Art and peace-building
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Art Matters

An exchange project between young art educators from Switzerland and the countries of the South Caucasus.

It brings together young people from Switzerland and the South Caucasus who are training to be art teachers. In 2018, it featured an exchange between students from Zurich and Sukhum/i, and in the following year an exchange between students from Zurich and Yerevan. Each year, the participants met twice, in their own city and in that of the partners, discussed didactic and methodological questions with the local lecturers over a period of two weeks and then tested them in a short school internship. In addition to this, representatives of the school authorities met to exchange views on their work contexts, options for action and future challenges.

The main goal of the project is to promote an exchange between young people from two different cultural areas. By dealing with pedagogical approaches from very different contexts, it should become possible to question procedures that are generally taken for granted. An awareness of the respective cultural heritage in questions of education created opportunities for new impulses that can later be passed on in class. A knowledge of other cultures and the ability to imagine completely different living conditions will form an important tool for prospective educators who intend to teach in an increasingly multicultural society.

The process and the results of the exchange were presented for discussion at a public event in Zurich in November 2019.

Impressions of the students and lecturers of both years can be found on the following Blog.

Website

 

Art Matters Yerevan – Zurich, 2019

2 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

3 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

5 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

6 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

7 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

8 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

9 Art Matters 2019 Jean David Jamet

Photo: Jean David Jamet

10 Art Matters 2019 Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

12 Art Matters 2019 Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

13 Art Matters 2019 Jean David Jamet

Photo: Jean David Jamet

16 Art Matters 2019 Bastian Riesen

Photo: Bastian Riesen

12 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

13 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

14 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

15 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

16 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

17 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

18 Art Matters Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

For the second year of the Art Matters project, an exchange between students from the Art Faculty of the Yerevan State Pedagogical University (ASPU) and the Art Education Department of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) with 11 students and lecturers from Zurich and Yerevan took place; in Yerevan in the spring of 2019 and in Zurich/Bülach in the late summer of 2019.

During the first meeting in April in Yerevan the participants worked on a teaching concept in four mixed, Swiss-Armenian groups. In the second week, the lessons prepared by the student groups were put into practice: at a primary school in central Yerevan, at a primary school on the outskirts of the city, and at an afternoon art school. Discussions accompanied and condensed the ongoing learning process and revealed different pedagogical and artistic approaches. Special highlights of the stay in Yerevan were the visit to the NCA Henrik Igityan Children’s Art Gallery and excursions to the pre-Christian cult site of Garni (Garni Pagan Temple), to the Geghard Monastery and to the carpet weaving exhibition Megerian Carpet. The discussion of Jacques Rancière’s text Der unwissende Lehrmeister at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) with Nazareth Karoyan and the Guest of Honour Serob Khachatryan will certainly also be remembered.

The return visit of the students and lecturers of the Armenian State Pedagogical University in Zurich took place in September 2019. Once again they reflected on teaching, teaching art and differences in the understanding of art. The participants once again prepared art classes that were held by them at KZU Bülach. Their headquarter and exhibition venue Les Complices was where everyone met in the morning, where the participants discussed and reflected, prepared their lessons, cooked and eat.

In the – now deepened – cooperation core questions of contemporary pedagogy become clear, for example with regard to translation processes, traditional self-understandings, terminology, the relationship between framing and the unforeseen, and also with regard to the potential of art as a contact zone or as a space of negotiation.

In addition to the successful art lessons prepared by the small groups, all participants will remember the museum visits (Rietberg, Kunsthalle, Long Night of the Museums) and the visit to the performance festival Giswil that included a cold swim.

Place and year
Yerevan, Zurich, 2019

Students
Raya Eghiazaryan, Marine Galstyan, Yervand Grigoryan, Elisa Hüttner, Jean-David Jamet, Astghik Kirakosyan, Hripsime Kirakosyan, Simon Mauchle, Fabio Melone, Janina Müller, Bastian Riesen, Estella Sahakyan, Nicole Salvalaggio, Sevada Sargsyan, Lysanne Stroomer, Arevik Vardanyan

Lecturers
Anne Gruber, Davit Hovhannisyan, Olivia Jaques, Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan, Dagmar Reichert, Sevada Sargsyan

Interpreters
(Armenia) Mare Babayan, Naira Iritsyan, Davit Karyan, Nare Khandamiryan, Stella Loretsyan, Liza Petrosyan, Sona Sargsyan
(Switzerland) Katja Kuriloval, Nastasia Louveau, Denys Shantar, Nika Timashkova

Project management
Olivia Jaques (artasfoundation)
Anne Gruber (ZHdK)
Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan

Partner organisations
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Atelierschule Zürich
Autonome Schule
Base College /High-School/ der Armenian State Pedagogical University
Charenstavan Art School n/a Garzu
Charenstavan Basic School N 2
Kantonsschule Hohe Promenade
KZU Bülach
Les Complices
P. Terlemezyan State College of Fine Arts
Yerevan Basic School N 57
Yerevan Basic School N 84 n/a Kh. Abovyan

Financial contribution
Stiftung Mercator Schweiz
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Private donations

Art Matters Sukhum/i – Zurich, 2018

1 Art Matters Judit Villiger

Photo: Judit Villiger

2 Art Matters Judit Villiger

Photo: Judit Villiger

3 Art Matters Judit Villiger

Photo: Judit Villiger

4 Art Matters Vadim Levin

Photo: Vadim Levin

5 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

6 Art Matters Vadim Levin

Photo: Vadim Levin

7 Art Matters Vadim Levin

Photo: Vadim Levin

8 Art Matters Vadim Levin

Photo: Vadim Levin

9 Art Matters Vadim Levin

Photo: Vadim Levin

10 Art Matters Judit Villiger

Photo: Judit Villiger

11 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

12 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

13 Art Matters Judit Villiger

Photo: Judit Villiger

14 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

15 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

16 Art Matters Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

In the first year of the Art Matters project, an exchange took place between students from the Art Education department of the Zurich University of the Arts and art students from the University and the Art College of Sukhum/i.

In April 2018, fifteen people from Switzerland (students and lecturers) travelled to the capital of Abkhazia¹ for a two-week stay. In the first week, they visited two training centres for art instruction and teacher training under the guidance of their local colleagues. Together with the students from Sukhum/i they formed four working groups, each of which prepared specific topics and materials for class lessons. In the second week, each of the groups was able to sit in on classes in one of four schools in the city and then take over a class for teaching art. The groups were supported by language students from Sukhum/i who worked as translators.

The work and cooperation of the students was then discussed in daily sessions for joint reflection: all in all, an intensive, friendly cooperation developed. The cross-cultural and cross-lingual coordination, as well as the encounter of different pedagogical traditions, was a challenge in which all the participants learned a great deal.

The second part of the exchange took place in Zurich in September 2018. Here, too, the first week focused on orientation in the local school system (this time also involving museum pedagogy) and on preparing lessons in mixed working groups. In the second week, the students gave individual art lessons to pupils at the Kantonsschule Bülach. According to the participants from Abkhazia, their visit to Zurich had already made a lasting impact on them. During the later evaluation at home, they also discussed which aspects of their own didactic methods were confirmed in the exchange and where they were able to receive new ideas. The same went for the participants from Switzerland: the initial descriptions of ‘academic, technology-oriented teaching in the Caucasus’ versus ‘free promotion of expression and creativity’ in Swiss art teaching should be considered in a much more differentiated way. In the encounter with educators from another cultural area, one’s own self-image is challenged.

Blog

Place and year
Sukhum/i, Zurich, 2018

Students
Aida Adzhba, Timyr Akhuba, Kama Arshba, Daniela Ashuba, Janset Aruttaa, Salima Bartsyts, Arsoy Berzenia, Amra Chichibaia, Anika Erbach, Tereza Glazova, Anna Gogoli, Anna-Pia Rauch, Denys Shantar, Doris Signer, Claudia Siragna, Muriel Steiner, Zita Strübi, Nora Vetterli

Lecturers
Amiran Adleba (Sukhum/i)
Lasha Gabelia (Sukhum/i)
Maktina Gogia (Sukhum/i)
Priska Senn (Kantonsschule Bülach)
Judit Villiger (ZHdK)
Susanne Wintsch (ZHdK)

Project management
Dagmar Reichert (artasfoundation)
Manana Tsvizhba (Sukhum/i)
Judit Villiger (ZHdK)

Documentation
Vadim Levin, Maria Pomiansky, Christoph Ullmann

Partner organisations
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) (Heinrich Lüber, Peter Truniger)
Art College and Art Department of the University of Sukhum/i

Financial contribution
Stiftung Mercator Schweiz
Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK)
Private donations

¹artasfoundation would like to underline that its use of names and titles particularly in regards to conflict regions should not be understood as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever.