The Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales (IHECS) organises university training (Bachelor and Master) in communication, journalism, social and cultural activities and permanent education, and media literacy. Its specificity is the alliance of both a sound theoretical teaching and a very practical apprenticeship in media and foreign languages. IHECS is a leading player in action-research, aiming at combining a media laboratory and students’ creativity with media education and social responsibility. This “In real life” project-based learning makes IHECS students aware of local and global economic, social and environmental challenges, making them experience intercultural dialogue and become more aware of their own cultural framework and views.

IHECS Academy, the further education training center working in conjunction with IHECS, seeks to be at the forefront of the latest educational developments in communication and information, and aims to disseminate them. It works closely with Belgian public services for training and social inclusion purposes.

Over the last few years, the institution has put European issues at the heart of its educational curriculum.

IHECS is also involved in European matters as a social and civic-minded player. It was one of the eight main organisations promoting the European Initiative for Media Pluralism, driven by the International Alliance of Journalists and European Alternatives. It is an active member of several other international networks as the EJTA, Théophraste, the AUF, the Ana Lindt foundation. In collaboration with the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH), the school explores new routes for European journalism, based on synergies between the media and civil society.

IHECS ASCEP department (cultural mediation) focuses its teaching on the cultural sector (cultural institutions and organisations, support for creation, production of cultural goods, event management, etc.), on development (NGO, humanitarian sector, sustainable development, environmental issues, etc.), as well as on social action (integration, associations networks, public networks, etc.) and on education with three main areas of intervention : media literacy, alternative critical pedagogies and lifelong learning.

In parallel with lectures, students in their first year of master’s (Master 1) dedicate most of their academic year (3 and a half days per week) to the set-up of concrete projects in partnership with local associations (ASBL, youth centres, open educational support, cultural centres, etc.). IHECSlab is IHECS’s laboratory of applied communication, the institutional structure that organises and produces these various projects. This laboratory in media research is open to students of the various masters in communication at IHECS. It’s a place for thinking about and realising one’s professional practice. The laboratory is part of the Haute Ecole Galilée’s global strategy (Haute Ecole Galilée or HEG, is the educational institution to which IHECS belongs, along with other institutes) supporting project-based teaching, innovation, and applied research.