Monday, 29 November 2021 02:35 GMT

VCUarts Qatar uses online learning to push boundaries of student experience

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Doha: Covid-19 has wrought drastic changes on education systems across the world, with one of the most obvious and urgent adaptations being the shift to online platforms for teaching and learning. 

In the midst of the melee to move instructions to virtual platforms, the more innovative education-based solutions have, arguably so, emerged from school and university departments.

The department of Painting + Printmaking (PAPR) at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, is one such branch that worked around the limitations that online formats imposed on them.

Since the start of the new academic year in the fall of 2020,  Director and Associate Professor, PAPR, Dr. Aissa Deebi, along with other staff and faculty members in the department, arranged virtual visits to the international studios of renowned artists, curators and cultural activists, for students on VCUarts Qatar's PAPR pathway and then extended the classes to the public. 

Islam Aly, Gabriela Salazar, Julia Schwadron, Caleb Weintraub, Bouthayna Ali Al- Muftah, Tanya Habjouqa, Charlotte Cotton, Patrice Helmar, Peter Weltz and Regine Basha are some of the artists and activists of regional and international repute who invited VCUarts Qatar's PAPR students, into their creative studios and practices, during the past few months. 

'As creatives, the first question we ask ourselves when presented with a challenge is how can we make the most of what we have at our disposal, says Dr. Deebi. 'While our shift to an online platform curtailed our freedom to be and create together, in a single physical space, I'd say it also allowed us to connect with the world, and join the dots between what we teach and practice in Doha, and elsewhere. 

'We initially launched these small, class-based talks and virtual visits to the studios of these renowned artists and activists solely for our students. But eventually, these talks evolved into platforms for students to meet and be informed on the current challenges and issues that artists - and often the public - are dealing with at the moment.

And, Dr. Deebi added, 'These sessions were not only about getting to know a reputed artist and his style, or an activist and his cause; the added value of these classes lay in the practical advice they provided. For instance, in one of the more recent talks, German designer Peter Weltz discussed creative examples that can be adapted to our highly altered art landscape, including using graphic design to visualize solo exhibitions and blending inter-disciplinary skillsets in everyday design.



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