Johanna is an independent advisor in visual arts. Her area of expertise comprises aspects of visual communication, focusing on facilitating interpersonal communication and the stimulation of cultural connection and integration. She has extensive experience in the world of art and design in North America, Europe, and in Asia. She cares about bringing university education to refugees.
Dr. Johanna Fassl designed, established, and directed Columbia University’s academic program and study center “Casa Muraro” in Venice, which she still oversees as a member of the advisory board. The program is an interdisciplinary curriculum that connects art history with literature, as well as architecture, the social sciences, studies in conservation and building bridges between the past and current issues around sustainability and cultural heritage. Today, she is Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Communication at Franklin University (FUS), Switzerland where she also serves as a faculty advisor to the Board of Trustees. Recently, she founded “Scholarships Without Borders,” a program at FUS that grants full scholarships and extensive academic and personal support to qualified refugee students to follow university studies towards their BA degree.
Johanna is involved in research, curatorial, and editorial work, for which she has received grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Her methodological approach stems from a rigorous visual analysis as the basis for the investigation of the mental processes underpinning the creation and appreciation of art. Her current project focus is on an exhibition and documentary film project featuring the work of artists who served as soldiers in the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. It takes an interdisciplinary approach between art, neurology, and psychology and studies how soldiers from all sides of the conflicts see war, how the memory from the combat zone is projected, and how these recollections are then represented and transformed in painting and photography.
Dr. Fassl holds a diploma in Interior and Product Design, and an MA and PhD in art history with distinction from Columbia University. She grew up in Munich and speaks German, English and Italian with mother tongue fluency and is also fluent in French. An avid athlete, Dr. Fassl is a nationally accredited ski instructor with special training to teach and guide visually impaired and blind skiers. She currently lives in Lugano, Switzerland.