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AUS design students draw their way through Italy this summer
Design students from American University of Sharjah (AUS) drew their way around Italy this month as part of a 23-day study abroad course, which saw them tour the country’s most famous and picturesque landmarks, museums and cities.
Led by Brian Dougan, Professor of Architecture, 14 students from the University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) experienced a fresh perspective of European art and culture, as they travelled together on the “Seeing and Drawing Italy” course.
With sketchbooks in hand, the students stopped to explore 11 Italian cities and villages, viewing historical artifacts and sites to sharpen their observational and analytical drawing skills.
“Every day there were educational opportunities; some expected, some not,” said Professor Dougan, who teaches drawing and design studios for Foundations students at CAAD.
“The best part of the course, besides practicing a lot of drawing and sharpening perceptual acuity, was a fresh cultural awareness,” he said.
Hailing from eight different countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Lithuania, the international group benefited from a cross-cultural feast for the senses.
Amerah Khan, a second-year architecture student from Bangladesh, said her time in Italy gave her the chance to see the world in a different way by engaging with, observing and drawing everyday objects around her.
“I’ve gained the priceless experience of becoming the thing while drawing it. For me, drawing in Italy was a process of discovering the unknown while being comfortable in all uncomfortable situations,” said Khan.
As fresh graduate of interior design, Amira Alzaim from Syria, said the Italy course was a highlight of her time at AUS, developing her attention to detail and her curiosity of spaces, furniture, people, cultures and design.
“Having been to Italy once before, I must say that drawing has made me view it through a new lens. All that it required was switching off the designer in me, accepting things for what they are, and having the courage to delve in,” said Alzim.
“I am, at least, more appreciative of details, connections, joinery and the power we have when we have a clear perception of what is around us,” she said.
For Egyptian student, Nadin Abedfatah, this was an experience she will never forget, sharpening the drawing skills she needs for her future career as an architect.
“My professor was supportive and encouraged my growth as a ‘see-er’. I learned by experience that ‘the only way to learn to draw is to draw’. For students who are thinking about going on this trip, do it!” said Abedfatah.
Images of the student’s drawings, as well as snapshots of them at work, have been shared on social media via Instagram at @caad_seeing_italy_2018.
The works produced in Italy will be part of an exhibition planned for Spring 2019, which will be held within CAAD’s regionally acclaimed facilities at AUS.
The group will resume their studies in architecture, design management, visual communication, multimedia and interior design at CAAD in the Fall.