-creation. At UL, they enjoy access to the cutting-edge platforms they need to consolidate, develop, promote, and transmit knowledge in their respective fields. Other faculty members, who are part of major national and international partnership networks, contribute to society by working on new approaches to heritage and archival studies. Our professors also draw on new theoretical tools to explore ancient and modern philosophy and the world’s major religions.

Université Laval faculty members are renowned for their work on living labs, which bring together actors with a range of strategic perspectives on a given subject and on mobility as an art form.

Some are also members of well-known research centres on the history of Québec society and literature.

Every society has a responsibility to support research in these areas, for they are the foundations of our civilizational heritage and the touchstones that guide contemporary societies as they face new challenges to the health and vitality of democracy.

Our 220 professors and their teams, drawn from 8 faculties, will continue to play a critical role in analyzing and interpreting societies and their arts and cultures.


Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM, the observatory of interdisciplinary research and creation in music) is an eloquent example of Université Laval’s vision and strategy for understanding societies, their cultures, and their arts.

OICRM, which has members from both Université Laval and Université de Montréal, was recognized as a strategic cluster by Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture in 2010. The observatory takes an interdisciplinary research approach, bringing together researchers, researcher-creators, and creators. Members have expertise in such varied fields as teaching (music education and instrumental teaching), creation (performance, music technology, composition), and musicology (music history and theory; Canadian, Québec and Native Aboriginal music studies). Researchers and artists have identified 4 priority areas: learning, including research in music education; doing, which targets research-creation projects; understanding, comprising the study, description, and analysis of musical practice for the purpose of developing theoretical models; and interfacing, a space for members to explore music- and sound-based projects that cross artistic and disciplinary boundaries. OICRM programming is based on a clear definition of research-creation in which creation is both the subject and generator of research, and part of a self-aware, self-reflexive artistic process. Thanks to support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, UL members of OICRM enjoy access to cutting-edge facilities including LaRFADI, a laboratory for ear training and instrumental teaching; MUS-Alpha, a laboratory specializing in the impact of music education on cross-spectrum learning; and LARC, a digital audio research and creation laboratory. LARC’s impressive acoustics and state-of-the-art analog and digital equipment has attracted the interest of many partners and contributes to Université Laval’s national and international reputation.


  • Step up research-creation
  • Establish living labs
  • Develop partnerships
  • Maintain leadership in the francophone sphere
  • Build critical mass