The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture (in Estonian KVI) is the only research institute in art history (Kunstwissenschaft) in Estonia, and a leading one in the Baltic States, covering a wide range of fields of study, from the medieval period to contemporary art.  KVI is a member of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art, RIHA. The Institute was founded in 1992 as the Institute of Art History of the Tallinn Art University.

The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture serves both as a research and teaching institution, conducting major research projects in art history and providing education in all three academic levels.

The professors and faculty members in our Institute are top specialists in their fields and recognized experts; our graduates include Estonia’s leading younger generation curators, critics and art theoreticians. The Institute’s curriculum combines historical and object-centred approaches to art with excellent knowledge of theoretical viewpoints. Visual culture studies explore the pictorial and spatial environment, the connections between them, and their functioning society. The curriculum is supplemented by study trips and practical training.

The Institute’s MA programme offers three areas of specialization: Art History and Visual Culture StudiesMuseology or Curatorial Studies. The goal of the doctoral programme is to prepare high-level professionals who are able to work both as teaching or research staff members in the academic sphere and as top-level specialists outside it.

The aim of the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture is to offer a diverse, innovative and inspirational environment for study and research. Training in the speciality is supported by research conducted in the Institute, our research projects, conferences and publications.

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News and events


CFP: Uncomfortable Heritage in the Baltic Sea Region and Beyond: From Negation to Re-interpretation

EKA co-organizes an international interdisciplinary spring school on 10–15 March 2024 in Kulice, Poland. The understanding of heritage as purely preserving and managing the remains of cultural/national value has been increasingly disputed during the last decades. The approach of multidirectional memories (Michael Rothberg), critical heritage (Sharon Macdonald, Rodney Harrison), and ...
J.M.W.Turner, Staffa, Fingal's Cave, 1831

Open lecture: Frédéric Ogée

English landscape design, landscape art and the Anthropo(s)cenic (1750–1850) On October 26th, the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture is hosting an open lecture by Frédéric Ogée. The growing importance of ecological concerns and its transcription into the new discipline of eco-criticism have identified the first half of the 19th century as a possible starting point for the ...

Conference “An Apparition on the Border: The Passion of an Eastern European. Emil Tode’s ‘Border State’ 30 Years Later”

The 17th conference from the series Studies in Contemporary Culture, dedicated to one of the key Estonian literary works from the transition era, Emil Tode’s groundbreaking novel Border State, will take place on October 16th, 2023, at the Writers’ House in Tallinn (Harju 1). The conference is organized by the Research Group of Contemporary Estonian Culture (EKA KVI, TLÜ TÜHI and TÜ) in ...

Making a Difference: Sustainability in the Artworld and Museums

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 ...

Open Lecture: Cecilia Alemani

Cecilia Alemani “The Milk of Dreams. A journey through the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale” Cecilia Alemani is one of the most influential curators in the world today. She curated the 59th International Venice Biennale, a much talked about landmark exhibition. The title of the biennale, Milk of Dreams is borrowed from a book by the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, in which she ...
Kumu_Kunst _antropotseeni_ajastul_2023_Joosep_Kivimäe-125

Conference: Rethinking Cultures of Environmentalism in Eastern and Northern Europe

A new wave of scholarly writing on the histories of environmentalism has significantly broadened our understanding of the ways of being environmentally aware, demonstrating the wide dissemination of diverse environmental practices and ideas across different societies and regimes, ideologies and belief systems, practices, discourses and genres. This conference asks how recent scholarly ...
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Who Builds Your Architecture? Workshops, film and open lecture 22. – 25. May

Who Builds Your Architecture? Workshops, film and open lecture 22.–25. May 2023 in EKA In the last week of May, exciting international experts will come to EKA to create a discussion on architecture and construction: Kadambari Baxi, Klaus Platzgummer and Lennart Wolff. Kadambari Baxi, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York (https://www.kbaxi.net): architect and educator ...

Film Screening: Zum Vergleich. Harun Farocki, 2009

Film Screening Title: Zum Vergleich / In Comparison  Harun Farocki (2009) x  Project Presentation Building Information: Kadambari Baxi, Klaus Platzgummer, Lennart Wolff (2022-) Description Bricks are the resonating foundations of society. Bricks are simply very long-playing records. Like records, they appear in series, but every brick is slightly different – not just another brick in ...