Research and Creative Activities
The mission of the department of Estonian native crafts is to maintain and promote local and national traditions through preserving inherited skills and crafts techniques and revitalising them in contemporary environments.
As teachers and crafts practitioners working at an institution of professional higher education, our wider research object may be summarised as manual heritage. By that we refer to the knowledge and competence acquired from the previous generations in form of an intangible heritage, learning through working together and the immediate personal experience that it gives – just as one acquires one’s mother tongue.
Our narrower focus is on native crafts, i. e. the creative techniques and cultural practises, as well as new ways of implementing traditional and local crafts’ technologies, designs and skills. One of the main objectives of Master’s study programme in native crafts (opened in 2011) is to advance the level of professional handicraft and related research.
The creative activities of both staff members and students focus on the complex ways of how heritage contributes to contemporary society.
The staff members and students at the department of Estonian Native Crafts organise several events each year. The department cooperates closely with many partners in Estonia and abroad: museums, professional networks, and academic institutions.
Beyond the classroom environment, students have good opportunities to participate in different events. Involvement in creative activities as well as in research has numerous benefits for students. Every year a student with the most outstanding results in maintaining and studying cultural heritage will be awarded the Anu Raud Scholarship.
Other activities and regular events for students and staff members include the following:
Guest lectures and seminars by distinguished scholars or artists.
The conference on native crafts held annually during the autumn semester. Both invited scholars and students attend the annual conference to discuss an array of topics linked to craft research.
Many thematic workshops are organised for a wider audience, dedicated to different techniques of native metalwork, textile, or log building.
There are many opportunities to participate in student exhibitions. Final creative works are exhibited on special displays. The department arranges both solo and group exhibitions.
Camps for different age groups are organised each year. The department pays special attention to traditional crafts education of schoolchildren and youths.
Own Fashion is an ethno-fashion show where the graduates of Estonian Native Textile programme present their final creative works. In recent years, the show has welcomed also other designers whose works are rooted in Estonian folk culture.
Organised international academic events: