The Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (CEES)


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      Eesti-uuringute Tippkeskus

The 9th Annual Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies
Perception and Performativity in Arts and Culture in the Age of Technological Change
September 5–7, 2019, Tartu

The process of digitalisation in contemporary society is inevitable. However, digital should not be reduced to computer technology, because it embraces a wider set of sociocultural phenomena. Even the performing arts and cultural performances characterised by happening ‘here and now’ cannot escape the reality of this situation because digitalisation refers not only to specific technologies but also to specific ways of communication and the sociocultural contexts in which live performances take place. Research on how digitalisation changes all walks of our everyday life, from culture to politics, is still breaking new grounds.

Hans Thies Lehmann has warned that mediated perceptions have led to the erosion of the act of communication because there is no experience of a connection among the individual images received and no connection between the receiving and sending of signs (Lehmann 2006: 184). Live performances might avoid or overcome the erosion of communicaton, yet not necessarily. Nevertheless, also in mediated performances, an emancipated spectator or emancipated community might play the role of an active interpreter, developing their own translations (Rancière 2009: 22), even out of dispersed images.

A perspective on how digitalisation has affected performativity, performance, and perception in arts and culture in general is the main focus of the conference. More research is needed into the effects of the new mediated reality on arts and culture. We welcome presentations from interdisciplinary research areas (e.g. theatre, literary, film and art studies, musicology, folkloristics, ethnology, philosophy, linguistics, etc.) that tackle the issues concerning perception and performativity.

    Proposals on the following topics are invited:
  • performativity and authenticity;
  • functions and values of live performances;
  • performativity and perception of cultural performances;
  • relationships between performativity and technology;
  • change of perception due to technological developments;
  • audiences and reception of technological and digital arts;
  • audiences and reception of arts in the age of technological change;
  • historical perspectives on how technology influences the perception and performativity of arts;
  • performativity of the ‘post-digital’ performance.

Proposals (not exceeding 300 words) for 20-minute presentations should be sent to the conference organiser Hedi-Liis Toome ( by the deadline of 1 March 2019.

Please spread the information among your fellow researchers!

Important dates:
April 1, 2019 – submission of abstracts
April 15, 2019 – approval of abstracts
April 16 – August 10, 2019registration
August 10, 2019 – preliminary pogram

The working language of the conference is English. The conference is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies – CEES, TK 145). Conference is free of charge for participants.



By plane: The only direct flight to Tartu ( is a Finnair flight from Helsinki: every day except Sunday at 0:05 (12:05 am), arriving to Tartu at 0:55 (12:55 am). Otherwise, you can fly to Tallinn (186 km from Tartu) or Riga (246 km from Tartu), both of which are well connected to Tartu.

By bus: Several bus companies operate regular routes between Tallinn and Tartu. You can also take a direct bus to Tartu from Tallinn airport (approx. 10 EUR), see Lux Express for details and tickets. There is a ticket vending machine on the ground floor of the airport building. The trip from Tallinn to Tartu takes around 2.5 hours, with buses leaving Tallinn every half an hour or so from 5:40 to 23:59. There are several bus departures from Riga to Tartu daily.

By train: There are several direct trains per day from Tallinn to Tartu operated by Elron ( The trip takes two hours.


  1. Hotel Tartu (Soola 3, 51004 Tartu, Estonia)
    Standard Single: 45 EUR
    Standard Twin: 63 EUR
    Breakfast included

    Make a booking by an e-mail to, booking reference “CEES”.

Organisers: The working group of the CEES on narrative studies, PUT1481 "The Role of Imaginary Narrative Scenarios in Cultural Dynamics"

More information from the organisers:
Hedi-Liis Toome (, Head of the Estonian Association of Theatre Researchers and Critics
Anneli Saro (, Professor of Theatre Research, University of Tartu
Mare Kõiva (, Leading Researcher of the Estonian Literary Museum, Head of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies 
Anne Ostrak (, Project Manager of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies
Piret Voolaid (, Senior Research Fellow of the Estonian Literary Museum, Executive Manager of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies

PUT 475, IUT 22-5; EKKM14-344; CEES; EKM FO; © 'cps 18