The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture has carried out many international conferences and seminars.
The Institute has been at the forefront of a “historiographical turn” in Estonian art history and humanities since the 1990s, when several international conferences dedicated to the work of interwar and Soviet-era professors (Sten Karling, Voldemar Vaga) were held, including the conferences The Problem of Classical Ideal (proceedings 2003); Art and the Church: Religious Art and Architecture in the Baltic Region in the 13th-18th Centuries (proceedings 2008); Art and Ritual (proceedings 2011).
More recently, the Institute initiated a series of conferences on Socialist art history writing in cooperation with the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and GWZO (Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa) Leipzig: 2016 in Tallinn, 2017 in Leipzig, and forthcoming in 2020 in Berlin.
A cooperation project of the Baltic republics with joint art history and historiography conferences was initiated by our Institute, hosted together with respective societies of art historians: Tallinn (2009, 2019), Kaunas (2011), Riga (2016).
The Institute of Art History partnered with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to organise a seminar series entitled Unfolding Narratives: Art Histories in East-Central Europe (2010–2011). Additionally, the Institute has collaborated with leading art history research institutes and undertaken joint projects with e.g. the Getty Foundation (2009–2011); European Research Council, University of Birmingham (2004–2009); University of Helsinki et al.
Secondly, the Institute has been a leader in the study of Soviet period architecture and material culture, approaching it from the comparative perspective in the Cold War context. In 2004 we organised an international conference “Constructed Happiness: Domestic Environment in the Cold War Era” (eponymous book published in 2005) which was one of the first in its kind in the former Eastern bloc. The institute was also participant in a network Second World Urbanity, co-organising a series of conferences with University of Mary Washington and European University in St Petersburg (2012–2015). In 2018, the Institute hosted the 5th pan-European conference of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN), the biennial conference of the largest professional forum for architectural history in Europe.
Thirdly, the Institute has been a leader in the studies of environmental aesthetics and semiotics, conducting a series of seminars and publications Place and Location (Koht ja Paik, 2000–2008) and working with a broad interdisciplinary scope inside the humanities. In 2009 a series of seminars and publications, Studies on Contemporary Culture (Etüüde nüüdiskultuurist), was initiated together with Tallinn University and Estonian Literary Union, that studies how changes in late and post-Soviet Estonian culture have been influenced by the changing political, technological and socio-economical frame. In 2020, the Institute will host the annual conference of the European Society for Aesthetics.