My visit to AFAD in the framework of Erasmus+ mobility project in December 2016 (11/12/2016 - 17/12/2016) was the third step of collaboration between Academy in Bratislava and University of Arts in Belgrade or, to be more precise, faculties of Fine Arts and Applied Arts – the first being the visit of AFAD professor Olja Triaška Stefanović and her workshop with students in Belgrade, in autumn 2016, the second is the exchange of students…
My planned activity in the framework of Erasmus - Staff mobility for Teaching To/From Partner Countries included the visit of the term-exhibition of students’ works, participation in the evaluation process, familiarizing both with professors and colleagues and with pedagogical practices at the AFAD and also a series of my lectures open to students and staff of AFAD.
The first day I joined the group of teachers from the department of painting in the building in Kocelova Street for the evaluation of the courses and technological courses. The students of the preparatory course of painting explained their works – the language barrier between Slovak and Serbian is not so big, both languages having the same Slavic root, so I could roughly follow the conversation. I also followed the presentations of students in the classes of professors Ivan Csudai and Daniel Grun situated in the building in Hviezdoslavovo square.
On Thursday I took part in the whole school evaluation which is, I believe, the peak of the semester. For me that was an opportunity to meet all the professors, see the best of student’s works in all departments and to familiarize with methods and outcomes of the pedagogical process. I also attended the pedagogical council, the final discussion of professors.
The last day, Friday, was devoted to my presentations in the main AFAD building at Hviezdoslavovo square. I presented both my University and the school I teach – Faculty of Fine Arts. Trough vast visual material I also presented annual exhibitions at my school, so that was an opportunity to compare results, teaching methods and above all – the results. My lecture had a subject of the relation of society and the urban fabric, the most with the case study of Belgrade, my town, which passed a strange “retro” development during the last decade of 20th Century. The return to conservative, nationalistic rhetoric in Serbia had the outcome in the destruction of modernistic heritage, above all – the destruction of modern architecture.
During my visit I had chance to feel the atmosphere of pre-Christmas Bratislava and to visit most important cultural institutions, Danubiana museum – a miracle of contemporary architecture, collection and organization of an institution. In Slovak National Gallery I have seen the unique exhibition “Dream × Reality” which covered the era of the Slovak State (1939 - 1945) – especially important for a person who – like me – lived in the society crippled by nationalism. We also attended a gala evening of the airs from Verdi’s and Puccini’s operas with soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre and, the last day of my stay, briefly visited Hrad Červený kameň in Carpathians.
Besides the marked similarities between AFAD and Faculties of Fine and Applied Arts in Belgrade (coming from common “middle-European” root in the past) one could notice certain differences. Slovakia, being the member state of the EU developed the European educational curriculum and that is the task we, in Serbia, will have to accomplish as soon as possible. All the experiences I gained during my visit will, I hope, be very precious to my colleagues and my University.
My visit was, above all, marked by warm hospitality of my hosts – professors, vice-rectors and the people from the international office. Being accommodated in the professors’ apartment in Drotarska cesta I had a chance to lead informal conversations with Slovak and international students who were installing their work late in the night.
Good experiences of both Slovak students attending my University in Belgrade and Serbian students currently on exchange really prove that the collaboration in the future will be fruitful.