Creativity from Vienna to the World is an online project that includes lectures, a blog and an online exhibition. It connects aspects of design and women’s history, pedagogy, migration history and cultural transfer to trace the achievements of migrant women designers who moved to the United States from Central Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. More specifically, the project addresses how ideas related to design and pedagogy consolidated in Central Europe were developed by women designers who had successful second careers in the United States, such as Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, Hilda Jesser-Schmid, Vally Wieselthier and Lisl Weil. It also interrogates dissemination through travelling exhibitions such as that of Franz Čizek’s female dominated art class, which toured the USA in 1923/24, publications like Zweybrück-Prohaska’s Stencil Book (1937), pedagogical activities such as Erika Giovanna Klien’s teachings at the Dalton School, as well as the founding of successful businesses like Liane Zimbler’s architecture firm in Los Angeles. By shedding light on the transatlantic connections that represented an important aspect in the careers of many women designers, the project aims to establish an accessible, critical record of the modernisation and development of women-led design and pedagogic practice in the nexus of Austrian-American exchange.

Creativity from Vienna to the World is a collaborative online project led by Professor Megan Brandow-Faller (City University of New York) and Dr Julia Secklehner (Masaryk University, Brno), sponsored by an event grant from the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIAAS) and supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum (Washington D.C.).

Photo of Professor Megan Brandow-Faller

Megan Brandow-Faller

Megan Brandow-Faller is Professor of History at the City University of New York  Kingsborough and also teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on art and design in Secessionist and interwar Vienna, including children’s art and artistic toys of the Vienna Secession; expressionist ceramics of the Wiener Werkstätte; folk art and modernism; and women’s art education. She is the editor of Childhood by Design: Toys and the Material Culture of Childhood, 1700-present (Bloomsbury 2018) and the author of The Female Secession: Art and the Decorative at the Viennese Women’s Academy (Penn State University Press, 2020) and co-editor (with Laura Morowitz) of Erasures and Eradications in Modern Viennese Art Architecture and Design (Routledge, 2022). Brandow-Faller contributed two catalogue essays for the retrospective exhibition Die Frauen der Wiener Werkstätte at Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts (2021). Her newest project focuses on the dissemination and popularization of Secessionist ideas of child creativity in postwar America.
Photo of Dr. Julia Secklehner

Julia Secklehner

Julia Secklehner is Research Fellow in Art History at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. She specialises in modern art in central Europe with a particular interest in cultural production in and about ‘peripheries’, questions of gender and minority representation. Her current research is focused on modernism beyond the metropolis in interwar Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary and is part of the collaborative project Continuity / Rupture: Art and Architecture in Central Europe, 1918-1939 (CRAACE), funded by the European Research Council. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Art East Central and her recent publications include contributions to Periodization in the Art Historiographies of Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2022), Erasures and Eradications in Modern Viennese Art Architecture and Design (Routledge, 2022), Austrian Studies and The Austrian History Yearbook.