FUA-AUF /SBU XII Annual Academic Conference

Garden of Culture: Calvino's Memos for the New Millennium.

Florence University of The Arts-The American University of Florence and SUNY Stony Brook 12th  Annual Academic Conference program with speaker and panel lineups is now available.

The Conference will be held on December 1 and 2, 2023, from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, in Florence, Italy.

Inaugural activities will take place at the Gabinetto Vieusseux, in the Sala Ferri at Palazzo Strozzi, at 9:30am (registration from 9:00-9:30am) on December 1. Featured speakers at the inauguration include:

The Conference will carry on at Corso dei Tintori 21, starting with tlunch on December 1 and continue at this location until its end on December 2. Service, food and beverage for the entire conference will be provided in collaboration with students and faculty from the FUA-AUF Hospitality Department, Apicius International School of Hospitality.

2023 marks the centenary of the birth of Italo Calvino (1923-1985), and in commemoration, Florence University of The Arts-The American University of Florence will explore his personal, artistic, and cultural heritage, adopting, as always, an interdisciplinary academic approach.

Italo Calvino's perspective on literature and the role of intellectuals owes much to the writer's early connections with nature as a place of study and pleasure. Images of a devoted gardener and playful child come to mind immediately when exploring Calvino's attitude towards his own books, the books of others, and cultures as territories to observe, understand, enjoy, care for, and cultivate, so as to reap their fruits.

Our imaginary world has been shaped by Calvino's unforgettable characters, interacting with nature in surprising ways: Marcovaldo, searching for nature in the insidious contemporary city; the Baron in the Trees, with his carefree and revolutionary ecological battle; Pin, whose secret place in the woods is where spiders build their nests; Palomar's scientific standards through compulsive observation of nature...

Focusing on Calvino's literary legacy, particularly addressing the Six Memos for the Next Millennium (lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, and consistency), "Gardens of Culture" will encourage participants to reflect on the various aspects of the word "culture" – from the Latin verb colere, meaning "to work, cultivate" – in cultivating human beings and the natural spaces that host them.

FUA- AUF  students will present a special panel as well as an art exhibit.

We are excited for the conference and hope to meet many of you there to experience it together!

To attend please contact conferences@fua-auf.it.

Download the complete program for detailed information.

Gardens of Culture: Italo Calvino's Memos for the New Millennium.

Fall 2023 Florence University of The Arts-The American University of Florence and SUNY Stony Brook are pleased to announce their 12th annual academic conference.

Conference Dates and Venue

The conference will be hosted at the FUA-AUF campus in Florence on December 1st and 2nd, 2023.

Conference Theme

Gardens of Culture: Italo Calvino's Memos for the New Millennium.

Conference Call for Papers

The call for papers is now officially open. The deadline for submission is Monday, August 28th, 2023.

New ISB CEMI: Pomario

The Pomario Botanical Retail store is AUF’s most recent CEMI (community engagement member institution) initiative. Pomario is operated by students and faculty members of the School of Business at AUF, where students are given the opportunity to learn about urban ecology in both the classroom and through a hands-on professional approach as well. Pomario allows students to interact with the local community to educate residents through botany, sustainability, and horticulture.

At its core, Pomario aims to support and spread knowledge on how to lead a greener and more sustainable lifestyle. Much like many of AUF’s CEMI initiatives, Pomario is built on the institution’s commitment to education through experiential learning.

Some of the services and products offered by Pomario are:

- Ongoing selection and curation of plant varieties

- Special expansion of vegetables

- Collaborations with other local entities

- Development of events that feature hands-on learning experiences

- Green retail management

- Sustainable marketing and promotion

- Involvement in green/sustainability events hosted at the Palazzi Community Center

Pomario offers a vast selection of plants and gardening items; however, it is much more than just a retail store for purchasing plants. With a focus on supporting community seminars that place emphasis on horticulture themes, Pomario organizes multiple sustainably-friendly initiatives and activities that are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Thanks to the store’s Via Ricasoli location at the Palazzi Community Center, students, faculty, and visitors alike can benefit from the center’s Cafaggio del Vescovo gardens featuring citrus trees, herbs, and plants of many varieties.AUF is constantly redefining and reinventing what it means to learn in an international setting. Going beyond the classroom and immersing students in the community, AUF cultivates and helps to develop students’ global perspective by exposing them to new ideas, issues, and solutions through the city of Florence. Through an experience-oriented approach, AUF students are transformed into citizens of the world with a greener global outlook.

Gap Year in Florence

AUF Gap Year Programs go beyond the concept of “spending a year abroad” by offering options that are both focused and flexible for diverse participants.

With the aim of different needs and interests in mind, the following programs are an opportunity to enhance and internationalize college pathways, careers, and volunteer experiences in the stimulating environment of Florence, Italy.

Program Options

The AUF campus and Florentine community are a dynamic extended network of learning and experience-building spaces. The unique educational model ensures that all Gap Year participants, while participating in the above tailored options, are fully involved in program activities leading to cultural integration, community engagement, and experiential learning.

Further details can be found in the Gap Year Program prospective students page. For information requests please contact admissions@fua.it. 

Almost Nothing: Faculty Exhibit

The “Almost Nothing” exhibit by Nicoletta Salomon opened on Thursday, June 3, 2021, at 6 pm in Via Ricasoli 21, and showcased 23 contemporary art pieces.

The artworks were exhibited at the Corridoio Fiorentino, which collects, preserves, exhibits, and showcases artwork by AUF students/faculty and professional artists. Nicoletta Salomon is a writer, painter, and faculty member of writing and fine arts at AUF. Salomon said that art is a way of life and a way for her to communicate with others. Her canvases and paintings depict her thoughts, emotions, and memories. Salomon created her pieces for the exhibit during COVID-19, and they represent her thoughts and feelings from that time spent in isolation. Her main inspiration for this project was the silence experienced during the pandemic’s lockdowns and limited interaction with others.Though she is used to working from home in her home studio, Salomon shares that this experience was different. She was deeply affected by the silence around her, and concentrated on the feeling of stillness. The sense of solitude was not physical because she had her family with her, but rather, it was a spiritual solitude to which she eventually became accustomed. She is unsure of whether enjoyment can be located at all within the experience, but she definitely became accustomed to it out of necessity. Salomon’s depiction of inner silence and the feelings associated with are evident throughout the exhibit. The absence of stimuli changed her perspective on her art and taught her how to concentrate more on her inner self.The background to these paintings is lighter than her usual darkness, and the colors used are more subdued – there is a calmer, quieter sense to them, making them lighter overall. She chose to combine this lighter palette with unprimed linen to eliminate the duality between color and canvas, for them to be one unified element. "I didn't want my canvas to be just a supporting[base], something that passively bears the colors," said Salomon.The works could be interpreted as landscapes. Salomon used squares and horizontal lines, with a frontal perspective of air and water in them. They don't touch, but instead, they float in proximity to each other. This certainly not the only interpretation, and the works can be seen figuratively or non-figuratively. She enjoys how her painting can be read differently by each person.Her feelings toward the solitude experienced while creating these paintings can also be seen in the brushstrokes on the canvas. There is a movement to her brushstrokes that is varied and shows that they are not peaceful. They sometimes show quiet movement, at other times they are rushed. What emerges is her changing relationship with solitude during the pandemic, and the peace and struggles she faced.

The title "Almost Nothing" refers to how Salomon stripped the paintings down to their bones.
This project allowed her to experience painting with a limited palette and a bare canvas, and the
name refers to the creative process rather than the outcome.
Though the thoughts and emotions portrayed in these works of art are her own from the
lockdown, Salomon’s overall message for exhibit viewers is the "freedom to project their own
views and emotions" onto her paintings.
The exhibit can also be viewed online at the Corridoio Fiorentino digital gallery.

By Cristina Gallè - Journalism Student at Humber College, Canada

AUF Course: Special Project: Experiential Learning in Journalism - Iconic Florence Remote Learning Student - Summer 2021

WWAC: Walks Without a Classroom

Learning takes place in many shapes and forms.

The standard approach adopted by many institutions is classroom-based lectures, in which the learning path is guided by the instructor and textbook. Going beyond the classroom eliminates potential constraints in separation between students and the subject, and helps foster a student's innate sense of curiosity and discovery. Ultimately, a stronger bond with the subject taught is possible through diverse learning methodologies. This is especially true for international students who juggle the challenges of coursework and living in a new culture and environment.

At AUF, courses are constantly designed to inspire and challenge students through both content and delivery through immersive and experience-oriented approaches. The institution’s unique course methodology WWAC - Walks Without A Classroom - allows students to experience coursework fulfilled outside of the classroom space through engagement with a local environment.

This innovative style of teaching and learning encourages a more active participation in course topics. For each lesson, students are introduced to an academic theme elaborated through various locations, spaces, and sites in the city of Florence. Lectures are delivered directly within the context represented by the topic, and encourage students to discover the depth of the place-topic connections covered.

The result is a hands-on learning journey supported by the rich background of Florence from its culture and history to societal structures, economy, and architecture. Complemented by course readings, research, journaling, and mapping activities in addition to standard assignment and exam requirements, WWAC courses provide a robust education that deepens knowledge and an international student’s personal connection with the hosting environment. 

WWAC courses cover diverse disciplines including literature, philosophy, fashion, art history, and food.

Upcoming course offerings may be viewed at the academic course schedule

For further information contact: admissions@fua.it