Nil Santana, associate professor of art and design, was invited by Eastern Mediterranean University’s Department of Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design to teach a two-week intensive course on brand design as a Visiting Scholar.
Santana was invited by Dr. Firat Tüzünkan, assistant professor and vice chair of the department of visual arts and visual communication design at EMU. Santana and Tüzünkan both attended ACU together in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1999. Originally from Cyprus, after working to receive his doctorate in Florida, Tüzünkan returned to Cyprus.
EMU has instituted a series called “Learn From the Master’s” to invite guest speakers and conduct intensive courses for students. Santana had been in conversation with the university for two years until she was able to visit from Oct. 14-25.
Santana co-taught the class with Tüzünkan. The class was a Brand Design two-week course with about 18 students from undergraduate to graduate in attendance.
“The activities were mostly in class, activity with lectures and hands-on activities designing some logos and identity design,” Santana said. “But we also had a chance to go to a small town called Kyrenia, on the northern Cyprus coast, and we made an extra credit kind of assignment for them to take photos and practice typography and it was pretty fun too.”
The university is located in the town of Famagusta, in northern Cyprus. The trip was Santana’s first visit to Cyprus.
“It’s kind of a historical site,” Santana said. “So everyday when [Tüzünkan] would come by and pick me up from the hotel, we would just drive around town and visit ancient sites and ruins from 1500 B.C. which is pretty incredible. It was fantastic. Besides being there as a Visiting Scholar teaching a workshop, for me, it was also a cultural experience. Learning about the culture, the costumes, the language, the food. It was an incredible experience for me as well.”
EMU is the largest university in Cyprus with students from over 100 countries. Since it is an international university, all classes are conducted in English.
“Students from EMU come from all over the world, mostly from the eastern side like Morocco, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and all the other middle eastern countries there,” Santana said.
Santana said the one thing that impressed him the most, besides the quality of the students and the quality of the education, was the hospitality.
“These people treated me in a way that was unimaginable,” Santana said. “So I hope that I’ve made really good friends and lasting friendships there. And I hope also, that out of this experience we are going to be able to grow some kind of collaboration between ACU and EMU.”
Santana said there is no set project for the future, but there is conversation about growing a collaboration.
“I already expressed great interest in going back and they’ve also expressed great interest in having me back,” Santana said.
EMU is working to provide more diversity to their students by inviting international scholars to their university. Santana is the third Visiting Scholar that has been through the program and spent two weeks with their students. Santana also delivered a presentation titled “Three Things You Need in Your Portfolio” for the Department of Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design.