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Thursday 31 March 2016

Two Houses, Both Alike in Dignity, In Fair Verona

Connections between fashion courses here at Solent and fine art academies in Bologna and Verona, Italy, will see students from the three institutions collaborating on a shared academic research project.

The Academy of Fine Arts, Verona

The project, called SQUARED, is the creation of Pascal Matthias, Senior Lecturer in Fashion:

“I have been interested in improving the visibility of the creative process for students. I believe that in order to enhance student’s final outcomes it would help if they understood the creative process rather than just designing, photographing or filming the first idea that occurs to them.”

Pascal presenting to students in Verona

“Students should be encouraged to think more! The process is not just about what they are creating but why they are creating and if improvements can be made. Applying the SQUARED process will help creative students improve self-confidence and ability as they move into industry and the workplace”

The project will see students working through the complicated processes of research and interrogation in order to inform practice. The final exhibitions will show every stage of creative development and a variety of formats including garments, photography, illustration, fine art and film. What is produced and how it is achieved is completely down to the students, who will collaborate across the continent via a specially created blog.

Sarah presenting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Verona

Sarah Hand, Course Leader in Fashion Photography, first set up an Erasmus exchange partnership with the Italian institutions in 2015. Sarah and Pascal returned to Verona and Bologna in March to launch the SQUARED project.

Speaking about the launch, Sarah said:

“It’s early days and we have a lot of work to do getting the students on-board from all 3 institutions and making sure they all have the same direction, which can be difficult with the language barriers. Things can get lost in translation, although we do have some helpful translators in Italy.

“We recently spent a week with the students at the academies in Verona and Bologna to launch the project and they are really keen to be involved. They have reasonable facilities and a great work ethic, which contrasts well with our students who have state-of-the-art facilities but don’t always put them to best use.”

Pascal with MA students from the Bologna Academy

“A further aim of the trip is to encourage Erasmus exchange and we have a great deal of interest. Already the head of MA Fashion Design is coming to support teaching for a week in April and there are many students from both the Italian institutions interested in our MA and PhD programmes. Others are keen to exchange for a few weeks to join our BA programmes. Our students are also being encouraged to go to Italy but places are limited and only available for a lucky few.

“Finally, we were delighted to be personally invited back to the Academy in Verona by the head of the Erasmus programme, Diego Arich, to teach for a week in the spring. Although it’s a nerve-wracking thought, it will really be a great experience!”

Visit our course pages to find out more about studying fashion or fashion photography here at Solent.