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M. Dolors Tapias, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts: “We want to gain visibility within the University and among society”

Before being the dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. Dolors Tapias had been student, lecturer, head of studies and director of the Department of Design and Image of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Before being the dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. Dolors Tapias had been student, lecturer, head of studies and director of the Department of Design and Image of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“An important objective is to redefine, as much as possible, the current syllabuses. To make them more dynamic and recover the specificity they had”.

“An important objective is to redefine, as much as possible, the current syllabuses. To make them more dynamic and recover the specificity they had”.

“We are also working to give visibility to the students' projects and we provide them with contacts of the creative spaces in the city”.

“We are also working to give visibility to the students' projects and we provide them with contacts of the creative spaces in the city”.

20/12/2017

Entrevistes

M. Dolors Tapias’ career has always been linked to the Faculty of Fine Arts. Doctor in Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona, Tapias has been a lecturer in this university since 1986. She taught in the doctoral programs on Art and Image Technology; Art and Media Culture, and Research on Design. She is now a lecturer in the master’s degree of Production and Artistic Research. Also, she is member of the Consolidated Research Group on History of Art and Contemporary Design (GRACMON), and researcher in research projects on design and the city of Barcelona, and on the artistic creation in the territorial surroundings and landscape. Her lines of research covered the field of artistic creation and photography. In the Faculty of Fine Arts, she has been head of studies of the degree in Fine Arts (1993-1998) and head of the Department of Design and Image (2004-2012). A bit more than a year ago, she was appointed Dean of this Faculty. We now talk to her about future goals she set and about how the center has changed, now that it will turn 40 years old in 2018 since its creation.

 

Why did you run for dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts?

I finished the degree in Fine Arts in 1984 and started my task as lecturer in April 1986. I have always had a bond with this University. In fact, when I was a student, I was already a claustral member, and have been for many years. I was head of studies for five years in the Faculty, when the new syllabus was set. And afterwards, I have been head of the Department for eight years. I had decided that my task ended here, but regarding future challenges, I thought it was better to be active and to finish my work at the University, working for the future of the Faculty.

What are these future challenges?

Several. A very important first objective was to redefine, as much as possible, the current studies. Before Bologna, we were a Faculty with different methodologies and dynamics; we had a direct relationship with the student, we worked closely, with a continuous assessment… And after Bologna, there were some consequences: everything that looked particular in our dynamics had disappeared. We lost that interest or that relationship with the students. I found this thing essential to bring back: to have an active student that participates, and is interested in the course of his/her studies but that also has something to say.

Another important issue, which I thought that should change, was our visibility within the University and society. It was important that, regarding the cultural and artistic issues, the presence of the Faculty was bigger. Of course our students feel it, but I want to highlight this in the Faculty, and therefore, the dynamization and transference that can be carried out with the activities of our students. For instance, we prepare an exhibition every year, called “Sense títol”, which shows the best works made by the recent graduated students. At first, museum directors and gallery owners attended the exhibition. The Faculty was full of those important actors from the field of creation in Barcelona. This lost some strength and we have to get it back. In this sense, we started working so that everything we exhibit here gets shown also around the city, in other cultural activities. The objective is to give visibility to the students’ works and provide them with the contact of creative spaces in the city. This is the line we are following.

What are the strengths of the Faculty that should be promoted?

There is a kind of “recognition itinerary” in the field of arts in the Faculty. When we talk about the Faculty, we cannot talk only about Fine Arts and artistic creation; because we also have other studies such as Conservation and Restoration, and one on Design. In fact, since 1978, when the Escola Superior d’Arts de Sant Jordi (school of arts) became part of the UB as a Faculty, the task carried out in all its studies has been is important because it has created a research space –not found in other places, even at a Euopean level.

Another important issue is that, since the Faculty was created,, we could create a series of awards that are accepted among society. Awards like those from the Guasch Coranty Foundation, and grants for artistic creation, held every year, and the Guasch Coranty International Painting Award, held every two years and is well-known in the city, in Spain and abroad.

And what are the weaknesses?

I started talking about the weaknesses regarding the structure of the current syllabus. These are extremely general, but this problem doesn’t lie here, it’s a problem in all the Spanish territory. Other important aspects are the improvement of work conditions for lecturers, and restoring the facilities for our needs, which are changing.

In 2018, the Faculty of Fine arts will turn 40. You know this Faculty since its beginnings; could you tell us how the center has changed over the years?

Many things have changed, and I could experience all of them. I was a student in 1979. Our incorporation in the university world was exciting when we were students, mostly because we were part of the debate in creation processes and artistic production in general. This has had bright and dull moments. I would say we are now at the end of a journey, which should be re-considered -regarding its future. Because, as I said before, we have lost presence in our syllabuses. And we started with diverse syllabuses, with many options, which made it all very enriching for the students and the teaching staff. I think we have to get this specificity back and have more dynamic plans. These 40 years can make us think about this. At least that’s what I expect; I hope we can think how to face the future.

When you took office you said one of your objectives was the future creation of a campus for Arts. Where is this project now?

This is more a wish rather than an objective. I would like to create an Arts campus. At this moment, those centers dedicated to arts are spread around the area and belong to different universities. We have started meeting different centers to talk about work and activities -centers such as the Theatre Institute, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) and the University School of Cinema and Visual Communication of Catalonia (ESCAC) to help some students who are interested in these lines. But mostly, we work to create general activities that can be useful and important for the development of the different centers. Therefore, this is a dreamy project, with territorial and economic difficulties, but I think we should not forget about it. And we have to do our best to achieve this. I don’t know if we will get there, maybe the following generations will, but at least we should start the joint action.
 

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