Making a Difference: Sustainability in the Artworld and Museums

Design by Maria Muuk
Start Date:

End Date:

Tallinn, October 3-5, 2023

Organisers: Kumu Art Museum and Estonian Academy of Arts in collaboration with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

With the support of the Nordic Culture Point 

Venues: Estonian Academy of Arts, Kumu Art Museum

The climate crisis has developed into the defining crisis of our time, interlinked with the military, socio-political, and humanitarian conflicts and inequalities across the globe. The artworld must inevitably reevaluate its priorities. A major part of rethinking art in the age of the anthropocene centers around creating and adapting more sustainable practices. The global lack of resources, issues of environmental justice – and possibly also careful visions of post-extractivist futures – make art workers think through circularity and sustainability.

This workshop calls to discuss the art world’s green transition in a creative and at the same time critical manner and explore it across disciplines – inviting professionals and students from art and design, conservation, curating and museology and related fields.

How to make art institutions, art and exhibition production more sustainable? What are the other ways in which arts and culture can contribute to transforming the extractivist mindset? What is the role of artists, designers and other art workers in fulfilling the climate aims set by governments and politicians? What is the relationship between an artwork and its carbon footprint? How to avoid greenwashing? How to make space for time and effort that goes into experimenting with more sustainable practices and avoid burnout?

Valuing learning from different perspectives, skills and knowledge, the teaching staff includes experts from various fields. The event is designed for art workers, as well as students across disciplines (MA and doctoral, but also motivated BA students).

The programme involves lectures, workshops, study visits to museum funds and exhibition tours. Lecturers include: Margit Keller (University of Tartu), Laura Linsi and Roland Reemaa (LLRRLLRR), Arnita Melzoba and Kārlis Melzobs (GAISS), Darja Jefimova (Art Museum of Estonia), VarjeÕunapuu (Estonian Academy of Arts), Hilkka Hiiop (Estonian Academy of Arts), Maria Muuk and others.


Linda Kaljundi (Estonian Academy of Arts)

Karin Vicente (Art Museum of Estonia)


How to apply?

Participation is free of charge. Please register here:

Deadline: September 15

In case you need study credits, you can gain 2 ECTS credits by attending all the talks and visits and completing a conference report in the format of a visual essay.

Workshop programme

Day 1 / October 3

Where on earth to begin?

Kumu Art Museum


Welcome, introductions and coffee


Karin Vicente (Art Museum of Estonia): High Impressions, Low Impact: Reducing the Emissions of an Art Exhibition


Group work: How to make a difference? Moderators: Linda Kaljundi and Karin Vicente




Kārlis Melzobs (GAISS architects): Decolonial ecologies


Guided tour at the exhibition Art in the Age of the Anthropocene by Laura Linsi and Roland Reemaa and Maria Muuk, designers of the exhibition

Day 2 / October 4

Theory into practice

Estonian Academy of Art. Meeting point: 5th floor


Laura Linsi and Roland Reemaa (LLRRLLRR): Working with material flows


Maria Muuk (graphic designer): Sustainable developments in exhibition graphic design




Grete Arro (Tallinn University): How to fit the environment into one’s Umwelt?


Siim Preimann (Tallinn Art Hall): Keeping on keeping on: in pursuit of a curatorial approach fitting the times


Meeting point: Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM).

Meeting with curator and a project manager Maria Helen Känd and visiting Jaanus Samma’s exhibition “Iron men

Day 3 / October 5

Fields in dialogue: from contemporary art to collection to conservation

Kumu Art Museum.


Meeting point: painting collections of Art Museum of Estonia;

Darja Jefimova (Art Museum of Estonia): Sustainable practices in collections management

Discussant: Varje Õunapuu (Estonian Academy of Arts)


Meeting point: permanent exhibition of Estonian Art in the 1990s (4th floor, B wing)

Hilkka Hiiop (Estonian Academy of Arts): Sustainability in collecting contemporary art: does it exist?




Meeting point: Kumu educational centre

Margit Keller (University of Tartu): Sustainability transitions: complexity and hope


Meeting point: Kadriorg Art museum, lobby

Tour at the exhibition “The Art of Adapting” with Triin Metsla and Madli Ehasalu


Concluding panel: How to build and sustain dialogues between fields?

Mari-Leen Kiipli (artist), Marju Niinemaa (National Heritage Board), Kaisa-Piia Pedajas (Art Museum of Estonia), Laura Põld (Estonian Academy of Arts)

Moderators: Linda Kaljundi, Karin Vicente


Presentation of the Model for sustainable exhibition at Kumu (in Estonian)

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Posted by Annika Toots

Institute of Art History and Visual Culture Workshops