Conference about “university landscape”—a term originating from Tartu

Tartu’s university campus is unique in the world because Tartu and the University of Tartu are one of the most excellent examples of the formation of a university landscape in Europe in architectural as well as cultural sense. Accordingly, an international conference will take place at UT from 5 to 7 October which focuses on studying the university ensembles formed during the age of Enlightenment and the education of the time and formation of university landscapes.

The definition and use of the term “university landscape” is a new trend on the world level and it was taken into use by UT Professor of Art History Juhan Maiste who is also the author of the idea for the conference.

According to Professor Juhan Maiste, the university has a central place in the history of European culture: “The idea of the university is an idea of light and enlightenment which in the framework of education, science as well as visual arts creates a prerequisite for a phenomenon which found new content and form in the Enlightenment—the university landscape. The university landscape is a new term with a semantic field comparable to several other terms—monastery, city, manor and village landscape—which already have a place in the scientific system.”

The conference “The University Landscape in the Light of the Enlightenment” focuses on three main questions. The first major group of topics encompasses an analysis of the Enlightenment university. What is a university landscape of the Enlightenment, what are its ideological grounds? The second topic focuses on studying the University of Tartu and its architectural landscape in the context of other Enlightenment universities.

The third topic is studying the cohesion between the university architecture and the environment. “Enlightenment university campuses were redesigned according to new principles and they no longer contrasted the urban space but were connected to it. By evaluating the reformed architecture of the universities, it can be said that the universities gained a motive and leading force in society: by bringing new ideas of urban architecture, designing the general image of cities and by asserting the role of the university as a cultural sign,” described organiser of the conference Kadri Asmer.

The speakers of the conference are from several international universities, incl. Konstanz, Paris-Sorbonne, Oxford, Stanford, Manchester, Leipzig etc. Have a look at the performers and presenters at the conference website

The conference is organised under the aegis of Academica which highlights German-Estonian cooperation. The conference provides Estonian and international researchers the opportunity to develop professional cooperation and analyse the formation of science, higher education institutions and society in this field of research.

The conference is organised by UT Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UT Department of Art History and UT Museum. 

Virge Tamme
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