Estonian Research Council funds two new research projects at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture

Estonian Research Council has announced the results of its 2019 round of personal research grant applications, including funding for two new research projects by scholars working at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture, starting in January 2020.

Prof Virve Sarapik will be the principal investigator of the 5-year group research project “Patterns of Development in Estonian Culture of the Transition Period (1986–1998)”. The project sets out to investigate the cultural processes at work in Estonia between 1986 and 1998, a time-frame known as the transition period, corresponding to the disintegration of socialist systems in Eastern Europe and subsequent meticulous political, economic, institutional and technological changes. The culture of this period has been studied sporadically in different cultural fields, but a comprehensive account of the competing developments of the eraʼs culture as a whole and its relation to social and political processes has been missing. This collaborative research project unites scholars from three institutions: the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn University and the University of Tartu, capitalising on their expertise in literature, visual culture, theatre and cinema. Our result aims for a synthesis of wide range of cultural phenomena from the transition period, set against their wider cultural and social background.


Prof Andres Kurg received a starting grant and will be the principal investigator of a 4-year research project titled “Forecast and Fantasy in Late Soviet Architecture”. The project proposes to write a history of fantasy in Late-Soviet architecture, focusing on its mediating role in the transformative effects of postwar modernisation. From the 1960s onwards several architects realigned their work according to new technological discourses – including cybernetics and scientific forecasting – producing design projects where the predicted future was subjected to the scrutiny of precise calculations. By the 1980s, fantasy had transformed in the plural scenarios of ‘paper architecture’ that often took a critical stance towards modernity, corresponding to how cybernetics recognised the future as open to alternative historical trajectories. This project will argue that rather than being determined by top-down ideological doctrines the spatial and artistic production of the period should be seen as negotiating technological changes and new scientific discourses, participating in the ways in which the experience of modernity unfolded in the Socialist block.

Estonian Research Council’s 2019 round of applications for personal research grants, including group grants, starting grants and postdoctoral grants, received 479 applications and funding was granted to 114 of them. In the field of Humanities and Arts, 11 out of 75 applications were funded.

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Posted by Mari Laaniste