The Institute of Cultural Research works in cooperation with academic centres in Europe, Asia and North America. Studies at the institute open up Estonian culture to world culture.
Located in the historical eighteenth-century von Bock building in the town centre, the Institute of Cultural Research offers education in literature and theatre studies, ethnology, folkloristics, applied anthropology and heritage studies.
Research at the institute addresses empirical and theoretical dimensions of culture past and present. Ethnologists focus on everyday life, identity and culture dynamics, worldview and religion, foodways and tourism. They work in Estonia but also among the Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia and in the Arctic North. Folklorists study folklore as a tradition-bound creative process with roots, functions and meanings in social life. Besides classical narrative genres and songs they study oral history and life stories; they do fieldwork in Estonia, among the Baltic-Finnic peoples and in India.
Research at the Department of Literature and Theatre Studies focuses on verbal and performative arts in Estonia within the context of world literature. Emphasis is on theory, narratology, poetics and reception.
Research work at the interdisciplinary Centre for Oriental Studies ranges from Buddhist studies to the cultures of the ancient Near East. In addition to teaching in Estonian, the institute offers classes in English and an MA programme in English language on folkloristics and applied heritage studies.