Department History

The present structure of the department is the result of many changes in the fields of film and theatre studies, to which the mediums of television and radio have recently been added. Interdisciplinarity has always been a fundamental feature of the Olomouc department, distinguishing it from the more narrowly focused departments of theatre and film studies in Brno and Prague.

During the 1960s, the Department of Czech Language and Literature at Palacky University was increasingly populated by young educators whose professional interest extended beyond the confines of literature into an interdisciplinary relationship with film, theatre and radio: Eduard Petrů, Jiří Stýskal, and Alena Štěrbová. They also contributed to the founding and organization of the first annual Academia Film Olomouc festival. These interests and endeavours eventually led to the establishment of Czech-Fine Arts studies, which was taught by both art historians (František Dvořák, Václav Zykmund, Alena Nádvorníková etc.) and musicologists (Robert Smetana, Vladimír Hudec etc.). The first class was held in the 1968/69 study year. Two years later, two specializations were added: literature, theatre and film, alongside fine arts; in the following years a third section focused on musicology was formed.

The new field of Fine Arts studies failed to survive the adverse conditions of normalization. In 1978, the Fine Arts specialization was administratively cancelled, and in 1980 the departments of art theory and musicology were closed. Fine arts studies were incorporated into the study of Culture Theory, which was completely subordinated to the ideological needs of the time.

After the revolution in November 1989, the idea of restoring fine arts studies soon became a priority for the new leadership of both the faculty and the entire university. The proposal was submitted by theatre historian Jiří Stýskal in January 1990, and by the holiday break in 1990 the Department of Art Sciences was established, and the doors of the university were opened to students in the fields of literature, theatre, film, fine arts and music. Students who had been enrolled in Culture Theory were able to choose one of these specializations and complete their studies at the new department.

The Department of Art Sciences found its first home in the premises of a former canonry after the closure of the Regional Art Gallery on Wurmova street. Its first head, Jiří Stýskal, promptly submitted a proposal to divide the Department of Art Sciences into three distinct departments: consequently, from 1 September 1992 (alongside the Department of Art History and Department of Musicology) the Department of the Theory and History of Dramatic Arts was formed, which offered study specializations in theory and history of the dramatic arts, theatre science, film science, and initially literary science as well.

In the autumn of 2002, the department moved to the adapted premises of the former Jesuit College in Univerzitní street and became part of the UP Arts Centre, with excellent, state-of-the-art facilities for students of theatre and film. In 2014, it changed its name to the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, which better describes the character and range of tuition offered at the Arts Centre. Television and radio studies were added to the range of courses available in 2015, offered by the department as a unique study combination, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. The heads of the department were, in order, Jiří Stýskal (1992–1994), Jiří Štefanides (1994–2002), Luboš Ptáček (2002–2006), again Jiří Štefanides (2006–2014) and Jakub Korda (2014–present). The department has produced a high quantity of outstanding graduates, who maintain contact with their alma mater to this day as well as directly contribute in various ways.