12. јануара 2023

Radisav Stijović
University of Montenegro, Faculty of Fine Arts

Erasmus+ Mobility for Studies at:

University of Arts, Faculty of Applied Arts

The adaptation during the first months of my stay under the Erasmus+ mobility program for students from partner countries went seamlessly. I could integrate into the curriculum with other students and start working on the curricular projects. The atmosphere was friendly and the gathering among students was facilitated by beautiful surroundings in the historic city center. The location provides adequate possibilities for short leisure, like enjoying the rustic quality of several faculty buildings or strolling the cobbled streets of Konsančićev venac and the cherry groves adjacent to it. The few benches and many cafes outside the faculty provide a view over Belgrade’s famous horizon, characterized by the bridges over the Sava river and the Ušće park on the other side of the river delta.

During the mobility, I had an extraordinary opportunity to learn the almost forgotten craft of manual typesetting in the old and beautiful typesetting studio which houses a collection of lead letters from many different printshops and foundries long gone. Thanks to the elderly print technicians that were invited to impart the craft to the young generation of students, I was able to delve deep into the research of XIX and XX-century metal-type infrastructure. It was exciting to hands-on learn the old process of print production and also to trace the casted letters through their signatures or stylistic characteristics to the type foundries that did the casting. Process-wise, it was quite poetic to drastically slow down the typographic process to several hours that take to manually set type, and thus critically evaluate contemporary digital design methods. Besides teaching us the deft requirements of manual typesetting, these expert technicians taught us about the typographic collectives and foundries in former Yugoslavia.

At the same time, under the mentorship of prof. Ana Prodanović I was deeply invested in learning about the calligraphic and type design tradition of the Faculty of Applied Arts. In her course Type Design, I had the opportunity to design a multi-script digital font, that paid equal attention to both Latin and Cyrillic glyphs and the orthographic particularities of BHCS languages. Parallel to curricular activities, the Faculty hosted several co-curricular workshops held by international guests: from Iran, we had several calligraphers who demonstrated the art and processes of Farsi calligraphy and later on a French professor who gave a lecture about the micro typography and historical development of signs of interpunction in European languages. Besides the mentioned, other courses I attended such as Animation or Book and Printmaking were interesting and provided the needed instructions and studio space.

As my mobility took place in the year when the nearby city of Novi Sad was the European Capital of Culture I had a chance to follow the cultural program in Novi Sad during several weekend trips. I enjoyed immersing in the city’s eclectic architecture, different exhibitions, book presentations, and lectures.

At the end of the semester, the traditional annual exhibition took place. It was a great way to see and experience so many artworks made by students of numerous study programs, that this Faculty offers. Overall, the exchange at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade was an amazing experience, where I made great friendships, projects, and acquittances, but also where I learned specific skills that can’t be easily found elsewhere.

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