Centre for Landscape and Culture/Tallinn University, Institute of Humanities
Data Center Description
Centre for Landscape and Culture was established at Tallinn University, the Estonian Institute of Humanities in January 2007. It is the first time in Estonian geographical tradition when geography has moved away from natural sciences to humanities. The aim of the centre is twofold: to be an umbrella organization for the projects dealing with landscape studies and to focus on teaching courses and curricula related to landscape studies. The centre received financing from Estonian Science Foundation for six years to perform interdisciplinary project called ‘Landscape and practice’. The primary aim of the project is to explore landscape practice as a strategic dimension for the study of the complex interactions between landscape and heritage. To do that we use the combined approaches of (cultural) geography, ethnology/anthropology and folklore studies. The hypothesis of the research framework argues that societal changes cause ruptures/discontinuities that are inscribed in landscapes through practice; the changes may result changing of patterns and representations, making of heritage, but also in changing practices themselves. We study ruptures in two ways: the process of the societal change: how the societal changes are transmitted into changes in the landscape (practice change) and; the consequences of the change: how the changing practices are reflected in patterns, processes, functions, contexts. The project concentrates on the interwoven terms of landscape, practice and heritage. Landscape, being the core term in geography, is understood in our project as an area as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors. This definition assumes that landscapes evolve through time and that a landscape is a whole, where natural and cultural components are studied together, not separately. Moreover, landscape is anchored with human life, it is not only perceived through gaze, the way Anglo-American cultural geography insisted in the 1980s, but is practiced and dwelled as seen in ethnology, anthropology and the ‘Nordic approach to landscape’. In heritage studies, Lowenthal has shown how the morphology of landscape as a material phenomenon is understood in the context of landscape as an area of cultural activity, a political landscape in its broadest meaning.
The centre embraces researchers, senior researchers as well as PhD and Master’s students offering a broad variety of possibilities to take up initiatives as well as seminars and courses around themes of space and landscape. Head of the centre is Hannes Palang (who is also the director of the Estonian Institute of Humanities at Tallinn University.
Centre for Landscape and Culture is a new institution open up for co-operation with universities and research centres of similar interests.