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Arts of Survival – Unique Forward-looking Experiences in Tartu and Southern Estonia

Tartu with Southern Estonia is the European Capital of Culture in 2024. Tartu 2024 is guided by the artistic concept Arts of Survival. These are the knowledge, skills, and values that will help everyone lead a good life in the future. Tartu and Southern Estonia’s goal is to share these values with and to learn more from Europe.

01. Apr Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Photo: Mana Kaasik

This year, on the 24th of February, the
world changed. So has the artistic concept Arts of Survival gained another
meaning, which pains us all. Europe deals with survival in its literal sense.
The people of Ukraine are fighting for survival before our eyes, in our home
Europe that we share. 

Overnight the role of European Capitals of Culture changed.
We find ourselves in a situation where European cooperation and unity is necessary
for the survival of culture. Culture has always been an escape from difficult
times and the proponent of peace and democracy. Today, Estonia has a lot to say
to Europe, due to our history and geographical location. We must speak of, learn,
and teach the Arts of Survival. 

The four values or Arts of Survival that are
reflected in the Tartu 2024 programme are uniqueness, sustainability,
awareness, and co-creation. In February, the European Capital of Culture
introduced the first 25 main programme projects, which reflect these values through
their events and activities. 

This is a symbolic milestone for any European
Capital of Culture because the audience now has the opportunity to learn more
about the upcoming programme. “We invite people from Estonia and abroad to
experience all that Tartu and Southern Estonia has to offer. The events in our
programme are special, they change the world through arts,” says Tartu 2024 Artistic
Director Kati Ilves. Only two years are left until the title year. According to
the Artistic Director more events will be added to official programme this year
and the next. 

Good Urban and Rural Living

Photo: Mana Kaasik

The European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme asks how to live well both in
the city and in the countryside as an individual and a society. Sustainable
culture is socially and environmentally responsible.

The title year programme highlights local uniqueness. It focuses on the characteristics
of Tartu and Southern Estonia that currently are lesser-known in Europe and
perhaps even in Estonia in general. Nevertheless, these peculiarities are
beloved by locals. Uniqueness is what inspires people to travel to Southern
Estonia, spend time here and return. 

“We have received many outstanding proposals for
the title year programme from Southern Estonia through the regional project application
round,” said Tartu 2024 Southern Estonian Coordinator Annela Laaneots. “We will
showcase our uniqueness and fascinating stories to visitors from near and far.
There is a lot to look forward to!”  

Trailblazers in Environmentalism

Photo: Mana Kaasik

Our every action affects the environment. Cultural
management must be sustainable. All events organised under the Tartu 2024 banner
must follow the guidelines for organising environmentally friendly events. This
means that a quarter of Estonia does something unprecedented and organises
hundreds of events based on same principles. 

The Tartu 2024 programme line Tartu with Earth manager
Triin Pikk finds that the culture sector can support environmentally friendly lifestyles:
“Cultural events can be trailblazers in sustainability as well. The European
Capital of Culture title gives us the opportunity to speak up about topics that
are near and dear to us. Tartu and Southern Estonia values the environment, and
this is reflected in our cultural programme through our environmental strategy.” 

Critically aware co-creation

Photo: Mana Kaasik

Education and ingenuity are historically associated
with the university town Tartu and Southern Estonia. The Tartu 2024 programme explores
the relationships between people, technology, and sciences through the arts. Entrepreneurially
aware projects promote participation in culture by creating new experiences and

Tartu 2024 is defined by cross-generational,
cross-sectoral, and transnational co-creation. It is the European Capital of
Culture for grandparents, mothers, fathers, and children alike.  

Carrying the European Capital of Culture title is
the largest cross-sectoral project in Southern Estonian history, and it will be
the main event in Estonia in 2024. It is the biggest cultural initiative in Europe
and a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Tartu and Southern Estonia in
all of its glory.