Petra Šobáňová, Vice-Dean of UP Faculty of Education, receives The Edwin Ziegfeld Award

Reproducion: UP Žurnál
Tuesday 13 April 2021, 10:00 – Text: Milada Křížková Hronová

The Annual International Edwin Ziegfeld Award was granted to Petra Šobáňová, Vice-Dean for development and external relations at the Palacký University Faculty of Education. This prestigious award is given out by the United States Society for Education Through Art (USSEA) to distinguished leaders for merit in art education.

The Edwin Ziegfeld Award honours personalities who have made a significant international contribution to the development of art education. “It’s a great honour for me. At the virtual awards ceremony, I thanked not only the International Ziegfeld Award committee but also my colleague Jana Jiroutová, who closely collaborated with me recently in organising an international conference aimed at professional and didactic reflection on the functioning of art education during the pandemic. I was nominated and awarded, among other things, for organising this conference. I believe the award also belongs to my faculty and the Czech Section of InSEA,” said Šobáňová. In the wake of the award, she also received an invitation to be an invited speaker at a conference of the American (USSEA) Society, which is to take place in July.

The only other person in the Czech Republic who has won the Edwin Ziegfeld Award was Jaromír Uždil, a legend of Czech art pedagogy. “Prof Uždil is my unequalled role model. He founded the Czech section of InSEA, an association for art education, which celebrated half a century of existence a few years ago,” added Šobáňová. She personally made efforts to ensure that the tradition founded by Prof Uždil continued. After a several-year hiatus, in 2015 she organised its re-founding conference, where she was elected the society’s chair.

“We have done a great deal of work over the past period. We are preparing educational events for teachers, organising prominent conferences focussed on art education in the Czech Republic, and publishing a periodical as well as specialised literature. We are also actively protesting against the insensitive revisions of the Framework Education Programmes. Last year, we organised an international art educational conference, described by the president of the ʻbig’ InSEA – the International Society for Education through Art – as the event of the year. We managed to attract more than a thousand visitors from all over the world to virtual Olomouc,” added Šobáňová.

According to Ryan Shin, president of the American Society for Education through Art (USSEA), who nominated Šobáňová for the Annual International Edwin Ziegfeld Award, this prestigious award is in good hands. In the nomination letter, he described her internationally acknowledged activities in the field. “Petra Šobáňová’s research spotlights the intersection of theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of art education. As evidenced by many articles, monographs, and book chapters, her research has influenced the development of art education not only in the Czech Republic but also in other countries. Šobáňová’s work is dedicated to art teachers in schools, museums, and community facilities; she has provided both teachers and students with excellent educational models and tools. She collaborates with many art teachers and has contributed to the development of museum pedagogy in the Czech Republic. In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, she also created a website of digital educational resources, One of her latest and most remarkable contributions to art education on the global scale was the creation and organisation of an international virtual conference Art Education in the Time of Coronavirus. At the last year’s conference, approved by InSEA in collaboration with the USSEA, she manifested strong leadership and the vision necessary to gather the voices and experiences of art educators around the world to address the current crisis in the arts. The virtual conference of hers was one of the best organised and structured conferences ever and has become a model for other virtual conferences. Petra Šobáňová’s strong commitment to art education through international collaboration and research projects is of great benefit to our field,” wrote Shin, among others. More information about the award is available here.

UP Žurnál wrote about the conference “Art Education in the Time of Coronavirus, Reflecting on Today, Anticipating Tomorrow”, which took place 12–15 October 2020, here and here (in Czech).


Edwin Ziegfeld – The founder of the International Society for Education through Art and the first president of the National Arts Education Association. His activities were associated with UNESCO since the 1950s. In the 1930s, he was one of the authors of the legendary art education experiment, the Owatonna Art Education Project. In this project, Edwin Ziegfeld decided to change the world and lives of the people of Owatonna, MN, by providing them with art activities that he tried to connect with the everyday life of the community. He thus entered the history of educational reform.

Jaromír Uždil – Czech teacher, poet, and painter. He was one of the leading figures in Czech art education and in the Czech Section of the InSEA (International Society for Education through Art), which he founded and then also led from 1967–1984. The foundation of the then Czechoslovak InSEA Committee was preceded by an exhibition of worldwide children’s art in Prague (U Hybernů gallery), which was prepared in 1964 by Uždil and had great international reception. After this success, he organised the InSEA World Congress (1966) in Prague, at the time an unrivalled event in the field of art education. In 1990, Jaromír Uždil received the USSEA’s International Edwin Ziegfeld Award for his contribution to art education. In memoriam, Jaromír Uždil was awarded The Sir Herbert Read Award, which is given by the global InSEA to acknowledge individuals with the most significant lifetime contributions to art education.


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