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Letter from the Rector, Professor W. Pukocz, inaugurating academic year 2020/21

Published 05 Oct 2020
zdj. G. Stadnik

Dear students, ladies and gentlemen!

The inauguration of the academic year is a special moment for the entire academic community. It is an event which for over twenty years has had a special dimension for Wrocław's art academies, whose extraordinary, consolidating character has distinguished us to this day from other academic centres in Poland. That made it even more difficult for us - the Rectors to decide to cancel the ceremony. We were forced to do so by security reasons and the sense of responsibility for those who co-organised this exceptional event.

My wish is to keep at least a glimpse of the ceremonial moment, so I would like to address the following words to you.

Today's inauguration is unusual for at least a few reasons.

This is an exceptional moment for me, because I have the pleasure of making my debut in the honourable role of the Rector of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, taking up this post after my excellent predecessor, Professor Piotr Kielan, who has been running the Academy for two terms of office, and at the same time difficult due to the ongoing pandemic. I believe that the inconvenience of everyday duties will soon be obliterated by memory.

We entered the past academic year with impetus and energy, implementing the planned events, and the prospect of the upcoming elections of the new authorities has become the language of the importance of the university community. Unfortunately, the lockdown in March has moved academy management and teaching work into the digital world. Although it previously seemed unlikely, we ended the academic year with both the election of university authorities and the educational process, implementing, sometimes clumsy, sometimes intuitively, remote working methods, which are bound to become permanent in education programmes. 

Today we are starting a new academic year. Several weeks of intensive work allowed us to prepare rules of conduct, procedures and regulations to adapt the Academy to work in a mixed mode. We want to enable our students to use the workshops, the studio and all the necessary infrastructure only in a safe way, guaranteeing the maintenance of all sanitary standards.

We know very well how important is the traditional master-student relationship and we are aware that no modern communication tool can replace a conversation, but we have yet to fully return to the traditional model of education. We need humility, patience and observance of the rules. I know very well how contradictory these are to the independence of youth and the need to break down barriers, but these should be sought in the area of the arts, and observing the standards I am talking about is a matter of our safety.

We are facing challenges. Not only organisational challenges, because I believe that the education process will be carried out and ambitious plans will be successfully implemented. I would like the term of office which has just begun to be a time when the newly appointed Academy authorities, deans, heads of departments and inter-faculty units will successfully implement the evaluation process and new ideas and changes in educational programmes will help to equip our graduates not only with excellent skills, but also with competences related to functioning in the labour market.

The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design is in essence an academy for which innovation and creativity are a mission. I am aware that although the foundations of both purely artistic and design activities are based on a simple pencil note on a piece of paper, sometimes advanced technological solutions are required to achieve and implement them. Support for infrastructure development is essential in order to be able to function progressively in the world of contemporary art and design.

The term of office that has just begun coincides with plans to expand the academy with a new so-called D Pavilion, take over the tenement house on Hauke-Bossak Street and create a campus for the Centre for Applied Arts. Innovation Centre in Traugutta Street. From a slightly broader perspective, we are facing inevitable but expected changes related to the implementation of projects commercialising our achievements not only in the design area, but also in the fine arts area, as well as the search for partners and external stakeholders to implement these plans.

I know how important international exchange is for the development of the academy.

Continuing the broad programme of cooperation, including the Doctoral School with English as the language of instruction is one of my priorities.

Awaiting us international accreditationwhich could not take place in May 2020 and was postponed to spring next year. I believe that it will then be carried out and that the Academy will receive a positive assessment by the International Accreditation Committee. 

Some of the events planned for the previous academic year and postponed due to the pandemic have already been implemented. These are the most important of them:

- the jubilee, 30th edition of the Geppert Competition, one of the most important competitions for young painters, organised in cooperation with BWA

- Survival art review, co-organised by the Academy, in the Wroclaw City Port

- Competition for the Best Design Diploma in Katowice, where Karolina Gardzielewicz, a graduate of the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass, received the main prize.

I am convinced that all our achievements, the enormous potential of excellent artists - teachers, but also students and doctoral students - can only be released with all their energy in the Academy that is and will be a place friendly to the development of culture and art in all its diversity. With the guarantee of autonomy conferred by law, the Academy is a zone free of intolerance, a zone free of homophobia and all forms of censorship.

Academic freedom, civil freedom, is an inviolable basis on which we can build a community characterised by diversity and mutual respect.
Dear students of the first year,
I wish you to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the academy and to spend the time of your studies in a sensible balance between enjoying your youth and the work that will undoubtedly bear fruit in the future. I wish you to develop your talents, your personality and nurture your sensitivity.
Wrocław is a great academic city and we can only hope that normality will return to us soon.
I wish everyone a good academic year 2020/2021 and good health!
Professor Wojciech Pukocz

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