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TARTU 2024: Curating a Capital of Culture in Estonia

Headquartered at the dynamic Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, we will study firsthand how this Baltic nation has been a resilient powerhouse in the face of numerous occupations over the centuries. “Survival” for the Estonians has indeed become an “art” over the years, evidencing itself within particular literary, visual, performative, and culinary forms that continue to endure and evolve.           

About the program

At the centre of our Field school is Tartu, Estonia’s Capital of Culture in 2024. Given the country’s deep history, it is no wonder that Tartu chose the theme “Arts of Survival” for its cultural programming. What a bold, unusual and—as we will see—a very Estonian choice. Known for their stalwart attitude and quiet reserve, this nation has embraced a unique curatorial theme that describes a way of life and a strategy for identity perseverance that has held tightly for centuries. We will study firsthand how the many artistic directors, curators, and artists involved in the City of Culture theme have interpreted what “survival” means to Estonia today.    


We will spend time in the cities of Tallinn and Tartu but will also take advantage of Estonia’s small scale and varied land, sea, and cityscapes to travel throughout the country by foot, train, tram, bus, and boat. Our itinerary will bring us to Narva in the north, to Maajaam in the south, and out to Hiiumaa Island to experience “multiple Estonias” which visitors to the official cultural program in Tartu may not necessarily see. We will also eschew restaurant meals as much as possible, instead cooking together using local ingredients and travelling with a chef who will share particular Estonian “arts of survival” that include picking, foraging, smoking, salting, and pickling natural ingredients.           

At the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, we will enjoy historical and cultural study sessions, on-site visits to cultural events, behind-the-scenes conversations with cultural professionals, guided museum and gallery visits, freeform urban dérives, and special overnights at secluded rural and island residencies. Undergraduate and graduate students from all departments are welcome to join us in the bustling city centres, on the open waters of the Baltic Sea, and in Estonia’s rich pine forests. This course is ideal for cultural practitioners who are interested in how complex histories find their way into public cultural platforms. Those who curate, make, write, design, choreograph, perform, and collaborate will find a place in this course. Acting as both foil and backdrop to students’ more personal explorations, we will draw upon both the complex history and the cultural adaptability of the Estonian people and their territory for inspiration.         


Dates & courses

Dates: June 15 2024 - July 2 , 2024

Undergraduate Course: FFAS 398

Graduate Course: FFAS 660, FFAS 860

Professor Rebecca Duclos (Department of Art History) has been a Visiting Faculty member at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn since 2022 and a full-time faculty member and former dean at Concordia, since 2015. Her courses in Art History focus on disciplinary crossovers, non-traditional approaches to research, and experimental pedagogies. In Estonia, she co-teaches Museum Studies courses focused on curatorial strategies in cultural institutions and independent artistic communities.

Estimated cost 

Program fee:  Concordia will charge program participants for 3 credits of undergraduate tuition and a program fee $2200 CDN to cover

  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Workshops, Materials, and Transportation within Talinn

Available Funding

Peter N. Thomson Family Field School Award

The Faculty of Fine Arts invites applications for the Peter N. Thomson Family Field School Awards. The Award offers an amount of $1,300 for thirty (30) eligible Fine Arts undergraduate or graduate students accepted to a Field School hosted by the Faculty of Fine Arts. Please consult the Peter N. Thomson Field School Award webpage for application instructions.

Quebec Mobility Bursary

To offset costs, Concordia offers a bursary of $1350 CDN to students who qualify. To qualify, you must be a Concordia student enrolled in a Concordia Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree program and approved to participate in the field school.

  • Field school applicants do not need to submit a bursary application as it is part of the on-line field school application, and you will automatically be considered for the Quebec Mobility bursary.
  • The bursary will be applied to student accounts. Details on the payment of the bursary will be sent to successful applicants. 

Students in Faculty of Fine Arts programs may also apply for the Thomson Award, which can be combined with the Quebec Mobility Bursary to offset the full cost of the course.


Participants will primarily stay in converted historic buildings, small hotels, and country inns. Students will for the most part share double occupation in facilities with a kitchen for independent food preparation and will often enjoy communal meals prepared by a local chef.

Application process

To be eligible to participate in the field school, you must meet one of the following criteria.

  • Be enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program, with a minimum 2.7 cumulative culmative GPA (CGPA) and have completed at least 24 credits toward your current degree program by the time you leave for the program.
  • Be enrolled in a Master’s degree program, with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (CGPA) and have completed at least 9 credits toward your current degree program by the departure date.
  • Be enrolled in PhD degree program, have a 3.7 cumulative GPA (CGPA) and have completed at least 9 credits toward your current degree program by the departure date.

All students interested in applying to this program must attend an information session given by Concordia International.

Date: Monday  February 12th 2024

Time: 11:00-12:00

Zoom ID:

Submit the Concordia Field School Abroad Application by the application deadline of February 16, 2024. The application can be accessed through the Concordia International CSEP Mobility Portal.

Your application must also include:

  • A copy of your most recent unofficial Concordia transcript.
  • A letter of intent of 500-750 words describing why you wish to participate in the Estonia Field School and the kind of work you hope to accomplish while there. You should also make mention of what strengths or contributions you think you will bring to the group.



  • Concordia admissions decisions will be communicated by email after the application deadline.
  • Final admissions decisions will be made by the program director Dr. Rebecca Duclos.
  • Students admitted to the program will have to make a non-refundable $500 deposit to Student Accounts by March 19, 2024. Please be aware, however, that any deposit you make will first be applied to any outstanding balances you owe to Concordia.
  • Students admitted to the program will have to attend a mandatory pre-departure meeting on:
  • May 21, 2024 at 11:00 am on the following link: 

All information on this website is subject to change without notice; the program is subject to a minimum enrollment of 16 students to take place; and it may be cancelled at any time and for any reason.

Have a question?

Application Inquiries

Maral Abajian

Academic Inquiries

Dr. Rebecca Duclos
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