Viljandi Culture Academy to open arts centre in Tartu

In September a new centre for arts will be opened in the Old Anatomical Theatre of the University of Tartu. The centre will draw the competence of the whole faculty into one unit and coordinate arts studies in the university.

In recent years, arts education in the University of Tartu has been divided between two structural units – the Department of Arts in the Institute of Cultural Research and Arts and Viljandi Culture Academy. While mostly painters have been taught in the former unit, musicians, actors, dancers, lighting designers and sound engineers, and craftsmen and researchers in the areas of native textile, metalwork and construction study in the latter.

According to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof. Margit Sutrop, gathering arts education into the new centre for arts is an important step in organising the division of work within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and also opening a window for Viljandi Culture Academy in Tartu. “The popularity of lectures by professors of liberal arts among students and also staff of different faculties shows that there is great interest in fine arts and in courses developing self-expression and creativity. So we had an idea to compile a whole package of such courses, from which everyone can choose the most suitable for them,” Prof. Sutrop said.

Head of the centre for arts Tuulike Kivestu says that from September the centre will offer a chance for all students of the University of Tartu to acquire new knowledge and skills and develop their creativity. “Students can take optional courses to study music, painting, photography, dancing, acting, drawing, crafts and a lot more. As verbal communication is often of secondary importance in arts education and information can be exchanged in other ways, most of the courses are also suitable for international students and lecturers,” said Kivestu and added that the centre also wants to contribute to teacher training, offering future teachers a lot of arts-related skills that can be used in working with children and youth.

In addition to students, the centre welcomes the university’s teaching staff and employees to discover and develop their creativity. Nearly all courses are also available for continuing education learners.

In the autumn semester the centre for arts will launch more than forty optional courses for the whole university. The sphere of topics is broad, extending from practical rhetoric to Estonian regilaul song and cartoon drawing. As exciting courses, the head of the centre points out the course by fashion designer Triin Amur “Problems of the fashion industry and the possible solutions and practices of its sustainable development”, followed by a more practical course in spring semester “Challenge of the fashion industry – how to sew from trash”, the course “Anger management” by one of the most highly appreciated lecturers of Viljandi Culture Academy Sergei Drõgin, and the course “Animalistic movement” by choreographer and dancer Stella Kruusimägi.

The centre for arts also plans to actively cooperate with other schools who offer arts education. For example, already in autumn a course in folk dance will be launched jointly with Tartu H. Eller Music College, where course participants can learn dancing skills accompanied by live music played by folk musicians of Eller College and instructed by Eva Talsi and Kadri Lepasson, alumni of Viljandi Culture Academy.

The position of professor of liberal arts, to which every year a prominent creative Estonian person will be invited, will also belong into the centre for arts. In the academic year 2017/2018, the renowned photographer Peeter Laurits will assume the position of professor of liberal arts. In the autumn semester everyone interested is welcome to listen to his lecture series “WILD AESTHETICS or how to explain a forest to digital hares”.

To be able to better introduce the creative work of the UT teaching staff, students and alumni of the field of arts, the centre plans to open a small gallery shop in the Old Anatomical Theatre. 

Additional information: Tuulike Kivestu, Vice Director for Academic Affairs and Development of Viljandi Culture Academy, Head of Centre for Arts, 525 8231,

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: