Three Innovative Doctoral Theses as a Result of TPAAE Project

TPAAE project within a large-scale research on art and artistic education in transcultural perspective since its beginning has been aimed at supporting the development of individual researchers involved in it.

Presently, approaching its completion, we may enjoy its effects. 


On 5 December 2023, Zofia Potakowska defended her doctoral thesis 'We - Others. From Zoo Humains to Contemporary Art. The Case of Tanzania", developed under the supervision of Aneta Pawłowska, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Łódź. The thesis is based on field research conducted by Potakowska in East Africa as part of the volunteer programme of the National Museum in Szczecin.

"Zofia Potakowska's dissertation entitled. 'We - Others. From Zoo Humains to Contemporary Art. The case of Tanzania' is an original scholarly study on the painting and sculpture of contemporary Tanzania. The work problematises the question of the relationship between us and others and observes it through the lens of approaches to contemporary art of the West and East Africa, which are in dialogue with each other. The author reports on the changes in the way African art has been understood from its positioning within the field of ethnographic interest, through approach to it as primitive art (including the concept of négritude) 'to the moment when African art becomes a full-fledged area of interest for numerous academic disciplines' (p. 5). The art of Africa, and Tanzania in particular, constitutes a study case that allows the author to insert herself into the discussion on decolonisation, not only politically, but above all socially and culturally. It is an arena for the redefinition of cultural relations between the Global North and the Global South, expressed symbolically in the space of art, which is a fine object of interest, offering the possibility of interesting research and deep analysis. This is the path that Zofia Potakowska follows by aptly choosing her detailed topic of interest and field research, which is the art of Tanzania."

"Potakowska's wide-ranging view of the issues under study combined with a focus on particular artistic styles and figures is valuable. In the presented dissertation, the author presents both items resulting from ethnographic research and from the field of art history, including items concerning the art of Africa, with Tanzania, which are still scarce. Her perspective is enriched by an outlook of a philosophical nature, noting the difference between European and African aesthetics as based on different aesthetic categories, as well as her own field research, which allows her to provide a broad and detailed account of the subject matter explored."
- excerpts from a review by Prof. (AS) Dr. Aleksandra Łukaszewicz



On 18 December 2023 at 12, noon, the R+ Gallery at the Academy of Art in Szczecin will be the venue for the defence of the doctoral thesis in the field of Art in the discipline of Visual Arts and Conservation of Works of Art in the field of Painting by Anne Ntinyari Mwiti MA 'Gwata Ntai: They Have Not Got Rid of the Bruises Left in the Past. Ndagwata: The East African Art of Face and Body Painting by the Masai and Related Communities" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Łukasz Skąpski.

Reaching out to paintings on the faces and bodies of the Masai people of Kenya, northern Tanzania and selected communities of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, as well as the riddles and proverbs of the Ameru people of eastern Kenya, Mwiti explores the third space in African contemporary art, located in the transition between the native and the globalised in the context of Homi Bhabha's theory of 'third space' - the postcolonial liminal space of Homi Bhabha (The Location of Culture2004). At the same time, in doing so, the author explores her own hybrid transcultural identity by creating minimalist abstractions formally reminiscent of the tradition of modernism, but rooted in a culture different from the one from which modernism originated.



February 2024 will see the defence of Emilia Łapko's doctoral thesis, which deals with photography in a digital environment in which the medium is taking on an increasingly hybridised form. The subject of Łapko's doctoral thesis, created under the supervision of Professor Hubert Czerepok, PhD, is 'Artificial Paradises', a metaphor for the world we have access to via the screen.

Łapko's research trips to Kenya as part of the TPAAE project have broadened her perspective to include research on the changes in fashion that are taking place in a rapidly developing society. The way identity is constructed through appearance is becoming more coupled with the digital world.