Adress from the Rector of AMU Jan Hančil on the commencement of the academic year

Dear Students, Dear Colleagues,

Allow me to say a few words on the commencement of the new academic year. The annual ceremonial matriculation oath cannot take place due to the epidemiologic situation, which is why I decided to issue a brief address in a virtual form.

It is now 75 years since the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague was founded on the basis of President Edvard Beneš’s decree. It happened at a time of high hopes: people rejoiced over freedom regained and did not realise how easily they could lose it again. Two and a half years were enough for the society to end up trapped within a new totalitarian regime.

We can perceive our current era as a time of change too. Much of what we have relied on is being redefined. We have experienced an exceptional 30 years of freedom and prosperity and we feel uncertain about what lies ahead. However, this is exactly why we have to look into the future with courage.

It makes me happy when I see how you approach the current situation with the requisite caution, yet calmly. I believe that this reasonable attitude will help us manage the upcoming semester. Help is coming from a somewhat unexpected side: from technologies, which are increasingly becoming just another vehicle of expression for art. We have to learn using them even in areas where we would not expect them to be present a mere year ago: in teaching art.  

Ahead of us is at least one semester – and maybe an entire academic year – when we will be confined to distance or, as they say, ‘hybrid’ forms of instruction to a certain extent. Contact instruction will be temporarily limited to those art subjects that cannot be taught in any other way.

These circumstances represent immense difficulties for students and, even more so, for teachers. They are compelled to think about the content of their subjects in an entirely different way, and to master a new way of thinking about the options for instruction and new digital skills that, until recently, were out of the scope of their interest.

Dear Colleagues, the management team of AMU will provide you with all the methodological and material support it can, so that we can feel satisfied at the end of the semester and the academic year because students will have obtained the requisite knowledge and skills they can use in their future studies in this ever-changing world.

I am confident that we will overcome these hardships together with our creative and teaching potential, appetite for instruction and a passion for learning together. After all, artists are used to approaching obstacles and limitations as a challenge that helps them push the boundaries. Let us be tolerant to each other and let us task of ourselves, our students and our colleagues in ways that are adequate to the current situation, which is challenging for everyone.

To that end, I wish you all strength, determination and commitment.

Quod bonum, felix, faustum, fortunatumque eveniat.

30. September 2020