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At Sciences Po Lille, a master’s degree to learn to “drink, eat and live”


Benoît Lengaigne, lecturer in economics, likes to recount the reaction of Sciences Po Lille students when he presented them with the new “drinking, eating, living” (“BMV”) master’s degree: a “General burst of laughter”… Followed by thunderous applause. Since then, in the corridors of the establishment, the 15 students selected, out of the 70 applications for this first promotion, have been jealous of their other master’s comrades. “We embarked on this major without knowing what was going to be in it, but it’s fascinating, says Clémence Ricart, student ambassador for the BMV master’s degree. I eat, I sleep, I drink BMV. It’s a master’s degree that brings us together through a passion: the world of gastronomy and food. “

With infectious enthusiasm, his comrades add: “With the climate emergency, food will be at the heart of global issues. “ The thesis projects of Lille students are also anchored in the society of tomorrow: aquaculture as a possible response to overfishing, the power of organic labels, vegetable meat, etc. Beyond the unacademic title of this master’s degree, it is the DNA of Sciences Po that we find in this training. History of agriculture and food, food security in the European Union, agricultural policies, agrifood industry strategy …

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“BMV is neither the Michelin guide nor the BDE [bureau des étudiants] on a spree, warns Benoît Lengaigne, who was director of Sciences Po Lille from 2015 to 2019. I wanted to approach food as a general social fact. “ By placing food at the heart of his educational model, this economist, who grew up in the family wine trading business in Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), wanted to tackle themes linked to new ways of produce, consume, preserve and exchange foods. All this from an international perspective. “For 20-year-old students, it is one of the best ways to ignite their flame so that they want to change or save the world through their future profession”, advances the one who prepares his students for tourism trades related to agricultural and wine production, gastronomic arts, innovations in products and food distribution (foodtech), but also for management and expertise functions in the fields food or wine.

“Gastro-diplomacy” and umami

In his course on “terrestrial foods”, Benoît Lengaigne discusses “gastro-diplomacy”, food aid in France, foodtech, or even sexism in the kitchen. But the BMV master also innovates on form, in particular through the current affairs course. Once a week, three debates are organized like the sets of the TV show “C’est dans l’air”, on France 5. On their wheeled chairs with integrated desks, the students line up in a circle. of four comrades. One plays the role of the journalist debate host, the other three take on the role of personalities such as, that day, the managers of the meal delivery platforms Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat. We talk about working conditions, going public, models of society. The precariousness of the job market in the delivery sector is an eminently political subject and the students, forced to defend the positions of their characters, are responsible for arguing in this direction. All of them prepared themselves thanks to articles, podcasts or documents sent upstream by Benoît Lengaigne. And everything is timed to allow the public – the other students – to ask questions and enrich the theme addressed at the end of the debate. It’s dynamic, interactive and, above all, it allows young people to tackle very current issues with passion.

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