VEMU/Estonian Studies Centre Events and Guests – Autumn 2012

December 18, 2012

The autumn season began early at VEMU, where on August 28, the director of the Estonian Literary Museum, Janika Kronberg presented at Tartu College. His lecture “Arved Viirlaid and Intellectual Resistance” marked Viirlaid’s 90th birthday. The writer’s son, Ants Viirlaid was in attendance and was presented with a book, as a gift for his father.

Sirje Kiin (Madison, USA) presented her lecture “Ivar Ivask – Our Worldly Writer.” Kiin discussed the life of the Estonian Latvian poet, artist, and literature professor; poems in three languages (German, Estonian, and English); his achievements, both as an artist and his life’s work as an editor for the magazine Books Abroad/World Literature Today in the United States; the founding of the international literary prize Neustadt, and the founding of the Puterbaugh conferences. Both Kiin, and Kronberg came to Toronto to give lectures and seminars at Kotkajärve Forest University.

On September 6th, Lea Kreinin (University of Glasgow) presented her research “Estonians in Scotland.” Kreinin spent six weeks in Toronto researching and aiding in archival work at VEMU. On September 29th, Urve Tamberg launched her new book “The Darkest Corner of the World.” Dancing Cat Books published the book in September 2012. It tells the tale of 15 year old Madli, who lives in Estonia during WWII, both through the Soviet and Nazi occupations. This is Tamberg’s first novel.

Marko Raat spoke about “The Moving Picture in the Museum. In the work and drawers of the Estonian National Museum”, on October 24th. The filmmaker is taking part in the building of Estonian National Museum’s new permanent exhibition. His task is to work on audio-visual solutions. During the lecture, we listened to how the filmmaker feels in the world of museums and how he applies his skills. Marko Raat and Ivo Feldt were in Toronto working on a new documentary film that discusses filmmaker and TV camera operator, Edgar Väär. The film is being completed in the Allfilm film studio.

Another film group came to Toronto in October from the studio Rühm Pluss Null. Producer Erik Norkroos and film director Jaanis Valk are working on a documentary, dedicated to the world traveller Ahto Valter. We were also able to see J. Valk’s documentary “Apothecary” (2007) and “The Other Side of the Road” (2009) from the series “Estonian Stories.”

After their work in the United States, Riina Reinvelt and Maido Selgmäe from the Estonian National Museum, came to Toronto. Over ten days they did video interviews with Toronto Estonians, and filmed their activities and events for a new permanent exhibition at the Museum. Film material was also collected for the VEMU/Estonian National Museum collaborative exhibition project “Estonian Shops and Businesses in Toronto.” This project is planned for completion in 2014.

Photos of the various events can be viewed at:

Piret Noorhani