Here is an overview of EKA’s activities contributing to the Transform4Europe project. For us, student engagement is the high focus of the project, and we keep students engaged in every way possible.
Animation Online Course
In August 2021, EKA organized a five-day Animation Online course where out of 230 candidates, 21 participants were selected. The course gathered students from different academic backgrounds. The objective of this course was to introduce Transform4Europe’s mission and provide new knowledge and skills for students from all seven alliance universities. The Animation Online Course by EKA Summer Academy creators was Hleb Kuftseryn, Elise Eimre, and Mari Kivi.
Read more about the course and see the student works HERE.
Mapping out the Erasmus+ mobility process
The digital product design students analyzed the current mobility process. From September 2021, they tried to understand the problems in this area under the supervision of the visiting lecturer Eva Liisa Kubinyi, as a 6 ECTS subject.
Eight bachelor students from EKA shadowed the foreign relations specialist to understand the mobility process, focusing on overall mobility, student cards, and accommodation issues. Additionally, they interviewed students who have studied abroad with the Erasmus project.
In October, EKA’s students went to Poland to observe the student migration from a different perspective. During a 2-day workshop at The University of Silesia in Katowice the students and staff members looked into the process in a much bigger university where digital tools are used less. With the gathered information, the students proposed new solutions for a more comfortable student migration. At the end of the autumn semester, they presented their work and possible framework for more user experience solutions.
Based on the interviews and the survey, the students concluded that the main problem with the Erasmus+ student journey is information overload. As a solution, a new info architecture for an Erasmus+ website was created based on the student perspective. Since 2022 EKA has been using the new website.
The feedback showed that students felt very inspired by the experience outside their comfort zone.
Estonian Language And Culture Summer Course
In August 2022, EKA organized an Estonian culture and language program for exchange students. 50 students arrive in Estonia three weeks before the academic year to learn about the basics of the Estonian language. They sang local songs and discussed the history.
The course was designed to offer a wide range of experiences. The critic and lecturer at our Faculty of Architecture Gregor Taul offered the students guided tours to different districts of Tallinn, such as Old Town, Kalamaja, and Lasnamäe. They visited museums like Estonian Architecture Museum and KUMU, and watched films and discussed them.
Open Lecture on Housing Crisis
In September 2022, the Estonian Academy of Arts held an open conversation and lecture to discuss an important topic in Estonia and Europe – the looming housing crisis.
The lecture brought together academic knowledge and business experience.
The speakers were Dr. Sille Pihlak, an Associate Professor of the Faculty of Architecture at the Academy of Arts, and Sara Paganin, Real Estate Fund Manager at Finanziaria Internazionale Investments SGR S.p.A in Italy. Madle Lippus, deputy mayor responsible for urban planning issues in Tallinn, moderated the discussion.
The real estate price rally has created a situation in major Estonian cities where there is not enough affordable housing for renting or buying. People in lower-income households find themselves in a difficult situation where they are forced to move away from their workplaces to where housing is cheaper. This puts pressure on the city’s transport network. The ecological footprint of the citizens and, thus, the city will increase.
The speakers tried to find solutions to create an affordable community-needs-driven apartment building. They thought of what it requires from the developers, the communities themselves, the local government, and the state. How to make sure a firefighter and a teacher can also afford to live in Kadriorg, Kalamaja, or the city center? What should be done to make housing more affordable, and how do we divide and share the space?
More information here.
BA courses, language courses
Opening our courses to alliance universities has allowed our students to take subjects that EKA does not offer. The students have been able to learn foreign languages at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. EKA has offered Transform4Europe alliance students subjects such as internet culture, internet art, podcasting, and vlogging.
In spring 2023, EKA will offer two courses: digital marketing focusing on creating a brand in art and design and the basics of sustainability.
Keep your eye on the offered subjects on the project website here.
Taking part in T4Europe events
After the COVID-19 isolation, the hunger for traveling is big, but one can feel intimidated by the possibilities. To encourage students to explore new places, EKA created a series of events named Wanderlust. They provide travel options and a wild jump to the unknown.
Transform4Europe’s Web Conference
In December 2021, Transform4Europe’s first annual Ph.D. Conference “Societal Transformations and Sustainable Development with Respect to Environment in the Post-Covid-19 Digital Era” was held. Practice-based research is a field that is strongly represented at EKA. Therefore, Sille Pihlak, a Ph.D. fellow and junior researcher, lectured on somatic modularity. Additionally, Professor Hilkka Hiiop and Associate Professor Riin ALatalu from the Faculty of Art Culture represented EKA.
Festival of European Culture in Lithuania
During the Festival of European Culture in May 2022, the whole of Kaunas city was transformed into a cultural happening. With the invitation by Vytautas Magnus University, six EKA students were selected to participate in creative master classes and workshops. After the classes, students visited exhibitions and happenings that Kaunas, the Capital of Culture, had to offer.
EKA’s instructor and graphic designer Allan Kukk organized a two-day course with a closer look at the process of studying drawing.
Techstars Startup Weekend winners in Germany
In June 2022, a Techstars Startup Weekend hackathon took place in Saarbrücken. Three EKA students attended: Harold Kiisler and Alvin Kanarbik, undergraduate students of Interior Architecture, and Aire Aasmäe, a student of the Future of Design and Technology of the joint curriculum of EKA and TalTech.
EKA’s students were selected among the top three performers with their teams. Aire Aasmäe’s team, “Up2Skill”, won first place. Harold Kiisler and Alvin Kanarbik’s team “Laulu” – a package recycling solution aimed at festivals and food stores – won third place at the hackathon. The jury pointed out that EKA students stood out with good management of the design process, which was used to search for a world-changing global problem that could be solved in an environmentally conscious way.
In both projects, the authors of the ideas and the team leaders were EKA students. There were also participants from other universities of the T4EU alliance and the universities of Saarland.
Saarland University and FITT GmbH organize Techstars Startup Weekend in Saarbrücken. EKA participated in the program thanks to the Transform4Europe consortium, the European Regional Development Fund and the Erasmus+ program supported the student’s participation.
Transform4Europe Strategic Assembly Meeting
In October 2022, there was a Transform4Europe Strategic Assembly meeting held in Saarland, Saarbrücken. 150 participants, from rectors to academics and administrative staff, gathered to discuss the current status of the project and the next steps. The first conference day was dedicated to reflecting on the role of European Universities in changing the European future.
Two EKA students gave speeches on the change. Quinn Feller, an Interaction Design Master’s student, presented vision-research work as a school project with fellow students, “Universities as Collaborative Communities in 2030”. She focused on how universities can support students and alumni in their communities, to hold the values and share them. A Lithuanian Doctoral exchange student Gytis Dovydaitis spoke about stepping out of their comfort zone. He said that the change starts from within. He brought out the Estonian nature and smoke sauna that had helped him.
In October 2022, an International Conference-Hackathon for the Innovative Teaching and Learning Methods in Higher Education was held at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. EKA presented their engaging teaching experiences.
EKA Design and Crafts Master’s student Cristopher Siniväli and ERKI Fashion Show Chief Producer Karin Kiigemägi spoke about entrepreneurship education in the creative world and the ERKI fashion show organization. In addition, Johanna Jõekalda introduced the possibilities of VR technology in architecture education.
Entrepreneurship Winter School in Italy
The University of Trieste invited five students from each university to participate in the Entrepreneurship Winter School. The program included visits to incubators and accelerators. It provided an excellent opportunity to establish business contacts, especially in the regions like Italy and the Balkans. Students from the Faculty of Design, who are also involved in business, were inspired by the visits and the opportunities to get to know other international students.