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Fine Arts Faculty Gain Teaching Experience in Croatia

Posted on 7/19/2017 1:48:20 PM

Two faculty members from the College of Fine Arts recently returned from a trip to Croatia where they were guest lecturers at the University of Zagreb.

Carrie J. Cole (theater and dance) and Sean Derry (art) represented IUP as part of a program funded by the European Union. They spent time at the university in May leading workshops in their fields of expertise and furthering their own education by learning from their students.

“It was great,” said Derry, who specializes in sculpture. “I enjoyed Zagreb. I think there are some really great things there. It’s a different type of institution and there’s great value in that.”

Cole lent her expertise in theatrical directing to help Zagreb students from a variety of backgrounds learn more about their craft. She condensed what she usually teaches in one semester down to a program she led in seven days.

“It was a fun challenge, that’s for sure,” Cole said. “It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from the students.”

Derry worked with the students on their sculptures and he worked with some Zagreb faculty members to enrich their teaching methods based on his experience in the classroom.

“As someone visiting, I shared my experiences,” he said. “But the wealth of information was gained by myself.”

Neither Cole nor Derry said there was a language barrier with the students they interacted with. In fact, Cole said language wasn’t a barrier at all.

“Theater people tend to talk a lot with hands and bodies,” Cole said, “so I was able to understand, more than they knew.”

After her experiences in Zagreb, Cole said she is already planning another trip to Europe, and she hopes some of the students she worked with will soon make a visit to IUP.

“I would love to spend more time there,” she said. “And I had some initial conversations with the academy about strengthening our relationship with them. We’re looking to find a way to bring their students over to us where we have actors looking for directors to work with. After that, maybe we could take a small cohort of actors over there.”

Derry is also working to make a similar trip happen.

“They have expressed an interest in sending the head of their sculpture program here in the spring,” he said, “so I hope it can happen.”