Nine freshman students from VCUQatar were in Richmond, Virginia for a week during spring break where they collaborated with ten freshmen students from the foundation year at VCU. They went on various field trips, attended workshops in mixed groups where they had to visually map different areas of the city and create storytelling through mapping.
Each group presented their final results at a banquet at The Jefferson Hotel, a very Virginian and Southern atmosphere on the last day of a very intensive week. The presentations were, amongst others, also attended by the Embassy of Qatar. The following day the Embassy in Washington invited the students to lunch in grand Qatar style to the sincere enjoyment of the students.
Following this trip, more recently, ten freshman students from VCU Richmond were in Qatar for a week on a visit that mirrored the Richmond events schedule. They went on a tour of Doha, which included visits to the Cultural Village and the Museum of Islamic Art besides other prominent places. The students also toured Education City reviewing the architecture of the buildings.
During the week the visiting students participated with eleven students from VCUQatar in a workshop conducted by renowned Qatari artist Faraj Daham. The students worked in mixed groups here as well and were asked to be inspired by the construction vehicles that they went to view in the Industrial Area. The students had to study the lines and colors of the vehicles and all the lines created by the informational signage that they displayed. The project went through phases of concept sketching to large 2D scale visuals to finally a 3D representation. The final presentations were given in the desert about 100km south of Doha as a mirror to the very local flavor of the Jefferson banquet in Richmond.
“The intention behind the exchange was to generate more collaboration between Doha and Richmond,” explained Line Ulrika Christiansen, director of Design Foundation at VCUQatar, who played a key role in organizing the trip. The exchange is a new initiative with a focus on first year students aiming to initiate a conversation between the next generation of students, free of geographic restraints or etiquette of the disciplines as they work together across culture and nationalities through intensive workshops and local field trips.
“I think the value of these exchange visits is that the students get to understand that there are opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic and they can learn from each other, and we experienced firsthand that this is possible,” added Ms. Christiansen.
VCUQatar freshman students and faculty taking a tour of the Richmond campus
VCUQatar freshman students and faculty in Richmond with Dr. Michael Rao (extreme left), president, VCU and VCU Health System