Andrea Dancer

Sound Artist Composer Educator

Charles University

The Socrates Program

The Socrates Program is part of the Department of Art Education at Charles University in Prague, under the directorship of Dr. Marie Fulkova. International students from a variety of disciplines in Art and Art Education apply to come to Prague for a year and participate in the Art Education’s classes and curriculum. Language courses in speaking Czech and additional Czech history and culture seminars are part of the program.  Students become part of an international body of students across multiple faculties.

Each student must design their own course of study, choosing courses from a variety of studio arts — multi-media, print-making, photography, graphics, book-making, etc. In addition, they must complete a significant body of work and a major piece of art in order to satisfy the Department’s criteria and the criteria of their home universities — as negotiated between institutions. Students are primarily from 3rd year Bachelor of Arts and 1st- 2nd year Master’s programs.

My role was to instruct them in interrogating, documenting, and sucessfully completing their major project. This meant taking their individual skills, the coursework, and their lived-experiences of being in Prague — and teaching the students how to create a body of work that was framed and re-framed through multiple arts practices, self-reflection, positionalities and physical locals, local history and interaction with citizenry, as well as critical thinking about the role of aestheticism,  politicization and cultural specificity, art as inquiry and as research. Vertical and horizontal inquiry.

For details of the course syllabus, please see the Arts-based Practice as Inquiry / Research website.

The Students

This is a sampling of consenting students final projects. It represents the outcome of multiple and diverse platforms — only a part of a complete body of of documentation that included: photography, audio, video, graphics, installations, historical research, critical inquiry, journals,  collaborations, close readings of selected theoretical texts, collecting of artifacts, workshopping work, and personal reflection on process and encounters.

These bodies of work and their final artistic productions were presented to their other instructors, the Department faculty, the Director of International Studies, the Director of the Socrates Program, fellow students, friends and myself in a multi-media presentation,a  quasi-defence, and then in a first ever (in this program) public Exhibition.

Feedback

The faculty at the Department of Art, Charles University, commented that they had never seen work of this caliber before in this program. They asked the students how it had happened and whether their work was consistently of this caliber. The students answered that it was a combination of having the freedom to explore different practices and techniques, the time to develop the projects (6 months), and the learning experience under Andrea’s instruction. (So good to hear!)

Evaluations available upon request.

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