Impressions of FCA professors on the international workshop in Madeira (Portugal)

/ / News, Uncategorized / 29. 03. 2024.

In this segment of the news, we focus on the experiences and impressions of professors from the Faculty of Contemporary Arts, Prof. Dr. Dušanka Komnenić and Prof. Dr. Jovanka Mladenović, who were part of the team at the recently held international art workshop at the University of Madeira. They played a key role in representing our faculty and now they want to share their valuable perspectives on the impact and outcomes of the workshop. We announce that in the upcoming news, there will be even more information and interesting insights from this extraordinary event, which brought together talented artists and experts from around the world, exploring new approaches to empowering local communities through art and design.

Now we bring you the authentic impressions of the professors from the Faculty of Contemporary Arts. In this news segment, they share their valuable perspectives and experiences, revealing how the workshop has influenced their professional journey as well as students, contributing to the international exchange of practices in the world of art and design.

Dušanka Komnenić described this experience in the following words:

“To most accurately describe the Madeira experience, I will start with the name of the workshop itself: Beyond Tourism. The projects at the workshop were meant to reflect the issue of an excessive number of tourists constantly staying on the island, seriously endangering Madeira’s resources. At the same time, the island financially relies significantly on tourism. That was a very challenging topic that we addressed, divided into nine groups. Each group of students also had two mentors who assisted them in the realization and materialization of ideas. Working with students with different experiences is always valuable to me. I particularly enjoy working where I rely on experience and listen to the needs of the group I mentor. The GIDE workshop is exactly that; an interpretation of the given topic in accordance with time, space, and shared experiences.

When we imagine what paradise looks like, we draw and collage it. That place actually exists and is called Madeira. As a visitor, I took the Stairway to heaven, walked at 580 meters above sea level and watched the waves breaking against the rocks below me. I also saw trees literally growing below the clouds. I remembered studying the feeling of the sublime. I thought this place was the embodiment of this aesthetic experience. I bathed in the cyan-colored ocean. I descended 2 km in wooden sledges from the top of the island. For those two kilometers, I experienced a temperature difference from 3 – 20 degrees Celsius. I flew straight to the ocean on those wooden sledges. Once upon a time, these wooden sledges were used to transport groceries from the top to the bottom of the island.

The impression would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the people. First, my colleague Jovanka with whom I traveled; then, the entire GIDE faculty team made up of top professionals and reputable professors from European universities; and, of course, the students, among whom I would especially single out FCA students who stood out with their knowledge, proactiveness, and creative ideas in the overall work. They were resourceful and collaborative; they dared and explored; they socialized, laughed, and made phenomenal projects. They presented the projects in excellent English. Even in informal conversations, many positive comments were directed towards FCA students. Our students thrilled me. The GIDE workshop and the entire Madeira experience brought great inspiration for the days ahead of me. In the abundance of unified “sameness”, the uniqueness and authenticity of Madeira truly delight me.”

Jovanka Mladenović particularly emphasized the importance of the faculty’s participation in the GIDE (Group for International Design Education) team in her impressions of the workshop:

“It was a great pleasure to be part of the GIDE team – the Group for International Design Education and collaborate on this year’s Beyond Tourism workshop in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Since FCA recently became a member of this prestigious organization, this was also the first workshop in which our students and professors participated. We had the opportunity to work in international teams, develop a common idea, and publicly present it as the result of short but intensive research on the given topic. Participatory design and working in groups that collaborate, make decisions, and produce prototypes and solutions was a new and very significant experience for our students. It seems that they shared a lot with colleagues from different countries, faculties, and study programs, and returned with new experiences and skills. I hope that FCA students and professors will embrace this initiative and actively participate in all future projects. 

The city of Funchal, the atmosphere, and the surroundings of the stunning island of Madeira significantly contributed to the overall impression and stimulatingly affected the creative potential of all workshop participants. It is very difficult to organize such a demanding project, so I extend my gratitude to the organizing team of this year’s workshop, the University of Madeira (Universidade da Madeira), and especially Professor Susana Gonzaga. 

Getting to know and collaborating with colleagues and professors from different faculties and their warm welcome to us, as new members of the GIDE group, represents a significant experience and immense satisfaction for me.

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