University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy

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University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy
Tartu Ülikooli Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia
Students800 (2015)
58°21′59″N 25°35′50″E / 58.36639°N 25.59722°E / 58.36639; 25.59722

University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy (Estonian: Tartu Ülikooli Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia) is an Estonian institution of higher education, situated in the provincial town of Viljandi, central Estonia. The UT Viljandi Culture Academy merged with the University of Tartu in 2005.[1] The UT VCA has been teaching professional higher education and performing applied research within information science, culture education and creative arts since 1952.[2] The academy has about 1000 students, half of whom are open university students.[3] The teaching and instruction are based on the continuity and sustainability of Estonian native culture enriched by new impulses which widen the notion of traditional culture. As of 2021, the Director of the institution is Juko-Mart Kõlar.[4]


Viljandi Culture Academy students at Gaudeamus festival outside Daugavpils University.

The UT Viljandi Culture Academy offers undergraduate study programmes in such fields as theatre and dance arts, music, Estonian native crafts, youth work and culture management. Most programmes are 4-years (240 ECTS), professional higher education programmes (equal with BA studies). One programme (School Music) is a BA programme with 3 study years (180 ECTS).

The Academy also offers MA graduate study programmes with 2 study years (120 ECTS), in such fields as music education, traditional music.

Since 2011, UT VCA offers an International Master programme, where teaching takes place in English. MA in Sound Engineering Arts .

Departments and their specialities:

  • Department of Culture Education: Leisure Time- and Culture Management;
  • Department of Performing Arts: Theatre Arts, Dance Arts, Performing Arts Visual Technology;
  • Department of Music: Traditional Music, Jazz Music, Music Education, Sound Engineering;
  • Department of Estonian Native Crafts: Native Textile, Native Construction, Native Metalwork, Inherited Crafts.

Research and Creative studies[edit]

In the last decades, the UT VCA’s main area of research has been the humanities, but there is an increasing amount of cooperation with social, economic, technological and material sciences. The contemporary teaching methods within creative arts, non-formal education and education in arts and music are among the most covered applied research areas. The most remarkable development has taken place in the field of applied inherited crafts. In 2009 the Academy began publishing a series of academic publications, Studia Vernacula.[5]

International cooperation[edit]

There are also various international projects in which different departments from the academy are taking part. In addition, the academy also participates in the activities of several international university networks:[6]

  • AEC the European Association of Conservatoires.
  • IASJ the International Association of Schools of Jazz.
  • NORDTRAD a Nord Plus network of academies and universities in the Nordic and Baltic countries offering third level education in traditional music.
  • NORTEAS a Nord Plus network for Nordic and Baltic Theatre and Dance Institutions of Higher Education.
  • DAMA a Nord Plus network of Dance and Media Art Schools.
  • NNME a Nordic Network for Music Education.
  • NORDPULS a Nord Plus network of academies and universities in the Nordic and Baltic countries providing professional music training in the area of pop, jazz and related music genres.

UT VCA has signed bilateral co-operation agreement in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme with many universities[7] (selection):


In Tallinn in the year 1952, the Tallinn Culture School (est: Tallinna Kultuurharidusala Kool) – later the Tallinn School of Cultural Education (Tallinna Kultuurharidustöö Kool) was founded, where specialists are educated for libraries and community centres.[8] By 1960, the school building in Tallinn has become too small and the Tallinn School of Cultural Education is transferred to Viljandi. In 1978, the school takes its new name, Viljandi Culture School (Viljandi Kultuurikool). In the autumn of 1991, the educational institution is reorganised into Viljandi Culture College (Viljandi Kultuurikolledž), providing applied higher education within different areas of culture. In 2003, the Viljandi Culture College becomes the Viljandi Culture Academy and in 2005 it joins the University of Tartu.[9]


Main Building

The oldest part of the building was built in 1860 as a town-palace by count Theodor von Helmersen, the owner of Karula manor house in the north of Viljandi and was registered as a protected architectural monument in 1998.[10]

Music House

The Music House of UT VCA was opened in December 2005. The building is home to the whole music department of the academy, including the chairs of traditional music, classical- and church-music, jazz music, and school music. The music house is of importance not only for the academy but for the whole city. The renovated building is situated in the heart of Viljandi city as well as the main building. Both buildings contribute to the idea of a culture district in the city centre. The Music house, Carl Robert Jakobson street 14, is located at the corner of Carl Robert Jakobson- and Lossi street, in the historical monument preservation zone of Viljandi's old town.[11] The house was built in 1888 in historicist style as a two-storey stone dwelling house, which belonged in the beginning to the Viljandi governor of the Russian tsar, baron von Wolff.[12] In 1917 the building hosted the Viljandi war-revolution committee. Later it was home to the staff of the Sakala partisan battalion and in soviet time it was used as a war-commissariat. After Estonia restored its independence in the beginning of the 1990s, the building was used as the Viljandi department of Estonia's state-defence. The building has been protected as an architectural monument since 1964.[13]

Traditions and main events[edit]

  • The Viljandi Guitar Festival this international guitar festival has taken place in the third week of September since 2008.[14]
  • The Student Theatre Festival TTP this international three-day festival started in 2003.[15]
  • School Jazz = Jazz School a three-day workshop seminar for young students of jazz music from all over Estonia.[16] Young people are instructed by the best professional jazz musicians and there is a joint open concert for all participants every evening.
  • Dance Week every year the world celebrates the International Dance Day on 29 April, and the academy is no exception. Since 2010 the celebration is organized as a week full of dance performances, workshops, films and open courses in Viljandi’s secondary schools and in the academy led by students, teachers and alumni.[17]
  • Weekly jazz nights the Jazz Club gatherings see performances by both aspiring and famous jazz musicians.[18]
  • Culture Wednesdays performance events organised monthly by students, alumni and guests of the Performing Arts Department.[19]
  • Public Lecture Series "Own Culture" is annually organised lecture series on Estonian heritage culture for the local community.[20]

Product development[edit]

Incubator of Creative Industries in Viljandi County - The academy also heads a project with the aim of developing an Incubator of Creative Industries. The Incubator has two different direction or centres: textile - handicraft and metal. The first compartment opened its doors in the academic year 2010-2011.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Postimees: Viljandi kultuuriakadeemia ühineb Tartu ülikooliga". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Tartu Ülikooli Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia". Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Tartu Ülikooli Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia". Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Juko-Mart Kõlar". Tartu Ülikool. 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Puutööraamat".
  6. ^ "Kultuur". Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  7. ^ UT VCA's partner universities
  8. ^ "Tartu Ülikooli Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia". Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Postimees: Viljandi kultuuriakadeemia ühineb Tartu ülikooliga". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  10. ^ "14715 Elamu Viljandis Tallinna 16, 19.saj. I pool • Mälestiste otsing • Mälestised".
  11. ^ "27010 Viljandi vanalinna muinsuskaitseala • Mälestiste otsing • Mälestised".
  12. ^ "Sakala Ajaleht".[dead link]
  13. ^ "Tourism Info".
  14. ^ "Viljandi Guitar Festival". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Tudengite Teatripäevad » In English". Archived from the original on 16 September 2009.
  16. ^ " | Eesti kultuur Eestis ja Maailmas".
  17. ^ "Tantsunädal pakub nii vaatamist kui liikumist". 24 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Jazz".
  19. ^ "Sakala: Akadeemia alustas kultuurikolmapäevadega". Archived from the original on 24 July 2007.
  20. ^ "Eesti Pärimusmuusika Keskus".
  21. ^ "Viljandi Loomeinkubaator avati rõõmuga". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012.

External links[edit]