Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design (ARUCAD) began the 2023-2024 Academic Year with a lecture titled “The Power of Exploring Stories” by renowned director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Derviş Zaim, following the opening speech by ARUCAD Rector, Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi. Zaim, an important artist and director hailing from Cyprus, delivered the first lecture guiding students in discovering the power of stories.
The opening lecture for the 2023-2024 Academic Year took place on Wednesday, November 1, in the University’s Conference Hall, and was attended by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sinan Arkın, Rector Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi, Vice Rectors, academics, and students.
In his opening speech, ARUCAD Rector, Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi, began by saying, “First of all, I wish all of us a successful and healthy academic year. Hosting Assoc. Prof. Dr. Derviş Zaim, one of the esteemed artists raised in these lands, at ARUCAD is a great privilege and a source of happiness for all of us.” Vehbi provided the following information about the growing and developing university: “ARUCAD was founded in 2017 as the only university in the region focused on art, design, and communication. While aiming to be the place where our students can realise their dreams, it was our duty to fulfil these words. At the same time, preserving our country’s nature, history, and culture and bringing the global and the local together were important goals for us. As we enter our sixth year, with 1,100 students, working alongside students and academics from 55 different countries, we have taken great care to balance the quality of education with technical and practical courses. We have introduced our galleries, Lifelong Learning Center, exhibitions, and events to our region’s artists, students, and the public. We started our journey in 2017 with 3 faculties and 5 departments, and in the 2023-2024 Academic Year, we continue with 4 faculties, 16 undergraduate, 1 associate degree, 3 graduate, and 3 doctoral programmes, totalling 23 departments. While we had 33 academics in 2017, this year we have 86 academics from 53 different countries. We started our educational journey with 35 students and now continue with 1,100 students. With our aim of one academic for every 12 students, we are progressing with the goal of becoming a globally recognised university. While we work to further develop our university, our wish is to have a healthy and successful year and to work even harder to move forward together.”
Following Rector Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi’s speech, the opening lecture titled, “The Power of Exploring Stories”, by director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Derviş Zaim began. Zaim, who gained numerous awards with his first feature film, “Tabutta Rövaşata” (“Somersault in a Coffin”), which he wrote and directed in 1996, and his other films such as “Filler ve Çimen” ( “Elephants and Grass”),(2000), “Cenneti Beklerken”( “Waiting for Heaven”), (2006), “Nokta” (Dot) (2008), and “Gölgeler ve Suretler” ( “Shadows and Faces”) (2011), that participated in festivals and won awards.
“TO WEAVE OUR FUTURE AND REPRESENT OUR PAST, WE FIRST NEED TO TELL OUR STORIES”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Derviş Zaim began his opening lecture by wishing a healthy academic year to all ARUCAD students and faculty members, and he continued, “I would like to begin our lecture on the “Power of Stories” by first making a short reference to Winnie the Pooh, an animated movie. In one scene I watched, it said, “We didn’t realise we were making memories, we were just having fun.” This short sentence greatly affected me because it completely conveyed the power and emotion of creating a story and being in a story. You need to be able to tell the story of what you have done and experienced, whether it’s about building an airplane or going to space. If you can’t narrate what you’ve done, it can’t be a part of you, and it doesn’t belong to you. To weave our future and represent our past, we first need to tell our stories. For example, to narrate the discovery of America in the 19th century, you need a story like Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick.’ Humanity has been telling stories for 5,000 years. In the story you tell, you need to deal with crises and work on narration. In the first act, the order is disrupted, the golden age is destroyed; in the second act, the struggle begins; and in the third act, the golden age is reestablished.”
Zaim stated, “Creating a good story requires simplicity, a humane approach, and dedication, and the most important source of this is the character. For example, in my film ‘The Play,’ I wanted to tell the story of a thief I knew. This thief stole cars at night and returned them during the day. I found this very interesting, and I wanted to pursue this story. In addition, my film ‘Elephants and Grass’ emerged from a photo I saw during the Susurluk incident, and as you know, ‘Shadows and Faces’ was a story I created based on the reflections of an event that I learned had happened in a village in Cyprus in 1963. Another important feature of stories is that they avoid providing information. The desire to provide information makes you rhetorical and sloganise, which is a very dangerous area. Storytelling is similar to building a house; you need to construct it. In the first act, you describe the house, in the second act, you light the fire in the fireplace, and in the third act, you restore balance. In these three acts, people expect everything to be resolved, to achieve satisfaction in the next part, and to fill in the missing pieces.”
Zaim concluded his lecture by saying, “Stories actually tell us things we don’t know and make us notice them. Through virtue and ethics, they prompt us to think about these things. If there is to be communication between societies, it will be through telling and understanding each other that we don’t know, rather than what we know.”
Following the opening lecture, director Derviş Zaim answered questions from the audience. After the Q&A session, ARUCAD Board of Trustees Chairman Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sinan Arkın and President Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi presented Zaim with a handcrafted artwork and a certificate of appreciation in memory of the day.