Cypriot Academics Achieving - Awards, Lectures
Dr Michael Paraskos, Director of the Cyprus College of Art, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. According to the RSA, fellowship is awarded to those who ‘have achieved a contribution to society in a cultural or arts-related sphere’.
CyprusNewsReport.com caught up with Dr. Paraskos in a short interview by email:
1. What does your election to the RSA mean to you?
"It is a real honour and I am very grateful to them for it. But what really surprised me is the number of congratulations that have come from people. When you are ignored for so long it comes as a real shock when something nice happens. You realise the art world is not so brutal after all. It was a man with the wonderful name, Hedley Jones, who used to run Bournemouth University of the Arts, who nominated me."
2. What do you plan to do for the arts during your fellowship?
"The fellowship is for life, it doesn't have a fixed term. But I am very pleased it has come now as we are setting up a new art foundation in Cyprus called the Cornaro Institute and I think this will help with that. In Cyprus there is an idea that art is a university subject, which it isn't. You only go to a university to learn to make bad art. It will probably take another 50 years before people in Cyprus realise that, so in the meantime having recognition of what you do outside the universities is important."
3. How does it make you feel to receive this recognition?
"Funnily enough the best thing was finding out people like Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin and William Hogarth had been fellows. Also that today the likes of Stephen Hawkin, Ian McEwan and A. C. Grayling are fellows. That's not bad company to keep, although you can't help thinking of Groucho Marx's line about not joining a club that would have me as a member."
4. What are you doing currently, do you live in Cyprus?
"I am half the time in London and half in Cyprus. In London I mainly write. I worked with the National Gallery last year on an exhibition and book on the British painter Clive Head, and I am now filming a documentary on Clive with the producer Bill Cran.
I write an art review each week for a London newspaper. Unfortunately I am gaining a reputation for not liking much art, but I simply write what I see as the truth. Most art in the world is not very good, because it is badly made and it is compromised by things that have nothing to do with art. I don't just mean artists chasing money, but the idea that artists illustrate their feelings or some political cause. Art has nothing to do with any of that, and if you are a critic you should say so, even if it doesn't make you popular. And the response of artists should be to make better art.
I teach at the Cyprus College of Art, which is not always easy, but far more rewarding than when I taught in British universities. I am also trying to organise a Henry Moore exhibition for Larnaca. I hope Larnaca will be excited by that. What I would really like to do is choose the Cypriot entries for the Venice Biennale next time round. I think I'd do a good job of it."
Michael Paraskos, who is the son of the Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos, is a well known writer on art in Cyprus and the UK, having written books, articles and newspaper reviews on historic and contemporary art. He was previously Head of Art History for Fine Art at the University of Hull, and has also taught at the Universitiy of Leeds and University of Nottingham. He is a regular speaker at academic conferences on art and has organised events including a conference on the art theorist Herbert Read at the Tate Gallery in London in 2005 and the exhibition Clive Head at the National Gallery, London, in 2010. He is currently working with the Kunsthal in Rotterdam on a conference on aesthetics in 2013.
The Royal Society of Arts (or RSA) was founded in 1754 by the artists William Hogarth and William Shipley, along with the playwright Samuel Johnson and the founding father of the United States Benjamin Franklin.
Other notable fellows have included Karl Marx, Charles Dickens and Stephen Hawking. Originally the RSA was the parent organisation of London's Royal Academy, and today it still has an interest in art education.
Cyprus College of Art: 2534 1387
In the Sciences
Οn Wednesday, June 15, 2011, the University of Cyprus will be hosting a lecture by the distinguished Cypriot Professor Dr. Eleftherios Ph. Diamandis, honoured in 2010 with the Prize of Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation, known as the Nemitsas Prize, for his significant contributions to the field of Medical Sciences.
The lecture will focus on the thirty years long journey of Professor Diamandis to Science and Medicine, an enlightening journey of multiple perspectives, where the lecturer will share with the audience his experience as a scientist and a doctor, but also as an immigrant. The lecturer will show how strong researchers from Greece and Cyprus can accomplish their targets and distinguish themselves, without losing their identity and culture, in countries with opportunities to excellence.
The lecture is coorganized by the University of Cyprus, the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation and the Cyprus Medical Association. It is the first of Nemitsas Lectures, which aim at bringing to the public´s knowledge the accomplishments of distinguished Cypriots awarded with the NEMITSAS prize who offer, through their dedication and activities, the foremost to mankind.
The lecture will take place in the Main Auditorium of the University of Cyprus, at 75 Kallipoleos street, at 7 p.m. Welcome greetings will be given, on behalf of the coorganizers by Professor Marios Mavronicolas, the Vice – Rector on International Affairs, Finance and Administration at the University of Cyprus and Mr. Takis Nemitsas, the President of the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation, will welcome the lecture. The lecturer will be introduced by Dr. Stavros Stavrou, President of the Medical Association of Nicosia – Keryneia «Hippocrates».
For further information: tel. 22894305/ 25569222 or visit the websites www.ucy.ac.cy, http://www.nemitsasfoundation.org & http://www.cyma.org.cy/cyma.org/index.php