Grand Opening of the New Season of the VEMU/Estonian Studies Centre

October 1, 2013

A series of events took place at the end of September at Tartu College to celebrate Tartu College’s 43rd birthday and the opening of the new VEMU/ESC season. Many interesting cultural figures from Estonia were invited to present. The events were devoted to the Year of Cultural Heritage, which was celebrated in 2013 in Estonia.

A symposium Small Cultures in a Big World was held on Friday, September 20 at Tartu College. The event was organised by VEMU/the Estonian Studies Centre in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Elmar Tampõld Chair of Estonian Studies. Speakers were from both Toronto (Jüri Kivimäe Between Orality and Literacy: Some Thoughts on Estonian Culture, Dace Veinberga Big World, Small Culture, Different Ontology: Animism and the Eastern Balts, Antanas Sileika Long Ago and Far Away – Big Stories from Small Countries. Baltic Stories in a Global context), as well as Estonia (Kristiina Ehin “How to Explain My Language to You” – My Poetry in the Wider World, Sirje Olesk Small Literatures in a Big World, Anu Aun Universal Language of Film). On the evening of September 20 the floor was given to writer Kristiina Ehin and her musician husband Silver Sepp for a fascinating evening of poetry and music entitled Every Moment is a Well. Their literary/music tour of North America began in Toronto, where they introduced Kristiina’s English and Estonian poetry collections 1001 Winters and In a Single Breath, and Silver’s CD Mis asi see on?.

The next day, on Saturday, September 21 the Estonian Literary Museum’s photo exhibition Half an Hour With a Writer was opened at TC. Photographs of Estonian writers, translators and literary scholars were taken by Alar Madisson. The opening was followed by Dr. V. Soots memorial lecture held by Dr. Sirje Olesk (Modernism and the Traditions of Estonian Literature) and a workshop by Kristiina Ehin and Silver Sepp (Estonian Folk Music (regilaul) and Dance from Past to Present).

On Sunday, September 22 the screening of Anu Aun’s short films (Shift, 2010 and Indigo Room, 2007) and documentaries (Scout by Nature, 2012 and Clayhouse, 2007) took place at TC. Anu Aun was in Toronto with her film crew to shoot a documentary about Kristiina Ehin. They were following Kristiina in Toronto, including her performances at the nursing home Ehatare and Estonian School.

Piret Noorhani