After a few years of preparatory activities and approval hunting, the Department of Art History and Aesthetics, namely Martina Pachmanová, the former VA guarantee, and the former UMPRUM management, succeeded in gaining the accreditation for the post- graduate follow up program in English, granted by the Czech Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth in 2006.
It took Alan Záruba, the former VA tutor, and Hana Smělá, the VA Coordinator, another year to promote the program all over the world, address prominent teachers and lecturers, recruit 8 students and launch the program itself in summer term 2007.
In September 2014, Conrad was replaced by Rudolf Matějček in the position of the VA Assistant. Rudolf graduated from Intermedia Studio at the Institute of Arts and Design, Pilsen, headed by Milena Dopitová, and has worked as a visual artist, curator, art teacher, web and graphic designer and an occasional radio dj in Radio 1. Together with Milena Dopitová, he had been participating in all VA activities and consultations and has co-curated Rozčvička, an exhibition of VA students´ sports objects, installations and videos at Dancing Hall Gallery, Mikulov, in May 2015, and a Zítra/Tomorrow, the Night of Scientists, an exhibition of VA students´ objects/inventions inspired by science and scientists, in the Galerie Rudolfinum, Mikulov in May 2016. He left the program together with Milena Dopitová in June 2016.
From summer semester 2016 the VA program is lucky to have Václav Janoščík, one of the best Czech young curators, editors, and art theoreticians focusing on philosophy, history, theory of media and contemporary art. Václav studied two master degree programs in Prague, Philosophy and History at the Liberal Arts Faculty, Charles University in Prague, and Law and Law Science at Law Faculty, Charles University. Then he gained his PhD degree, major Curating and Theory of intermedia and design, at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. He now studies doctoral program in Historical Sciences at Liberal Arts Faculty, Charles University, teaches not only here at our school, but also three other schools: the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU), the Film Academy in Prague (FAMU) and Law Faculty in Prague. At the same time, he´s a very active curator collaborating with up and coming galleries such as Drdova Gallery, Kvalitář, Chemistry Gallery in Prague or Hraničář in Ústí nad Labem. Among the the latest successful shows he curated were On the TSF Waves exhibition in INI Gallery 2016 and Cities and Velocities exhibition in De Markten in Brusels (2016).
Out of the twenty-three studios at UMPRUM, the first students could only apply for four studios which had joined the VA program at that time: Graphic Design and Visual Communication (headed by Rostislav Vaněk), Architecture II (headed by Eva Jiřičná), Typography (headed by František Štorm) and Film and TV Graphics (headed by Jan Barta).
The following academic year 2007/2008, five new studios entered the VA program and accepted six VA applicants: Illustration and Graphics (headed by Juraj Horváth), Intermedia Art (headed by Jiří David), Product Design (headed by Jan Němeček and Michal Froněk), Interior Design and Architecture (headed by Jiří Pelcl) and Painting (headed by Ivan Diviš). In academic year 2008/ 2009 seven new students arrived and two more studios joined VA: Photography (headed by Hynek Alt and Saša Vajd) and Glass (headed by Rony Plesl). Having been supported by the new management, in summer term 2009 the program was enriched in three new studios, previously offered only to Czech and exchange students: Sculpture (headed by Kurt Gebauer), K.O.V (headed by Eva Eisler) and Fashion and Footwear Design (headed by Liběna Rochová). In spring 2010 Supermedia Studio (headed by Federico Diaz) became an affiliated member of VA program and Textile Design (headed by Jitka Škopová) and Ceramics and Porcelain (headed by Maxim Velčovský) and Architecture Studio I (headed by Jindřich Smetana) followed in summer 2012. The last time the choice of VA studios which VA applicants can choose from was broadened in summer 2014 when Architecture III. accepted two new VA applicants and in summer 2015 when Industrial Design studio joined the VA course.
During all the years of VA´s existence the essential part of MA curricula were, first, compulsory theoretical lectures on architecture, design, typography and contemporary art given by renowned Czech theoreticians, second, a four day theoretical workshop on various topics, hosting mainly lecturers from abroad. Moreover, from summer term 2007 to winter term 2007 VA students were offered Interdisciplinary Dialogues with Alan Záruba, a prominent graphic designer and the former VA tutor, where they could discuss their work produced in their studios and get info about what was up in Czech visual culture.
From February 2008 to June 2016, the VA studio had been tutored by Milena Dopitová, a remarkable Czech conceptual artist, who followed up on the Alan Záruba´s Interdisciplinary Dialogues, and held special Team Project consultations each week. Within these sessions Milena challenged all VA students to work outside of their comfort zone to develop work that is both conceptually strong and visually compelling. In this framework, graphic designers tried their hand at working with sound, or painters took on working in video, for example. These efforts reached fruition in the end-of-semester exhibitions held at the school, in which an emphasis was put the professional installation of the works. This combination of risk-taking, experimentation, and professionalism is what the VA program aimed at helping students develop into highly dynamic artists and designers who have a broad range of skills to draw on in their future careers. Apart from curating the end-of-semester exhibitions in the VA room, Milena also organized other VA group exhibitions in or outside of Prague (Zoom In Show, AAAD UM Gallery, 2009; Fabrika, Doubice 2012, and 2013; VAVOOM!, Munikat Gallery, Munich, 2013; Muki Muki Show, Fejér Villa, 2013; KUMŠT, Gallerie Rudolfinum, Mikulov 2014; Rozcvička/A Warm-Up, Dancing Hall Gallery, Mikulov 2015; Zítra/Tomorrow, Galerie Rudolfinum, Mikulov 2016).
In October 2011 Conrad Armstrong joined the VA team as assistant. Conrad graduated from VA program in 2010 in the studio of Intermedia Art, and has lived in Prague since 2004. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in and around the Czech Republic, and splits his time between teaching and making art. Working with Milena Dopitová, Conrad co-curated several exhibitions and workshops in the Czech Republic and abroad (VAVOOM!, Munikat Gallery, Munich, 2013; Doubice 2012, 2013; Muki Muki Show, Fejér Villa, 2013).
There have been 104 Visual Arts students to graduate from UMPRUM, gaining their MFA degree during the official final commencement in the Church of Saint Anne, Prague 1.
Here's a list of all of VA graduates:
Ann-Sophie Gehrig (Germany, Fine Arts II), Kintija Elīna Karaša (Latvia, Type Design and Typography), Ilya Kreines (Israel, Illustration and Graphics), Hung Chiao Shih (Taiwan, Architecture III)
Jakob Johannes Dostert (Germany, Architecture III); Nahuel Gerth (Germany, Graphic Design and Visual Communication); Magda Anna Chmielowska (Poland, Illustration and Graphics); Ya Chu Kuo (Taiwan, Intermedia); Adrian Lesechko (Ukraine, Industrial Design); Rama Krishna Sai Teja Manda (India, Type Design and Typography); Elisabetta Luisa Nová (Turkey, Graphic Design and Visual Communication); Rodrigo José Realista Corriente Rosa (Portugal, Intermedia); Marta Savignano (Italy, Graphic Design and Visual Communication); Kina Usami (Japan, Textile Design); Ema Veljanoska (Macedonia, Photography 1); Byoung Chan Yun (South Korea, Glass).
Maria Dokuchaeva (Russia, Photography); Luigi Gorlero (Italy, Type Design and Typography); Abhishek Chaudhary (India, Intermedia).
Chloé Célia Elsa Burkiewicz (France, Painting); Helene Krieger (Austria, Type Design and Typography); Loretta Wai Ting Lau (Hong Kong, Intermedia); Minami Nishinaga (Japan, Sculpture); Yui Ozaki (Japan, Intermedia); Carolina Prom (UK, Intermedia); Brina Steblovnik (Slovinia, Glass); Daria Suratova (Russia, Graphic Design and Visual Communication); Kotone Utsonomiya (Japan, Illustration and Graphics); Mark D’Urso (USA, Painting)
Begüm Erçam (Turkey, Industrial Design); Sebastián Segura Espinel (Colombia, K.O.V.); Anastasia Filatova (Russia, Architecture III); Kristin Jermstad Gravdal (Norway, AIII); Marie Helen Tite (Canada, Photography); María Andrea Miranda Serna (Colombia, Illustration and Graphics); Miyuki Shiotsu (Japan, K.O.V.); Jonne Väisänen (Finland, Photography); Lok Kiu (Ingrid) Wong (Hong Kong, Sculpture)
Emel Erdem, Turkey, Glass Studio
Yu-Lin Huang, Taiwan, Glass Studio
Yea-Eun Jang, South Korea, Film and TV Graphics Studio
Ksenija Markovič, Montenegro, Furniture and Interior Design Studio
Ayaka Tajiri, Japan, Intermedia Studio
Hsin-YIng Tsai, Taiwan, Ceramics and Porcelain Studio
Jung-Jiea Hung, Taiwan, Photography Studio
Milos Djikanovic, Montenegro, Architecture III
Nancy Celeste Hill, USA, Intermedia Art
Rebeka Molnár, Hungary, Film and TV Graphics
Ping Ping Zhao, China, Glass
Asawari Bhagwat, India, Furniture and Interior Design
Alison Freedman, USA, Film and TV Graphics
Piyakorn Chaiverapundech, Thailand, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Saki Matsumoto, Japan, Illustration and Graphics
Jimena Mendoza, Mexico, Intermedia Art
Urvi Sethna, India, Intermedia Art
Katharina Rohdin, Sweden, Architecture I.
Pal Steinar Gumpen, Norway, Intermedia Art
Timo Hirschmann, Germany, Film and Tv Graphics
Yukiko Taima, Japan, Illustration and Graphics
Tomoko Kumagai, Japan, Supermedia
Jorge Abraham Garcia Razo, Mexico, Product Design
Fanny Rocio Acero Reyes, Colombia, Intermedia Art
Nelson Fernando Echeverria Ruiz, Equador, Fashion and Footwear
Marko Mikičic, Croatio, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Vlada Shamava, Belarus, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Qiyuan Zheng, China, Interior and Furniture
Thorarinn Jonsson, Iceland, Sculpture
Jana Ivanovska, Macedonia, Textile Design
Nurten Erdogan, Turkey, Intermedia Art
Anej Nuhanovic, Bosnia/USA, Sculpture
Akane Hayakawa, Japan, Illustration and Graphics
Aysegul Cakiroglu, Turkey, Product Design
Grant Conboy, USA, Painting
Akira Otsubo, Japan, Photography
Roberto Lucio Fuentes Rangel, Mexico, Painting
Qing Mei Xing, China, Typography
Zhichao Zhu, China, Film and TV Design
Hwan Bang, Korea, Film and TV Graphics
Himanshu Choudhary, India, Photography
Takeshi Ito, Japan, Glass
Giselle Olguín Jiménez, Mexico, Painting
Noa Nahari, Israel, Supermedia
Li Xu, China, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Qin Zou, China, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Luis Guillermo Cerdas, Costa Rica, Studio of Film and TV Graphics
Mark Hale, Turkey, Film and TV Graphics
Luying Huang, China, Glass
Wiley Jackson, USA, Glass
David Yule, Australia, Glass
Conrad Armstrong, USA, Intermedia Art
Kaori Fujita, Japan, Film and TV Graphics
Ine Harrang, Norway, Glass
Marta Mancusi, Italy, Illustration and Graphics
Yumiko Ono, Japan, Intermedia Art
Sadie Renwick, Scotland, Intermedia Art
Karim Talaat, Canada, Intermedia Art
Carolyn Agis, USA, Film and TV Graphics
Christian Bulmahn, Germany, Graphic Design and Visual Communication
Cigdem Cevrim, Turkey, Typography
Matěj Hlaváček, Czech Republic, Typography
Atsushi Makino, Japan, Film and TV Graphics
Kateřina Šachová, Czech Republic, Illustration and Graphics
Winnie Tan, Singapore, Typography