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The first part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 main programme was presented at an unforgettable Ice Rave

European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 celebrated the birth of its programme in Tartu with an Ice Rave. The residents of Tartu and the organisers of the events gathered on the skating rink in Town Hall Square, where the energetic and unpredictable band REDEL gave a wild concert from the windows of the former dental clinic. This was followed by the audiovisual band OOPUS premiering their new track ‘Maailma loomine’, after which DJ Kersten Kõrge closed the night with pulsating rave music.  

Skating rink.
17. Feb Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Photo: Mana Kaasik.

This is a major
milestone for the European Capital of Culture, as the programme has now been
revealed to the public. ‘In 2024, Tartu and Southern Estonia will hold the
title of European Capital of Culture. We invite everyone from Estonia and
abroad to join in on the experiences here,’ said Kati Ilves, the Artistic Director
of Tartu 2024. ‘The Ice Rave was held to present the first events that will be
organised under the official programme to the public; these will bring unique
experiences to audiences in the coming years and will transform the world
through the arts.’ As yet, there are still two years to go until the title year
opening event. According to Ilves, the official programme will be updated with
many more events throughout this year and the next.

Urmas Klaas,
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Tartu 2024 Foundation and Mayor of
Tartu, believes that being awarded the title of European Capital of Culture
gives the city of Tartu and the whole of Southern Estonia an excellent
opportunity to raise the region’s profile, not just in Estonia, but throughout
Europe. ‘I am truly pleased that we have managed to put together such a strong
programme that tackles the global challenges we are facing from many different
angles. These projects deal with the deepening climate crisis, social tensions,
the survival of communities – all of which are extremely topical issues,’ Klaas

A pop-up exhibition
dedicated to the Capital of Culture programme is now open in the Town Hall
Square of Tartu, where visitors can learn all about the events that will soon
be launched in Tartu and Southern Estonia.

The European Capital of
Culture programme was presented with an updated visual identity for Tartu 2024,
which was created in collaboration with the Tartu-based creative agency NOPE

The first part of the
main programme for European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 consists of 25

Kissing Tartu is an initiative aimed at promoting compassion and
respect towards others and oneself. The initiative will consist of an
educational programme, a grand concert performance, and an unprecedented mass
kissing event. It will include simple and honest discussions and excellent
entertainment. The message intended by the organisers is: ‘Because what is life
without kissing? Nothing but the sad passage of time.’ Organisers: Tartu
Student Club, Kulno Kungla, Meelika Hirmo, Kadri Asmer, University of Tartu
Youth Academy.

Tartu World University is a series of community academies. At these
academies, active communities from Southern Estonia and the world’s top
scientists and cultural figures will meet to inspire each other and make the
world a better place. The participants will join forces to seek solutions to
global problems at a local level and vice versa. Organisers: Triinu Laan and
the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics.

Toomemägi Revisited is a project aimed at revitalising Toomemägi, the
heart of the city of Tartu, by imbuing it with light, culture, and science. The
city’s residents and visitors will be able to take a stroll in the ruins of the
cathedral while their full beauty is revealed by a well-designed lighting
solution, as well as visit surprising installations on Toomemägi that explore
the cultural heritage of the University of Tartu. Toomemägi is worth visiting!
Organisers: Mariann Raisma, Karoliina Kalda, Külli Lupkin, and the University
of Tartu Museum.

Hybrid European
Democracy Festival
. In 2024, Tartu will
simultaneously be a globally recognised digital city and a small green town.
Everyone who cares about the future is invited to attend a Prejudice/Opinion Festival
in Tartu as well as a pan-European Hybrid European Democracy Festival. The
discussions will explore intriguing lines of thought on all imaginable aspects
of Europe, ranging from Southern Estonian smoke saunas to Western European
university campuses. Organisers: DD Foundation, MTÜ Arvamusfestival, and
Üliõpilaskonna Sihtasutus.

The project Curated
will fill the parks and green areas of downtown Tartu with
life: crowds of people, lush vegetation, exciting activities, games and sports,
and landscape art. This will make Tartu an even better home for plants,
insects, small animals, and people alike. Organisers: Merle Karro-Kalberg,
Karin Bachmann, Anna-Liisa Unt.

The project Arts of
Survival Documentaries
aims to create a collection of documentary films.
These documentaries will explore the diversity of Southern Estonia and will be
co-produced by both Estonian and foreign directors. The short films will be
combined into an ‘Arts of Survival’ film collection that will be played in
cinemas across Estonia, on TV, and at special screenings in small villages.
Those who prefer to dress up for such occasions will get to enjoy films
celebrating the uniqueness of Southern Estonia at various prestigious European
film festivals. Organisers: Liisa Nurmela, Anna-Liisa Ingver, Kaarel Kuurmaa.

The project The
Route Diverse
will explore Southern Estonia through the eyes of
various linguistic and cultural groups in a series of travelling performances.
Characters, stories, and skills have always been highly regarded in Southern
Estonia! Organisers: Nastja Pertšjonok and International House Tartu

Stencibility Goes Europe will introduce both local and international audiences
to the unique features of Tartu’s street artists and their works. In 2022 and
2023, the project will travel to various European cities and festivals, while
in 2024, a grand special Stencibility festival will take place in Tartu.
Organisers: Kadri Lind, Sirje Joala.

Nature Creates is a festival that aims to raise awareness of the
biodiversity around us. The festival will delve into the connections between
nature and culture in urban spaces and present nature-inspired creative works
to audiences. Organisers: Margus Kasterpalu, Veljo Runnel, Reet Mägi.

Enter Woodland Spirits is at once an online anthology of natural heritage
put together from the collections of the Estonian Folklore Archives, as well as
an international digital art exhibition devoted to exploring the meaning of
ancient traditions. Organisers: Taive Särg, Henri Hütt, Ave Goršič.

Wild Bits is an open-air exhibition of technological art that
invites visitors to contemplate the connections between nature and technology.
The project will include two smaller outdoor exhibitions in the European
Capital of Culture Kaunas in 2022 and in Latvia in 2023. The main exhibition
will be held as a culmination of the project at the technology and art farm
Maajaam near Otepää. Organisers: Timo Toots, Mari-Liis Rebane, Kadri Lind,
Marie Kliiman, Taavi Suisalu.

Growing with your Food is an initiative that aims to promote growing food in
a sustainable way, for which it will partner with educational institutions and
families from across Southern Estonia. The programme will teach children to
appreciate food and how it is grown, exploring everything from planting seeds
all the way to composting. Growing with your Food will spread the message of
homegrown clean food across Europe! Organisers: Elen Peetsmann, Karin Pai, Eeva

ReVogue Fashion Festival aims to educate the public about how they can avoid
fast fashion and overconsumption and make more eco-conscious choices as fashion
consumers. The project will include various fashion-related events, including a
fashion fair and three fashion shows: MoodPerformanceTants, OmaMood and
Antonius Fashion Show. Slow fashion is the new fashion! Organisers: Maiken
Austin and Estonian Fashion Festival.

Reclaiming the River
Emajõgi and the Great Lakes
is an international
boating festival that will enable both Estonians and visitors from Europe to
explore the exciting and little-known waterways connecting Lake Võrtsjärv to
Lake Peipus. The festival will include a diverse cultural and educational
programme whose activities will take place both on boats and ashore at local
harbours. Organisers: Liisa-Lota Kaivo,
Linda Saare, Kadi Ploom, Karoliina Lass.

Surrealism 100 will see four art projects brought to life at Tartu
Art Museum and the Estonian National Museum, devoted to the 100th anniversary
of the first Surrealist manifestos. These will be accompanied by a versatile
public and supporting programme. Organiser: Tartu Art Museum.

Hidden Worlds Expanding aims to expand the opportunities available for
creative self-expression to people with special needs. The project will bring
outsider art to wider audiences and, in the summer of 2024, will launch
international outsider art exhibitions in three Estonian cities: Tartu, Narva,
and Viljandi. Organisers: Mari Vallikivi, Eva Laantee Reintamm, Annika Vihmann.

Literary festival Prima
Vista 2024 “Futures Better and Worse”
is a cross-disciplinary literary festival that will explore modern
interpretations of utopias and dystopias in artistic and critical forms. The
festival will bring together writers, artists, academics, and culture
enthusiasts from various countries to map and unravel societal hopes and fears
in as diverse and comprehensive a way as possible. Organisers: Jaak Tomberg,
Agnes Neier.

Sound our Souls is a series of ambient music concerts that will take
place in Tartu. Visitors will be immersed in multi-faceted presentations
combining electronic music, psychogeographic theatre, visual effects, and light
projection. Each concert will be preceded by a thematic hearing experience
trek. Organisers: Tristan Rebane, Merili Laur, Anni Sikk.

Washing Machine Made of
is a joint exhibition
project dedicated to invention, ingenuity, recycling, and DIY efforts, put
together by the Estonian Road Museum, the Estonian Agricultural Museum, and
Tartu City Museum. Beetroot Washing Machine aims to give people of all ages and
skillsets the DIY bug! Organisers: Paavo Kroon (Estonian Road Museum), Madle
Uibo (Tartu City Museum), and Ilze Salnaja-Värv (Estonian Agricultural Museum).

Stand Up for Your Mind carries the message that despite the fact that good
mental health is acknowledged as essential for well-being, our problems are
often invisible and stigmatised. That is why we need to create a supportive and
caring culture of talking about mental health. Stand up for your Mind will help
explore mental health issues through humour by organising mental health cafés,
improv comedy groups, and stand-up performances in Southern Estonia, where both
professionals and locals will be given the stage to share their mental health
stories. Organisers: Minna Sild, Sandra Liiv, Mihkel Mooste. Partners: MTÜ
Peaasjad, MTÜ Improkool, Kinoteater MTÜ.

Creative Connections aims to foster the development of social skills and
mutual understanding through art. The project will involve the creation of an
educational programme linking the domains of art and social issues, works of
art that promote communication, and an exhibition of international contemporary
art. Organisers: Hanna-Liis Kont and Tartu Art Museum.

Through the City is a true story of Tartu and its people that aims to
collect assorted memories from the residents of the assorted districts of the
city. Through the City will fill Tartu with diverse creative endeavours and
offer a voice to those who do not normally participate in artistic circles.
Audiences will get to experience the districts of Tartu and the stories of its
people through a travelling production. Organisers: Tiiu Tamm, Jaanika Tammaru,
Merilyn Elge.

The South Estonian
Community Programme
is a region-wide inclusion initiative where the stage
will be given to exceptional communities who have created unique events through
which the story of the local places and people will be told to the rest of
Europe. Organisers: Kristiina Tammets, Tiina Ivask, Kerli Kanger, Endla Mitt,
Kaisa Timmi.

Crossing Generations will connect local and international audiences with
older generations to learn skills that are in danger of becoming lost to
history. In 2023 and 2024, the project will see various workshops teaching
archaic skills being held in Tartu and Southern Estonia. Organisers: Ants Siim,
Kärt Kunnus, and Anna Venchakova (Tartu City Museum).

Performa Borealis is an international festival of professional
performing arts that will explore themes of social responsibility and
eco-conscious theatre. The festival will take place in theatre halls and urban
spaces, where audiences will get to experience visual theatre, political
theatre, documentary theatre, contemporary dance and circus performances, and
more. Expect to be inspired and delighted in 2024! Organisers: Kristiina
Reidolv, Inga Koppel, MTÜ Performa Borealis.

More information about
the programme: