A university today is more than just obtaining a profession. It is an educational environment that immerses a person in the field of modern theories and practices.
Our program is based on the idea that education is not just about direct transfer of information from one person to another, because knowledge and information are different.
Having rejected the idea of direct transfer of information, we embark upon an extremely engaging journey of creating an educational environment. We immediately understand that there are no rules according to which this environment should be created. We can come to the process of immersion in this environment only by experimenting.
A question arises before us: how can one person communicate with another so that a kind of educational spark would burn up?
Here is where the process of creating the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences begins.
Those are practical seminars with field supervisors.
Sound studies – classes in our sound studio (not in a recording studio, although it also exists, but in a sound studio), which can give a person different work tools to work with both recording and sound reproduction, and an ability to create their own projects.
Moscow School of New Literature – writing and analysis of various texts, slow reading and discussion of books.
Classics studies – a wide linguistic program and translations, which are necessary to be able to perceive the heritage of European culture broadly.
Management in art and culture – focus on curatorial practices and theory, research seminars and classes on academic writing, since the connection of these fields is necessary for more and more interesting projects in the field of art to appear.
Lacanian psychoanalysis – analysis and discussion of cases from clinical practice
What is the novelty of our approach? We do not set strict requirements to most of our teachers. We believe that the teacher plays a very special role: he does not just pass the knowledge on, he becomes a person’s guide, a “medium” who connects a person with culture, sound, management etc. He cannot transmit knowledge in an authoritarian way.
Inviting the leading teachers, we assume that these are the people who will give a certain perspective, a new viewpoint.
The value of such an approach is that the student not only receives a synopsis, but also certain milestones, according to which he will be able to develop within the humanitarian field. It is very important not only to read a book, but also to understand which books should be read further in order to find answers to questions or build up certain expertise.
We are developing an innovation at ILAS MIU: we understand that knowledge is not directly transmitted. If this were the case, over the years the mankind would have learned to fight hunger, war, cold and so on. This is a kind of indirect story.
Our goal is to make it so that the student who comes to us changes his life.
So that something happens with him. Meeting the student at point A, we have to understand who he will be in point B. We must work not with the knowledge we immerse into him, but with himself — with his fingers, eyes, intuition, intellectual system, moral system, ethical and mental systems.
Working with a person means teaching him to differ truth from lie, teaching the fact that at a certain age a person faces the loss of loved ones and with other life events, but he must stand through them. This is what a university really needs to prepare for. It must prepare a person to interact with fate.
Humanitarian sphere consists of constantly created thought patterns, being an endless carpet of the European culture which people are weaving in time and which allows us to constantly revisit the past — with new interpretations and new vision.
What is a canon? It is not just a read list.
A canon is a guiding thread, which allows us to create new patterns in our culture: “Ulysses”, the greatest book of the 20th century, is an interpretation of the ancient Greek poem by Homer; Lars von Trier refers to Dante’s Divine Comedy in his films, and Andy Warhol endlessly prints Mona Lisa.
This is exactly why we collected the canons for our students in different areas of study: