News and events
Jana Zapletalova, teacher in the role of a student
28 September 2020
Rarely university professors have an opportunity to go back to their early years and become students again, despite such change of perspectives being invaluable!

Thanks to the mobility project funded by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic and the warm reception of the DACD SUPSI, I had the opportunity to spend a total of 10 months in Lugano and instead of an associate professor of art history become a student again.

In recent years through a close collaboration with prof. Giacinta Jean and her colleagues, I became acutely aware of great opportunities to gain hands-on-experience and practical perspectives on the art created many centuries ago, learn about the materials from which the works of art were made, learn how the stucco decorations were created, how those pieces of arts were fixed to the vaults of churches and palaces, how to determine the composition of stucco plasters, and how to literally look inside of the works of art using non-invasive exploration methods.

Thanks to the great colleagues from the restoration and conservation department, I was able to make my own stucco and stucco castings. For the first time in my life, I did a transfer of a mural paintings. I also learned how retouch the murals. We studied stucco and murals up close, from scaffoldings in many churches. As a result, like other practitioners, I often returned home with lime in my hair, something that does not happen to theoreticians.


During my stay, I also absorbed new information from theory lectures, noticed different teaching methods, experienced somewhat different educational system, and was inspired by various other ways the partner university is run. Abroad, one much better realizes the strengths and opportunities for improvement of one's teaching methods as well as management and administration systems. The steps I will take based on these insights will without doubt result in better sharing of the know-how and benefit not only my home institution and students, but, I envision, over time give back to the global academic community.

I would like to thank Giacinta Jean, the DACD leadership, and all the teachers of the Corso di laurea in Conservazione e restauro for this great opportunity to learn and gain new perspectives. This experience significantly contributed to my professional development and will result betterment of lives of my students as well as further enhancement of horizons of the art history department that I lead. I do appreciate such a unique opportunity and I am deeply grateful for it. Finally, new and enhanced relationships with academic experts and practitioners I have built during my time in Lugano are expected to lead to further ongoing collaboration and future projects benefiting research and educational efforts in the art history and beyond.