About VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar"

Creativity as a way of life...

Interview with Assoc. Prof. Kapka Manasieva, PhD - Head of the Department of Arts, Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" for OfflineMagazine


Do the creative industries in Bulgaria have a future?


I am personally optimistic because I am sure that the students who study at Varna Free University and in particular at the Department of Arts have the potential to be among the drivers of the creative industries in our country. They are talented and have the energy that is needed to create beauty and to share it, and areas such as music, visual and performing arts, computer games, publishing, digital media, fashion, advertising and design make this possible. It is no accident that the motto of this year's campaign is "Professions for the Future". It may sound far-fetched, but at university there is an understanding that the higher education system can be flexible and adaptable to the needs of a dynamically changing modern environment. What is more, there are results. Our alumni achieve success globally with their creativity.  


If I have to go back to the creative industries, at European level, it is increasingly being talked

about European policies that promote creative growth. An EU report on European competitiveness states that "Creative industries are not only innovative in themselves but also important drivers of innovation in non-creative industries." Co-operation projects are supported to enable all European regions to benefit from the exchange of experience. In this sense, Bulgaria can not remain isolated. And creativity is not alien to the Bulgarian. I speak of creativity in all its forms - art, creativity, crafts, innovative solutions, creativity as a way of life.


Is it possible for someone to learn how to creative?

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it over," says the great Albert Einstein. The very fact that someone chooses higher education in the field of arts already means that he/she carries a particle of creativity. Our job as lecturers is to stimulate and develop the creativity of each of our students, to encourage talents and support them, to give them the full range of knowledge, skills and competences that will guarantee them a successful career. By creating conditions, through formal and non-formal education, we develop thinking and therefore new products or services are born, values ​​are created, innovative ideas are being developed with practical application.

To what extent education is crucial for the realization of one person, especially in the field of arts?

The acquired theoretical and applied knowledge develop the talent of young people and thus prepares them for a successful career in the cultural and creative industries. They open wide horizons for development in professions that we now call "professions of the future." The training in specialties such as Fashion Design, Choreography, Arts and Event Management, Performing Arts, Management and Producing makes this happen.


Today the acquisition of new knowledge is becoming a permanent process. We need to learn,  "to learn throughout our lives". The dynamics of the environment can lead a person who has chosen a certain sphere of development at the beginning of his way to a completely different field of expression.

Art education encourages young people to be flexible, innovative and apply the lessons learned in different fields, to be enterprising, and the products and services they create are a bridge between the traditional and innovative avant-garde, between the craft and technology, between the real and the virtual environment. In this sense, a person with a degree in Fashion Design, for example, can lead an IT company, create his/her own brand, write, find talents, work successfully on social projects ...

What motivates you in your work?

Students’ success, of course. This is the best attestation for the work of a lecturer. You know, even this word – lecturer no longer expresses what is behind our work. Today we are trying to be facilitators, mentors, to get out of the purely formal teaching of theoretical knowledge and work in the field of creativity and entrepreneurship. When we have taught students to solve problems, not just focused on something physical but oriented towards processes and the whole complex system of interconnections in the fashion industry, for example, it means that our work makes sense.

When students return to the University, they feel the need to continue, to upgrade their knowledge and skills that means we are going in the right direction. Moreover, we learn together with them.


Blitz "twoinone"



Desislava Fileva, graduate of Fashion and Fashion Management at Varna Free University, winner of the "I will Learn and Succeed in Bulgaria" scholarship 2013



Paulina Bozhilova, graduate of Choreography and an MA in Choreography Stage Production and Arts Management at Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar"


What does education mean to you?


Desislava Fileva:Education is the way to self-empowerment. The time spent at the university helped me become more confident and more complete as a person. I learned to adapt quickly to stress and create relationships in the environment in which I choose to pursue a career.


Paulina Bozhilova: Necessity for every purposeful young person. Education creates personalities. For me, it is an invaluable investment for life. I made the right choice by choosing Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar". There I received my bachelor’s degree in Choreography - Bulgarian folk dances with professional qualification Choreographer-Pedagogue and my master’s degree in Stage Arts, Management and Producing. During my studies I had the opportunity to work with outstanding people, professionals in music and dance art such as Prof. Petar Angelov, Assoc. Prof. Maria Kardzhieva, PhD, Asst.Prof. Ivaylo Ivanov, Prof. Konstantin Kukushev, Assoc. Prof. Katya Kayryakova and many others. Thanks to them, I enriched, developed and constantly upgraded my knowledge and experience.


What are you working now?


Desislava Filleva: I have just finished with my last and most important examination - the jury - and I think I will make a short break. The defence of a collection in front of professionals gives a lot of adrenaline and constructive criticism, I was lucky to take the second place. I am looking forward to seeing the fashion show and the end result.


Paulina Bozhilova: I work at the National School of Humanities and Arts "Konstantin Preslavski" in Varna as a teacher of Bulgarian folk dances and characteristic exercise. At the same time, I am a coach of amateur dancers in the Ogledaloto club.


What is your biggest success?


Desislava Filleva: Hmm, success is a subjective notion ... The fact that my work was appreciated at a high level brings me joy. After the success in my home country, the time spent abroad brought me the first place in the Echiquier Mode competition, which took place in Liege, Belgium. I won the Wallonie Brussels Design Mode Award. I met a lot of journalists and creative directors. Fashion is a very abstract concept. The assessment is always subjective, but the feeling of being the first in a foreign territory where competition is much fiercer is wonderful.


Paulina Bozhilova: During my studies I was part of the Academic Dance Theater. With the help of my lecturers I became a professional dancer, but my biggest success was the main role in the unique musical and dance drama "You, Red Wine" directed by Prof. Petar Angelov. There followed other appearances in his productions, as well as in my colleagues' projects. Being a soloist at the Academic Dance Theater for me was the most significant success as an artist-performer. After my graduation I had the opportunity to find a job in my specialty and to be on the other side ... to be an artist, choreographer and pedagogue. As such, I see my personal success daily in the work of my students. There are a lot of prizes won at national competitions and contests, but their personal growth and development as performers makes me really happy and makes me feel successful in my work.


Do you feel successful?


Desislava Filleva: If you feel successful, it means that you have lost something, so you have stopped developing. I personally feel happy at moments when the picture before my eyes is clear and I know where I am heading for, when what I am doing I intuitively feel is right. But these are transient moments that do not last long. Success comes and goes, the important thing for me is not to lose myself. To rediscover myself each day.  


Paulina Bozhilova: Of course I feel successful. I am 24 years old, my passion is my profession and hobby. Few have this opportunity. Yet I do not stop perfecting myself both as an artist and a choreographer, because success leads to a new goal. I feel highly appreciated by both my lecturers and my students. Yes, definitely I have succeeded.


What are you dreaming about?


Desislava Filleva: I have been dreaming a lot lately! I have the luck and the will that what I do is followed by concrete actions and I somehow manage to attract the right people and tools that I need to project and implement my intentions. It is important to stay focused on yourself, to be a magnet. I just want to keep my freedom as an artist and I can materialize the vision I have for myself.


Paulina Bozhilova: The young artist needs an opportunity for self-expression to show their abilities. My dream is to create my own school to show the music-dance art through my eyes and sensation.


by ВСУ Черноризец Храбър