The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw has been involved in activities related to subsequent editions of the Programme of the European Commission since 1999. The Academy’s participation in the programme over the years has resulted in an ongoing intensive exchange of students and staff, and a significant internationalization of our Institution.
Since Poland joined the European Union and began fully participating in the Programme, 472 of our students have taken part in the student mobility for studying and about 50 students have taken part in the student mobility for traineeships (since 2007/2008). In the same period the Academy has hosted 344 foreign students from our partner institutions. The Programme has also created opportunities for mobility of our academic staff. 69 of our teachers have so far taken part in the teaching staff mobility and 22 members of staff have benefited from the training available (since 2007/2008). The same number of foreign staff have visited our Academy. The number of bilateral agreements has increased from 28 to 91. Within the new Programme we intend to continue to co-work with our existing partners. Recently, all bilateral agreements were reviewed by the departmental coordinators and the Deans of the various faculties.
We believe that the current way of establishing contacts and signing bilateral agreements at the request of the faculties is advantageous and efficient. Moreover, to improve the quality of student and academic staff mobility, our Academy has appointed a Rector’s Plenipotentiary for International Co-operation. The tasks of the Plenipotentiary include initiating international contacts and supervision of the implementation of agreements with foreign partners.
The Academy has also established a number of partnerships with art schools outside the EU. Within the framework of cooperation agreements between our institutions it is also possible to exchange students and teachers as well as joint research activities and exhibitions and workshops. Participation of these countries in the Programme will strengthen relations and facilitate academic exchanges. We have also noticed a growing interest in student exchanges to countries with different cultures, which motivates us to expand contacts in different geographical areas, particularly in Russia and Asia. In the academic year 2012/2013 seven students from the Academy took the opportunity to study in our partner schools from outside the EU and The Academy has hosted five students from these schools.
In the new Programme student mobility for studying will still be a priority. Creating opportunities for the exchange of PhD students will be a welcome new challenge for us. We also foresee an increased interest from students in the mobility scheme for traineeships. This enables students to acquire new skills and has a huge beneficial impact on their careers. We would like to broadly promote traineeships among our students, improve procedures and increase the involvement of the faculties, especially with regard to adequate counseling on the place a traineeship is held.
In the new Programme we will continue to support the mobility of our academic staff. We would like to a greater extent to link staff mobility with the monitoring of the approaches to art education provided in the partner institutions. Apart from enabling teaching staff mobility, the Programme has provided the opportunity to exchange administrative staff. In our opinion this has been a very valuable experience for our employees in various administrative positions, and virtually the only way to ensure professional development at an international level.
Our efforts will also be focused on foreigners who choose to study at our Academy. The Academy continues to expand the range of courses it offers. We have been developing and creating new programmes and faculties (Faculty of Media Art, Faculty of Managing Visual Culture, Department of Fashion Design). Over the past few years great interest has been shown in Polish language courses and a course in the history and theory of art in English developed specifically for international students. We also hope to increase the attractiveness of the Academy with a new building designed for the needs of a modern art school.
The Academy is also interested in the potential opportunities offered by joint degrees. To achieve this goal the Academy is going to seek suitable partner institutions to reach agreement on conducting joint studies. This form of study requires serious preparation and acceptance from the whole academic community. As an institution with a teaching profile focused on individual artistic development and creating a strong relationship between tutor and student, we would like to approach this idea with particular care to preserve the unique character of our Institution.