Department of the Month: Arts

During their studies at UWC Dilijan the students engage in an interactive experiential learning process. Everyone, regardless of their interests and background, finds an opportunity to develop themselves and to find their way in life. This “education like no other” is facilitated by UWC Dilijan’s dedicated faculty, who give the students the freedom to explore and support them in their endeavours.

Arts is one of the fastest growing departments at UWC Dilijan; it has been constantly evolving since the foundation of the School in 2014. Having started off with 14 students in the Visual Arts class, today nearly every second student at UWC Dilijan takes either Theatre, Visual Arts or Music as one of his IB subjects.

In early 2016, the Visual Arts students first began the annual tradition of an art-exhibition showcasing the students’ best works to the college and the Dilijan community. This year, the Arts department will exhibit students’ works at the National Museum of Dilijan, thus having an opportunity to attract more visitors from the local community of Dilijan. The school and the arts department in particular frequently collaborate with the local young people in various projects – whether it be extracurricular activities, joint projects or events. “Street Art” is one of the first co-curricular groups, led by the Visual Arts teacher Kevin Hopkins and attracting teenagers from Dilijan School with an interest in pursuing and developing their artistic talents and skills.

The teachers in the arts department do their best to involve students in various cultural activities through hosting outstanding artists, musicians and writers from around the world.

December of 2016 marked another milestone for the arts department. UWCD theatre class proudly presented the first whole school production: an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Practically everyone in the community was involved in the production – whether it was through acting, costume design or stage management. Apart from creating bonds between the local students and the community, the theatre production brought out the acting skills in students who might have never considered appearing and speaking in public as one of their strengths. The months of rehearsals have paid off: students that found it difficult to say a sentence in English, began fluently reciting dozens of lines in Shakespearean English.

This semester the theatre department launched a season of live theatre performance screenings, premiering with “Coriolanus” – one of the final tragedies full of bloodshed by William Shakespeare. Designed to be monthly events, these screenings will introduce the college community to the A-list theatre performances of all times.

As creativity and non-standard thinking have manifestly become the most valued features in the imminent robotised and digital world, developing these features in the students became the priority in UWC Dilijan and especially its Arts department.

At the beginning of this academic year, the Arts department welcomed Yaroslav Zabavskiy, a UWC alumnus who joined the multinational team of teachers, starting a new page in the life of the Arts department. From now on, the Visual Art students can learn and enjoy the ancient craft of throwing on pottery wheels at the ceramics workshop as well as learn how to develop and print photos taken with analogue cameras in the newly set up darkroom. Yaroslav founded the “Arts and Crafts Society” student activity, aiming to foster community engagement in developing the culture of hand-made souvenirs in Dilijan. The first order has come from the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, who asked our students to design and produce souvenirs for Aurora Ceremony guests.

UWC Dilijan is eager to contribute to the development of arts and music in the local community and committed to the idea of leaving a positive impact on the Dilijan people, especially the youth. The town has already become a popular performance stage among renowned artists. They are now eagerly arriving to Dilijan to share their art with the local youth, reviving the erstwhile reputation of the town as a cultural hub, where the greatest artists used to come in search of inspiration.