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


Lecture: Nineteenth-century Historicism and Historic Preservation: An Exceptional Case

On 25 March at 16.00, Associate Professor Richard Wittman (University of California, Santa Barbara) will give a public lecture “Nineteenth-century Historicism and Historic Preservation: An Exceptional Case” in room A403. Normative historiographies regarding heritage, historicism, architectural preservation, and related fields tend to explain the prevalence of these phenomena in the nineteenth ...
Avatud seminar Ebamugavad lood Hella Wuolijoki ja Asja Lācise juhtumid

Public Seminar: Uncomfortable Herstories. The cases of Hella Wuolijoki and Asja Lācis

Presenters: Jaana Kokko, Andris Brinkmanis Respondents: Anu Allas, Airi Triisberg  Moderators: Margaret Tali, Ieva Astahovska The political past, like the present, is often uncomfortable. In this public seminar we will revisit the lives and artistic work of two politically active women in order to rethink how we could open the discomfort their lives introduce and unpack it by focusing on two ...
L6op6llu Viies 2018-10-09 Keidi Saks (26) muinsuskaitseamet (1)

How to Reframe Monuments (Estonian Ministry of Culture grant, 2024–2026)

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered debates about the Russian and Soviet heritage both globally and in Estonia. This has been accompanied by the toppling of monuments, as well as social conflicts and polarisation. The aim of the project “How to Reframe Monuments: Rethinking Dissonant Heritage in Estonia through Case Studies” is to bring together expertise and skills from ...
L6op6llu Viies 2018-10-09 Keidi Saks (26) muinsuskaitseamet

Research project creates new solutions for reinterpreting monuments

In 2024, the three-year research project How to Reframe Monuments was launched, with the aim of creating new solutions for reinterpreting monuments and other dissonant heritage. The interdisciplinary project received funding from the Ministry of Culture's new research and development programme. It is led by the Estonian Academy of Arts in cooperation with Tallinn University, and partners with ...

Extended deadline for conference “Cultural heterologies and democracy II” (Tallinn, June 26–28, 2024)

Extended deadline February 15, 2024 Cultural Heterologies and Democracy II. Transitions and Transformations in Post-Socialist Cultures in the 1980s and 1990s Tallinn, June 26–28, 2024 The planned conference invites participants to reflect on the following questions: – In what ways does democracy manifest itself in the culture of the transitional period of the 1990s? – ...

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 ...