Given the exodus of over 3 million Ukrainian refugees to Poland, Polish universities are committed to assisting the global higher education community in welcoming and protecting at-risk scholars. The Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland, a recent SAR member institution, rose to the occasion in light of the war in Ukraine.
Students, lecturers and artists from Kherson, Kyiv, Lviv, and Odessa are continuing their work safely at the Academy, through short-term research and teaching positions. Since March, as many as 63 interns and 12 lecturers have joined. Students are assigned to different studios, where they can continue their studies and finalize their diplomas through online communication with their supervisors from Ukraine.
To combat the language barrier, Ukrainian students and lecturers work in groups to support each other as they integrate into the Academy’s community. We also provide Polish language classes for Ukrainians and ensure the presence of an interpreter. Scholarships and meal vouchers, accommodations, learning aids such as canvas stretchers, papers, paints and tools, and a charity auction have also been made available to support students from Ukraine.
Notably, the Academy organized a conference to consider how Polish and Ukrainian academies of fine art can address challenges to education, art, and research following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Attendees included rectors from academies, institutes, and universities of fine arts in both countries, who discussed the current state of fine arts education in Ukraine. Topics also included the situation of Ukrainian students in Poland, the expectations of Ukrainian partners in the short, medium and long-term, and the financial and organizational capacity of Polish academies of fine arts to offer support.
In addition to supporting the academic community, the Academy sheltered more than 25 mothers with children in the Academy’s historic Open-Air House in Harenda, and also hosts regular art workshops for Ukrainian children at its Gallery.
Looking ahead, the Academy intends to establish a special scholarship fund for Ukraine called HeART FOR UKRAINE. The scholarships will be allocated to students from Ukraine in the academic year 2022/2023. As students and scholars from Ukraine participate in lectures, classes and workshops at our university, they enrich our community with their unique culture, aesthetics, and customs.
Find out more about the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts’s efforts to support Ukrainian scholars and ways you can support the HeART for Ukraine scholarship here.