Case Study - CHNU & IADT

Student at Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine.
Tone Zone, Institute for Art, Design & Technology Ireland

Institutional and Course Overview:


Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine


Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University is one of the oldest classical universities of Ukraine. It was founded on October 4, 1875 by the decree of the emperor of Austro-Hungary Franz Josef comprising the Faculties of Theology, Philosophy and Law. Nowadays 2 institutes, 10 faculties and a college are functioning at the university. The training of approximately 14 000 students is being carried out at 85 departments. Educational and scientific work is provided by 1208 academic staff members, including 156 Doctors of Sciences, professors, 779 PhDs, associate professors including 4 laureates of State Awards and 1 corresponding member of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine. The University has Ph.D. and Doctorate schools, 11 specialised academic boards for the thesis defence. Teaching staff and students of the university participate in joint scientific programs implemented according to cooperation agreements with leading educational and scientific institutions of the USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, China and other countries.


Department of Decorative, Applied and Fine Art 


The Department of Decorative, Applied and Fine Art was formed in 2017 as a result of the merger of the Department of Decorative and Applied Art and the Department of Fine Art, which were created in 2005 as part of the Faculty of Fine, Decorative and Applied Art. 

The Department trains BA and MA students in the major 023 “Fine Art, Decorative art, Restoration” with the following specialisation areas: fashion design, artistic woodwork, artistic metalwork (jewellery and blacksmithing), artistic painting, artistic textile. The Department of Decorative, Applied and Fine Art plays a significant role in the process of popularising the artistic folk traditions of Bukovyna and modern professional and artistic practices, which are the carriers of the national culture of our state. Expositions of works of fine art and exhibitions of decorative and applied products clearly demonstrate the phenomenon of Ukrainian ethnicity, testify to the high-quality level of art education in the region, highlight the progressive outlook of artists of our time, and provide an opportunity to assess their significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian artistic culture. A clear national orientation, based on the sources of folk creativity, determines the vectors of the development of art education – the affirmation of spiritual ideals, the revival of national and cultural consciousness and the search for new plastic possibilities of image creation in the modern artistic space. 


Fine Art – Department of Decorative, Applied and Fine Art 


The Fine art course reflects reality in visual images, reproduces objectively available properties of the real world: volume, colour, spatiality, material form of an object, light and air environment, etc. Fine art in the totality of its types creates a real picture of human life and nature, and also visually embodies those images that do not exist in reality, which are the result of human imagination. As a result of studying drawing and painting, students acquire the following professional competencies:

  • the ability to form an idea about the essence, types and genres of art, the ability to professionally act in the modern cosmopolitan visual space, as well as assimilation of the system of artistic knowledge;
  • expansion and enrichment of the artistic and aesthetic experience of mastering artistic abilities and skills, the ability for practical artistic activity, increasing professional skills;
  • possessing visual literacy at the level necessary for perception, evaluation, creation of an artistic image and counselling of creative individuals in the process of practical activity;
  • development of general creative abilities, stimulation of imaginative thinking;
  • education of worldviews and valuable artistic orientations, understanding of the connections between art and the natural and material environment, human life, in particular, modern technologies and mass media.

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin, Ireland


The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) was established as an autonomous higher education institution on April 1, 1997, while the former Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design became the School of Creative Arts as part of the entire institution. With the focus on art and design, IADT proved to be a leading institution in higher education specialising in providing practical experience in teaching digital media, arts, and entrepreneurship.

In 2012, its three existing schools were amalgamated to become two Faculties: the Faculty of Enterprise + Humanities, and the Faculty of Film, Art + Creative Technologies, incorporating the National Film School.

Life Drawing for Animation


Life Drawing is a core subject of the animation course at IADT. Life Drawing practice is considered the basis of drawing skill, it is through this practice coupled with Design classes that students are introduced to the traditional core concepts of colour and tone, framing and composition, proportion and form, texture, expression, and mark-making. Animation is a film-making medium and as such all subjects on our course attempt to reinforce methods of storytelling through visual language. The aim of Life Drawing in Animation is not to build a student’s proficiency at generating an accurate or literal visual representation of what they can see; instead, students are encouraged to exaggerate what they see, to push forms and environments to extremes within their work in service of Character and World-building. They are depicting internal forces rather than rendering surface detail. Life Drawing is a basis of research for animation from posing references to examining motion, the classes also serve as a space to experiment with new techniques while honing observational skill. Drawing is usually done at a fast pace, working under the ethos that quantity will lead to quality – low stakes risk taking gradually builds up a return on skill. Students are encouraged to use more of their bodies in drawing class and to become aware of the physical sensations of drawing in certain ways as a method of loosening up drawing style and aiding in expression through drawing, building associations between the feeling while drawing and the resulting marks on the page. 

We most often facilitate Life Drawing with a traditional set up of live model and traditional media such as charcoal/pencil/ink/etc and paper. However, when this is not achievable whether it be due to a lack of appropriate space, or a lack of access as was the case during Covid Lockdowns students are encouraged to work from their own surroundings family/friends/pets/strangers in the park/themselves/etc. We use traditional media not merely “because that is how things are done” but to serve as a direct and accessible way to learn how to make images. Students enter the course with varying levels of prior experience and knowledge of digital drawing software. Oftentimes the software interface can act as a barrier to entry for new users, especially when it can be difficult to attain the desired result without a larger body of knowledge. It is much simpler to use a tool that is familiar to everyone, it is easier to grasp the idea of there not being a “wrong” way to use a piece of charcoal or a pencil than there not being a “wrong” way to use a piece of software that you are unfamiliar with and as a result students will generally be more comfortable with experimenting. (That is not to say that digital media is forbidden from life drawing, if a student wishes to work digitally in life drawing that is encouraged as a supplemental medium.)

Introduction to Pairing:


This case study pairing was informed by each partner having and teaching a traditional practice. While the purposes of our shared practice differed, ChNU & IADT partners found they had many similarities in their approaches to student centred learning. There was a mutual curiosity in how VR and immersive technologies could benefit students of traditional practices with no prior VR experience.

Within the BA and MA program “Fine Art, Decorative Art, Restoration” at Chernivtsi National University, students are given an opportunity to choose the specialisation in fine art, which requires the in-depth study of drawing, painting, plastic anatomy. The corresponding specialised disciplines require understanding of three-dimensional geometry with consideration of light factors affecting objects. Due to many conditions and individual perception, students often struggle to embrace the concepts of three-dimensional geometry when working on projects in the fine art disciplines. It is one of the core concepts and thus demands thorough analysis and mastery.

It proved to be even more challenging for students to acquire knowledge in three-dimensional geometry and apply it in practice during the pandemic, as the learning process was reduced to a virtual learning environment, where students were forced to master the majority of techniques independently at home due to Covid restrictions. This has been exacerbated by the recent drastic events and Russian invasion of Ukraine. As a result, students had to return to online learning again, which created new difficulties in mastering practical disciplines. Therefore, it was decided to explore the facilitation of teaching three-dimensional geometry with the use of AR/VR, as this would allow us to connect the virtual and practical worlds, and provide a wider range of opportunities for students to apply their skills and get a better understanding of concepts.

At the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, students of Life Drawing and Animation need to develop an understanding of the underlying concepts of tone and how to use light and shade in a composition, to provide essential skills for world-building and visual storytelling in animation and illustration. Therefore we set out to develop the ‘Tone Zone’ a custom gallery space made with the intention of aiding revision of the principles of tone in drawing and design. The Tone Zone is a custom gallery space made with the intention of aiding revision of the principles of tone in drawing and design. Understanding the underlying concepts of tone or how to use light and shade in a composition is essential to world-building and visual storytelling in animation and illustration

Case Study:

Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine, and

Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Ireland.


Authors: Oleksandr Toloshniak, Nataliia Hatezh, and Aoife Balfe. Translation by Valeriia Saftiuk.

Subjects:  BA (Hons) Fine Art, Department of Decorative, Applied and Fine Art, CHnu Ukraine, and BA (Hons) Life Drawing for Animation, IADT

Title: Virtual Reality as a Teaching and Learning space; An exploration of VR technology to facilitate life drawing, subject revision, and three-dimensional geometry skills. 

Aim: To investigate if immersive technology can become a viable solution to support the teaching of creative disciplines remotely.  To explore the advantages and disadvantages to teaching using VR as alternative educational ‘revision’ space, and in the teaching of three-dimensional geometry. To expand the technological skill set of students in painting and drawing. 

Overview: This case study provides a student focused approach with reflection from experienced artist tutors in Fine art and life drawing for Animation.  The case study shares important subject specific insight and valuable user experiences. It identifies student needs, and how VR could be used to enhance learning and teaching of these specialist subjects. It provides examples of session planning and application. Staff and students’ experiences are documented in evaluations and questionnaires evidencing the importance of a hybrid approach to teaching these subjects to enhance and expand student learning. Outcomes include the production of a Frame VR space ‘Tone Zone’ , a custom gallery space created to support the revision of tone principles in life drawing, and an exhibition space of three-dimensional geometry outcomes created by students. It includes useful user experiences about working collaboratively in Gravity Sketch and Frame VR, and shares reflections on working with staff and students with very little to no experience of VR. This case study also includes an important user review of GestureVR, a life drawing program, by an experienced artist tutor. 

Immersive Technology discussed: Frame VR, Gravity Sketch, Blender, GestureVR

Participants: BA Students with Chernivtsi ALSA’s Accessible Learning Student Ambassadors

Editorial note: This case study reflects the impact of War on teaching and learning of Art & Design subjects. 

Download IADT & CHNU CASE STUDY – PDF document