JACQUES ARPIN was born in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15 June 1946.
He graduated in medicine in 1974, after having studied at the Université de Genève and at McGill, in Montreal, Canada.
He specialized in psychiatry and obtained his MD in 1977, with a dissertation on the influence of rock musicians on adolescents’quest for identity.
Studies in anthropology began with fieldwork in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, from 1977 to 1979, at the Universidade Federal da Bahia.
The research focused on religious syncretism in relation to mental health. From 1979 to 1982, Jacques Arpin studied at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA, majoring in cultural anthropology.

He completed his MA in 1988, with a thesis on the impact of medical diagnosis on migrants. He completed his PhD in 1991 and 1997 (dissertation).
Upon his return to Switzerland, in 1983, he completed his training and specialization. In 1985, he started a consultation in transcultural psychiatry, the first one of its kind in Switzerland. The work was then divided between health care services and immigration centers. In 1988, Jacques Arpin began orienting his research towards experimental theater, with the ISTA (International School of theatre Anthropology).
Since 1992, he has worked as a freelance transcultural consultant,a composite occupation made up of transcultural psychiatric consultation, supervisions for professionals involved in migration issues, evaluations of migrant cases for insurances and courts, teaching and research. Since 1995, his research has focused on cultural apprenticeships of body traditions and techniques and their applications in the context of migration and health.
Fully integrated in this work in progress is Arpin’s own involvement in the practice of visual arts, music and dance.