Professor of Liberal Arts
The position of the Professor of Liberal Arts was created in 1993 to develop spirituality and creativity of the University and city community. One of the most prominent Estonian artists is invited as visiting Professor of Liberal Arts, whose activities relate to the traditional fields of activity of the University of Tartu.
The Professor of Liberal arts is called for one academic year. The same person may be called up only once.
Lectures held by the Professor of Liberal Arts are open to everyone. See the list of previous Professors of Liberal Arts.
In 2020/2021 two world-renowned animators Olga and Priit Pärn fill the position of Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Tartu
It is the first time in the history of this professorship at the University of Tartu when there are two professors of liberal arts active at the same time – so far, there has been only one per academic year.
Priit and Olga Pärn have made animated films for 75 years and have more than 40 years of teaching experience in total. By giving lectures about the nature and history of animated film, as well as about the process of creating animations, the aim of their course "Animation: from inside and from outside" (only in Estonian) is to increase interest in animated film as such, and to encourage putting that interest into practical use, i.e. channeling it into a concrete form.
The main components of their course are lectures and film programmes. Every film programme directly relates to the following lecture, in historic or technological sense and in content. The lectures that touch upon the necessary skills for creating an animated film give the listener an opportunity for active participation.
Priit Pärn graduated from the Department of Biology at the University of Tartu as a plant ecologist, but after six years of working at the Botanical Garden of Tallinn, he made a career change and started making animated films at the Tallinnfilm (later Eesti Joonisfilm) Studio. Since the 1960s Pärn has been active as a caricaturist, illustrator and freelance graphic artist, and since the late 1980s also as a lecturer. In 2006 he established the animation department at the Estonian Academy of Art, and served as its director until 2019. He has taught at film schools in almost every European country, as well as in Japan and Australia. His films have received more than 80 awards in different international animated and short films festivals, including grand prix’s at the most important festivals. He has received seven lifetime achievement awards, including one from the Estonian Cultural Endowment in 2019.
Since 2006 Pärn has been making films together with his wife Olga Pärn who is also an animator and film director. In 2000 Olga Pärn (Marchenko) graduated cum laude from the graphic arts department (specialising in intaglio) at the Belarusian Academy of Art. She completed a course in film directing at the La Poudriére animation school in France, and then worked as an art director and animator (specialising in sand animation) in the animation department at Belarusfilm Studio. The films she has created or contributed to have won numerous awards at international animated and short film festivals.
The animated films that Olga and Priit Pärn have created together have won 36 awards in festivals all over the world, including 11 grand prix’s.