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Diana Bychkova

Formal Education

WES Educational Credential Assessment, Canadian Equivalency Summary: Two master’s degrees of Fine Arts (specialization in bookmaking and restoration).

2014—2018 PhD in progress, Western University Ontario, the program of Comparative Literature. I am writing now the thesis in interdisciplinary studies: on the history of bookmaking, literature and pictures. The graduation is expected in August 2018.

2004—2007 Master of Fine Arts (with dissertation), graphics faculty, Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy. Specialization of graphic arts for publishing. Thesis on the fantastic elements in medieval book art.

2002—2003 Master of Fine Arts (with dissertation), faculty of book and graphic art, Kiev Academy of Arts, Kiev, Ukraine. Thesis on Intermediality between literary and visual images.

1996—2002 Bachelor diploma of Fine Arts (6-year program, with the thesis defence). Faculty of book graphics and bindings, National Academy of the Fine Arts and Architecture, Kiev, Ukraine. Specialization in bookmaking and book restoration.


Specialization Certificates or Courses

2010 Post Graduate Specialization Certificate (Master in Publishing), Catholic University (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), Milan, Italy. I was taught the history of publishing (from the first European publishers to modern ones), editorial principles of book production, typography, editing, etc.

2007 Certificate of Course Attendance, The Spanish ancient book, University of Pavia, Italy. This course was taught by librarians and archivists from Spain, Portugal and Italy, who also teach library sciences at the universities.

1999—2000 attended out-of-course Cinematographic Faculty, Kiev, Ukraine. Courses in screenwriting and camera operator, which included fundamentals of photo-making (lighting, composition, movement, etc.) 

1984—1996 attended 12-year program at Children’s Art School.


At the university in Kiev, during integrated Bachelor's (6-year full-time) and Master's (1-year full-time) programs in applied book and graphic arts, I had an equal amount of study hours in both practical aspects of bookmaking (every morning) and the history of arts (every afternoon). I had received the systematic training in the following subjects:

• Binding and book restoration was my specialization in bookmaking: techniques (from ancient to modern) and cover design principles: 3 hours/day, 3 days/week, 3 years,

• Illustration and book layout for different literary genres: 3 hours/day, 3 days/week, 3 years (the 1st year was devoted to illustrating novels and stories, the 2nd year I studied the principles of illustrating poems and symbolic texts, and the 3rd year I studied the illustration for children). 

• Printing techniques: 3 hours/day, 3 days/week, 4 years + a lot of homework (1-year linocut, 1-year xylography, 1-year etching, and 1-year lithography). 

• Calligraphy and font design: 3 hours/day, 2 days/week, 3 years, 

As well as Drawing (traditional techniques), Painting techniques, Visual composition principles (historical and modern), etc.

I have always combined applied arts with research, and such an approach has become a part of my artistic philosophy. As evidenced by my diplomas, I have attended in total about 3000 hours of compulsory classes in Art History and Aesthetics, passed theoretical exams and wrote theses.


Software that I use (approx. since 2002) 

Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Photo Studio, (to create, correct and convert digital files, photos, promotional materials)

Quark Xpress (to design layout of catalogs, books and other printed editions)

Microsoft programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

FileMaker (to create and manage a database or digital collection of descriptions and images)

Websites and blogs development, on such servers as WordPress.com, Blogspot.com, Joomla etc.  

I have also some basic knowledge of Dublin Core, its implementation in XML, and AtoM standards.


Languages other than English

Russian and Ukrainian: native tongue.

Italian: near native.

French: intermediate reading knowledge.

Reading knowledge of Church Slavonic (medieval), Bulgarian and Serbian. 



Work Experience 

Sept. 2016 – present: I have been working at the Archives and Research Collection Center, Western University Ontario, in the part-time position of a research assistant. I have selected books from different collections, cataloged and described them. 



2014—2016 Teaching Assistant at the University of Western Ontario: classes and tutorials for the course of the Italian language

2012 – taught the courses of Art Book (illustration, engraving, calligraphy and bookbinding design) for students and professionals, at the Museum of Printing Art, Lodi, Italy: 1) Basic course, 2) Advanced course

2010 – 2011 organized and conducted the School of Art for children. Milan, Italy.

2001—2002 teacher of Fine Arts, a middle school in Kiev, Ukraine.


Communication, Customer service skills, Exhibitions

I attended on regular basis the book and typography fairs in Bologna, Torino, Frankfurt am Main, Moscow, where I arranged expositions and presented the products:  

2014 – The Toronto Book Fair, Canada 

2011 – The Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany  

2004 – 2012 The Bologna Children's Book Fair, Italy 

2004 – 2012 The International Book Fair of Torino, Italy 

2002, 2003, 2010 – The Moscow International Book Fair, Russia  

I have the experience of arranging exchange-exhibitions between different countries. I developed a part of such a program, selected artworks, planned each step, created/designed catalogs, sent invitation cards, took care of the permissions from the Ministry of Culture, packaged artworks, followed the entire process of transportation, framed and presented art books in an exhibition. 

I worked out detailed plans for each of my trips to the archives. This included: to sort historical information, to search in the library catalogues what and where I need to do, to contact libraries and museums to arrange appointments, to schedule the trips between many cities with several steps, to find kind/cost of transportation and dormitories, to book everything in a way that the schedules connect well, and to prepare every little detail about places. 

The combination of such skills can be used for different purposes, like the exhibition projects in their entirety (from planning to promoting, to making catalogs and to exhibiting objects) or interlibrary projects (like a temporary exchange of books for exhibitions or educational purposes and so on).   

Thanks to such experiences, I use to work independently on complex projects, but always in close cooperation with different professionals or institutions. 


Work with the manuscripts

I have an extensive experience of working with the manuscripts, since my first bachelor thesis in 2002. I traveled to the library in Moscow to work with M. Bulgakov’s manuscripts. In 2015 and 2017, I won the Graduate Thesis Research Awards (Western University Ontario) that funded travel expenses of my trips “back to Byzantium”, during which I visited 5 countries (Italy, Balkans, Turkey) and worked with the medieval manuscripts in the libraries and archives.

I know the history of handwriting and bookmaking, and I am able to do research and identify the period, style, provenience of the manuscripts or printed materials. 


Management of collections/ Description

From the experiences that I gained during my work at the Archives of Western University, as well as the education and other jobs, I am able to develop an extensive research project, to study and to describe documents, books or other materials from a collection, to create and manage a database on a website, which can be integrated in a large data store on specialized platforms.


Experience in analyzing financial/ statistical data and in recording personal documents  

            I like keeping in order the financial and statistical records of each project, and I extremely accurate at collecting data and ‘archiving’ each step of work. I did an accountant for the editorial/artistic projects: I had to make a balance between the costs of good paper, zinc plates, other materials, translations, printing of high quality, services by other freelancers who had to be involved into projects, and to budget such costs to the needs of my clients. In other words, to maximize the product’s value and minimize its cost. 

            I created for my clients the records, related to each book project, and kept them well-systematized. This included: tables with dates/descriptions of each stage/cost of work, contact information and documentation about the competences/services + costs of the freelancers (translators, editors, artists) or companies (print shops, bookshops) that were involved in the process, as well as the correspondence of all the period of work, invoices/tax receipts of the purchases or services, sorted by dates and names. 

           I created and kept the archival information for the clients about their art projects, folded and sorted by their thematic or technical aspects and documentation, such as past exhibitions, publications in the catalogs, correspondence, promotional materials. 

           Such an experience allows me to offer records management services of any type, such as creating records, storing people’s personal documents or company’s records of their work processes, documentation etc.


Art, craft and publishing work

2014—2016 TA for the Italian program at the Western University: I created different promotional posters and media projects to promote the cultural and educative events.    

2004—2014, I worked as a bookmaker in the publishing industry for a decade; my tasks often included not only to create pictures or graphic design for books. I took control over the complicated process of book production: I worked with the translators and editors, I created the book layout, cover design, illustrations, pre-press preparation, I worked together with the print shops to make sure that each detail of book is produced as I need. And I distributed these books through specialized bookshops, galleries, art fairs, schools, libraries. I built a wide network of customers (libraries, schools, and publishers), I managed the mailing lists, updated the information about printed books or journals, created and mailed promotional posters and postcards, and so on.

2004 – 2014 my primary responsibilities as a bookmaker included the following: I created high-quality products and offered services for companies and private clients in Italy. Handmade work: Book conservation and restoration, illustrations, projects of art books, hand printing of etchings and xylography, publications of limited edition, calligraphy, bindings, ex-libris etc. Computer work: illustrations, advertisement, logo, graphic design, layout for books and catalogs.

2012—2014 cooperation with the Georgian Union of calligraphers on some publishing projects 

2010—2014 I took part in a project that aimed to create a database and to catalog the handmade books, limited editions and prints.

2006—2013 cooperation with the atelier of traditional printing by Giorgio Upiglio Stampatore (Milan, Italy), where original artworks were printed (etching, xylography, lithography), art books with etchings, engravings, calligraphy and bookbinding produced; as well as typography projects.

2008 – founded DS Art Studio.

2005—2007 distance co-operation with European and Arabic publishing houses, as an illustrator.

2004—2007 illustrator for periodic projects, publishing house Immedia Group, Milan, Italy.

2002—2004 worked as a freelancer for publishing houses in Kiev (Ukraine) and Moscow (Russia): layout and graphic illustrator, 2D texturing for computer games, advertisement, graphics, bookbinder, calligrapher.



2010 – Present: member of Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy, Moscow (Russia).

2012 – Jury on the graphic competition “Gruppo Cesare Frigerio”, Corsico, Italy.



2017, 27-29 April - International and Interdisciplinary Conference "Letters", Varna, Bulgaria. 

2010 – presented a paper on the methods of translation of a literary image into a visual illustration, at the International Festival of Calligraphy, Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy, Veliky Novgorod, Russia. 



2017—won the Graduate Thesis Research Award (Western University Ontario)

2015 – won the Graduate Thesis Research Award (Western University Ontario) that funded travel expenses of my trip “back to Byzantium”, during which I visited 5 countries and studied the medieval manuscripts in the libraries and archives.

2012 – awarded at the competition Lingua Madre (native language) for an art photo, Torino, Italy.

2010 – won a gold medal and personal exhibition at the Graphic’s Competition “Cesare Frigerio”, Corsico, Italy.

2010 – won First Prix for an art book “Silence” at the International Competition Book of Art Robert Beltz, Soultz (France), - see under the year 2010. The results of exhibition were published in the magazine Bulletin de l’Association des Amis de Robert Beltz, Soultz, № 5, 2010, p. 16-19.

2010 – awarded with a diploma at the International Exhibition “Image of Book”, at the book fair in Moscow, Russia.

2010 – awarded with a diploma at the International Festival of Calligraphy, Velikiy Novgorod, Russia. A copy of the art book has been displayed in the Museum of Calligraphy in Moscow, Russia. Further link

2008 – won an etching award “Sandro e Marialuisa Angelini, Bergamo, Italy. A copy of the etching “The residence of Silence” joined the collection at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art Academy of Carrara.

2005 – winner of the gold-silver medal “Cesare Frigerio”, Corsico, under the category “for the shown imagination and lighting execution of drawings in pencil technique”.


Exhibitions granted on a selective basis

2014 – participated in an exhibition “Libri d’artista e stampa originale” (books of Art and Original Printing), Modena, Italy.

2013 - Biennale “Designer bookbinders international competition,”+ publication in the catalogue, Oxford, UK.


2011–the exhibition UNESCO celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of a poet and writer Vazha Pshavela, Tbilisi, Georgia.

2011 – the exhibition “Diario d’artista”, Luino e Milano.

2011 – personal exhibition at the Slave Association “Polski Kot”, Torino, Italy.

2011 – the Festival of Art Book “USE A BOOK”, Barcelona, Spain.

2011 - the International Ex-libris exhibition Nippon Exlibris Association, Japan, publication in the catalogue The Nippon Exlibris Association, Tokyo, 2011, p.8-9.

2010 – the 10th International Biennial of Engraving, Acqui Terme, Italy.

2010 – a series of artworks on the futurist's poems “Satires” has been displayed in the exhibition and published in the catalogue “Festa del Dialogo”,  GraFiMar: Milan, 2010, p.10-11.

2009 – a copy of the art book has been displayed in the Museum of Printing in Lodi, Italy.

2009 – International Ex-Libris competition “Arti Grafiche Colombo”, exhibition, publication in a catalogue “Arti Grafiche Colombo”, Gessate, Italy.

In the period 2004 - 2010 participated in 11 exhibitions in Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, France, Turkey and Japan.

2002 – participated in the Guild of Artists exhibition, Kiev, Ukraine.

Throughout 12 years of studying in the art school, actively participated in exhibitions held in Ukraine.

1994 – the first personal exhibition.



2018 – an article “Sketches on some incunabula” on the history of some rare books from the collection of the Archives at Weldon Library; has been published in the series Minima BibliographicaC.R.E.L.E.B.— Università Cattolica, Milano: Edizioni CUSL, 2018 

2017—an article “Greek-Cyrillic influences of calligraphy” has been accepted for the publication in a book on historical alphabets, ed. by V. Mitchenko, Laurus: Kiev. Publication is expected in 2018  

2011—2013 a series of 5 articles on art of illustration published in an online journal “Fermo Mag”, Fermo Editore, Parma (Italy) www.fermoeditore.it   

2012 – TriMAg  Publishing House included me in the list of catalog “222 Best Young Book Illustrators”, Russia.

2011—D. Montalto’s article about my arts, published in the newspaper Avvenire: Milan, from 19th January 2011, http://www.avvenire.it/ 

2010—my art book project, published by Alberto CasiraghyPulcinoelefante: Osnago, Italy     

2010 –an article about the Russian poems in the 1900s, published in the magazine “Segretti di Bocca”, Milan, 2010, number 25, p. 10.

2009—some of the etchings from my book “Silence”, published in the historical journal of graphic art Grafica d’Arte, edited by Paolo Bellini, Milan, June 2009, supplement n.78, p. 6-7.

2008 – one etching “La Fattucchiera” has been published in the magazine “Illustration”, United Kingdom, London, autumn 2008, issue 17, p.42-44.

2006 – an article and four drawings have been published in the historical journal of graphics and art Grafica d’Arte, edited by Paolo Bellini, Milan, June 2006, supplement n.66, p. 13-15.