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Estonian Academy of Arts
Eesti Kunstiakadeemia
Established 1914
Rector Prof. Signe Kivi
Students 1100
Location Tallinn, Estonia
Nickname ERKI, EKA, EAA
Affiliations ELIA, CUMULUS,

EAAE, KUNO, CIRRUS,

Nordic Academy of Architecture
Website www.artun.ee

The Estonian Academy of Arts (Estonian: Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, EKA) is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in art, design, architecture, media, art history and conservation-restoration. It is based in Tallinn.

According to the Statutes of EAA the main objective of activity of the Estonian Academy of Arts is to promote creative and research activities, to enable acquirement of contemporary higher education basing on integrated study, creative and research activities and meeting the standard of higher education in the field of fine arts, design, media, architecture, art history, conservation-restoration and teacher education.

With the Estonian Minister of Education and Research' Act no.145 from February 10, 2007, the EAA was accredited by an international expert committee as an institution.

The Estonian Academy of Arts has signed around 80 bilateral agreements with universities which participate in ERASMUS programme, but has also partner institutions outside the ERASMUS higher education space – in Switzerland, USA, Russia, Australia and also with some private universities in the European Union.

Contents

History

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Foundation

The origin of EKA dates back to 1914 when the Estonian Art Society founded the Tallinn Industrial Art School.[1] It was the first and for a while the only art school in Estonia. The founders based the original curriculum on that of the art school founded by Baron Alexander von Stieglitz in St. Petersburg. This system proiritised technical and practical skills.

Interwar independence period

Following the Estonian War of Independence, the Tallinn Industrial Art School became the State Industrial Art School in 1920 [1] providing education in all specialities of applied art of the period. Reformation of study system started in 1922 was completed, transferring to European multi-stage school type. In result it became possible to apply for the diploma of specialist or applied artist (from 1934). In 1920s new workshops and departments were opened (study printery, sculpture, graphics, ceramics, metal, glass grinding and engraving, fabric weaving), which made studies essentially more versatile. Teaching staff included many persons, who had improved themselves in Europe. In 1938 the State School of Industrial Arts was reformed into two separate institutions: the State School of Industrial and Pictorial Arts and the Higher State Art School. [2]

Soviet period

In 1940 the Soviet occupation cut the art contact of Estonia with the rest of the world. State art schools were liquidated, the school was renamed State Applied Art School named after Jaan Koort. During World War II the school was often closed and teaching was highly episodic.

In 1944 the school was renamed Tallinn State Applied Art Institute of the ESSR.[1] In 1951 Pallas Art School in Tartu was closed and the specialities of fine art were transferred. With this the whole art education was centralised in Tallinn. New name of the school became State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (SAIE/Estonian abbreviation for ERKI). The study acquired new essential features and subject divisions characteristic to Soviet university, including three main cycles – social sciences, general and art theoretical subjects and practical art subjects. In 1949 the department of architecture was transferred from Tallinn Polytechnical Institute (now Tallinn University of Technology), which formed entirely new field together with the speciality of interior architecture and the speciality of design (originally with the name of industrial art) founded in 1966. With this ERKI became the only school in Estonia providing higher education in all fields of art and architecture. In 1959–1989 the Rector of ERKI was Jaan Vares, under whose leadership the school became, in spite of the pressure of Soviet ideology, popular educational institution with liberal attitudes and European level, where students of up to 20 nationalities studied constantly throughout several decades and where practically several generations of Estonian artists have acquired their education. High reputation of ERKI expanded also to former socialist countries of Eastern Europe, student groups were exchanged, students and teaching staff participated in international competitions and exhibitions, receiving high awards and attention. In 1978 foundation was laid to the unique tradition of Finno-Ugric expeditions of ERKI under the leadership of Professor Kaljo Põllu. The original building became naturally too small for rapidly developing school and the main building of the institute was reconstructed according to the plans of architect P. Tarvas (I stage 1965–1967, II stage 1974), also the study building of interior architecture in the Old Town of Tallinn, Suur-Kloostri Street was added.

Since 1989

Estonian Academy of Arts

In 1989 ERKI was renamed Tallinn Art University, marking the start of new period in the history of the school. The Rector was elected one of the most well-known art historians of Estonia – prof Jaak Kangilaski. Reformation of study system was started according to changes taking place in higher education policy of the state. Study period was first reduced to 4.5 years. Course system was preserved, but new system of credit points was introduced. In the course of changes new study levels were introduced: diploma, Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate. In the middle of 1990s economic crisis and general recession increased in the school. In 1995 Tallinn Art University was renamed Estonian Academy of Arts (EAA), the name was certified in 1996. International contacts of the school increased essentially: student and teaching staff exchange, participation in SOCRATES, Leonardo da Vinci, Tempus Phare etc. programmes, organisation of conferences, workshops, festivals. Formerly non-existing publication activities were started. Development of the academy was supported by the new economic and financing system, which brought along also wrong decisions, but which finally started to pull the school out of the recession. One of the most essential turning points, however, was provision of new essential concept to teaching, which was based on Western model – lifelong learning or continuing study. For this purpose advanced training of art teachers was launched in 1996, Open Academy of EAA started its operation in 1997, Tallinn School of Conservation of EAA was put into operation. Other sub-institutions of the academy were also the College of Applied Art providing art education to Russian-speaking students and Academia Non Grata in Pärnu, which extended the teaching area out of Tallinn. New centres were opened for modernisation of study: in 1994 E-media Centre and Photography Centre, as well as new chairs – media art, interdisciplinary arts and protection of cultural heritage. Inter-speciality integrated curricula were created (Faculty of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts). In 1997–2000 new and contemporary library was constructed in the school. In 1999 Estonian Academy of Arts joined SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme. In 2002 the curricula of EAA were updated proceeding from the principles of the Bologna Declaration, bringing them into compliance with standard system of the levels of higher education implemented in the European Union. First students having studied on the basis of the updated curricula graduated in 2006. In 2005 textile artist prof Signe Kivi was elected the Rector of EAA (Minister of Culture of the Republic of Estonia in 1999–2001; member of the Parliament 2002–2005). Drafting of new development programmes and strategies started, in which result the development programme of Estonian Academy of Arts for 2006–2010 was certified in the Council of EAA on January 31, 2006. In the spring semester of 2006 (March 31, 2006), the Council of EAA decided to start the construction of the new study building in 2008, at the historical location of Tartu maantee 1.

References

  1. ^ a b c Rosenfeld, Alla (2001). Art of the Baltics. Rutgers University Press. p. 368. ISBN 0813530423. http://books.google.com/books?id=r73fmcC5itkC&pg=PA368&dq.  
  2. ^ Raun, Toivo (2001). Estonia and the Estonians, Studies of nationalities. Hoover Press. p. 167. ISBN 0817928529. http://books.google.com/books?id=YQ1NRJlUrwkC&pg=PA137&lpg=PA137&dq.  

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