A face-to-face with art. Visual Literacy 2.0: Understanding Images across Europe - Past and Present

"Visual Literacy is a unique opportunity to put into practice the theoretical notions acquired during the rest of the year, all within an intercultural network, which allows me to broaden my perspective on the study of art and cultural heritage"

Ludovica Viganò, 4EU+ student, University of Milan

Ludovica is one of the students who took part in the second edition of Visual Literacy: Understanding Images across Europe - Past and Present, an annual 4EU+ course in the artistic/scientific field, co-designed by the University of Warsaw, Charles University and the University of Milan. The 4EU+ course was composed of seminar lessons and online group tutorials, as well as face-to-face workshops at the three partner Universities.

“The scheduled workshops in the 4EU+ project allow students to live an educational experience that combines the learning of new concepts, the use of the English language and the visit of prestigious European artistic sites at once"

Elisa Peschiera, 4EU+ student, University of Milan

Visit to Castello Sforzesco Museum, Milan

Exhibition "Fluxus per tutti", Milan, Museo del Novecento

Visual literacy can be understood as the ability to "know how to look" at images and to deduce meanings from them. Thanks to the combination of the complementary teaching methods adopted, 4EU+ students had the chance to experience first-handthe artistic, curatorial and educational approaches to visual literacy. After the workshops in Milan and Prague, the final conference held in Warsaw on 12-13 June 2023 represented the chance for students to present and share their group work and portfolios starting from the tutorial attended throughout the year.

Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, guided tour with Prof. Jan Dienstbier

A moment of common discussion after the visit to Eva Koťátková's exhibition "My Body Is Not an Island", National Gallery Prague, Fair Trade Palace

Visit to the exhibition "The language of the Poster 1890–1938", Museum of Decorative Arts.

The integrated and multilingual teaching approach adopted in Visual Literacy is undoubtedly an element characterizing the 4EU+ Alliance as a whole: in fact, the course alternates lectures to bottom-up learning moments, in which students are encouraged to get involved personally, developing their own critical thinking. Finally, practicing English language, the multicultural context, the workshops hosted by foreign universities and the dialogue and inclusion moods that the project fosters are other key aspects that contribute to make 4EU+ offer a precious opportunity for students’ growth.

University of Milan Professors Davide Colombo and Giorgio Zanchetti

Visit to the Collection of Prints and Drawings of the Warsaw University Library

Guided tour of the exhibition "Re-enchantment” with the curator Małgorzata Mirga-Tas (Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw).

Classroom workshop, University of Warsaw

Outcomes of group projects of this edition of the course:

  • Group 1: as part of the “Technical Art History” tutorial conducted by Professor Zuzanna Sarnecka, students prepared a poster by selecting images related to art techniques or different materials, each referring to paintings, sculptures and architectures. For each work of art, the other students in the audience were invited to identify the corresponding technique or material.

  • Group 2: within the tutorial “Colours in Late Medieval and Early Modern Art: Experiments, Failures and Success Stories” conducted by Professor Karolina Mroziewicz and Prof. Jan Dienstbier, students created a manual on how to produce a “linocut” print, starting from the first phase of inspiration and research on images, passing through the realization, up to the final digitization of the print.

  • Group 3: within the tutorial “Visual Literacy: Between Educational, Artistic and Curatorial Approaches”, led by Professors Vendula Fremlová and Pavla Gajdošíková, students devised an exhibition project on a highly actual issue such as migration by sea, writing the concept, selecting artists and works, and designing an exhibition.

  • Group 4: within the tutorial “Film and Urban Spaces” by Professor Joanna Smalcerz, students guided the audience in the critical reading of some author films, focusing on the relationship between psychology of the characters and natural settings or film architectures. Some significant places were then traced and re-photographed, placing the new shots in relation to the vision given by the director in his film.

  • Group 5: as part of the tutorial “Multiplied Images. Artistic Practices of the 20th Century”, conducted by Giulia Colombo (Phd candidate, University of Milan), alongside Professors Giorgio Zanchetti and Davide Colombo, students created an illustrated publication which accompanies the reader on a journey through works of art by Italian, Czech and Polish artists, all originated from reflections around the same themes of particular cultural relevance (from food, to religion, to the relationship with the natural world). The intention was to highlight how images, forms and contents “multiply” in different artistic contexts and chronologies.

Group photo at Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan