Team of the UNESCO Chair
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Kristin Kuutma, UNESCO Chairholder, Professor of Cultural Studies
Aet Annist, Associate Professor of Ethnology
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa, Associate Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore
Kristiina Porila, UNESCO Cooperation Specialist
Reet Ruusman, Project Manager at the Department of Ethnology
Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Applied Studies of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Professor of Cultural Studies, PhD
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Kristin Kuutma's keynote "Critical (Re)conceptualizations in the Politics of Heritage" at the seminar ""No such thing as heritage"? – From Basic Assumptions and Constructs to Reconceptualizations" held at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (University of Helsinki).
Masters & PhD Supervision (choice)
- Caroline Haubold „The Role of Song Celebrations and Choral Societies in the Formation and Manifestation of the Baltic German Identity. PhD, under supervision.
- Alena Shisheliakina „Religious and gender minority performances: contesting the dominant uses of heritage“. PhD, under supervision.
- Siarhiej Makarevič „Revitalisation of Local Weaving Tradition in Hancavicy District (Belarus)“. MA, under supervision.
- Mare Mätas, MA about Kihnu cultural heirtage, under supervision.
- Katarina Stradner, MA (2021) „Creating a Representation: The Singing to the Accompaniment of the Gusle as a Nomination to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage“
- Triinu Arak, MA (2020) "Inventory of the Choral Landscape in Tartu, Estonia in the Years 2017-2019". In Estonian language.
Associate Professor of Ethnology, PhD
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At the analytical centre of Aet Annist's attention is developing the concept of dispossession in its different forms (social, symbolic, ethnic dispossession and dispossession of the future) as well as the new class relations emerging from this setting, as a continuation of dispossession or in reaction to this.
In such processes, institutionalisation of heritage culture bears a particularly important role in peripheral regions - a theme Annist has addressed within the IRG project led by the UNESCO Chair holder Kristin Kuutma as well as within the Horizon2020 project PROMISE, led by Manchester University.
Annist's current research interests encompass the theme of climate socialities and links between forest protests and heritage culture.
She has contributed regularly to Estonian media, to applied research for Estonian ministries and Parliament as a consultant, to art exhibitions as a writer and as an activist, consultant and facilitator to the activities of Estonian and British protest groups.
Masters & PhD Supervision (choice)
- Daina Pupkevičiūtė „Relationships as permaculture in the context of climate change“. PhD, under supervision.
- Bianka Plüschke-Altof, PhD (2017) „Images of the Periphery Impeding Rural Development? Discursive Peripheralization of Rural Areas in Post-Socialist Estonia“. Co-supervisor Andres Kuusik.
- Mirjam Rennit „Estonian Fridays For Future ja Extinction Rebellion / Vastuhakk Väljasuremisele groups and activists“. MA, under supervision in Estonian language.
- Ann Aaresild, MA (2020) "“I Don’t Think Newspapers Influenced Us”: The Role of Media and Its Changes in Estonian Expatriate Communities in Canada and the U.S. from the Beginning of the Cold War until Today". In Estonian language, Tallinn University.
- Ede Schank-Tamkivi, MA (2019) „Eesti by the Bay: Transnationalism/long distance nationalism in the Estonian diasporaa“. Tallinn University.
Associate Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, PhD
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa conducts research on ethnicity, nationalism and integration in Estonia and is fascinated by living with difference as it is experienced in daily life and institutionalised in policies. She is consequently interested in processes of heritagisation and in inclusions, exclusions and interventions by means of heritage management.
As a folklorist, she is drawn to traditions that do not fit easily into UNESCO’s formulation of intangible cultural heritage. Her ongoing research project (2018-2021), a start-up grant funded by the Estonian Research Council, explores these topics through the lens of belonging and non-belonging.
As an educator, she is intrigued by the genre of Master’s thesis that invites students to apply in practice the theoretical knowledge acquired during their studies and to learn new skills.
Seljamaa collaborates frequently with the Estonian Folk Culture Centre. She has curated art exhibitions and explored the use of ethnographic methods in the study of culture and in artistic research.
Masters & PhD Supervision (choice)
- Holsapple, Christiana „Nation-Building and Identities in Contemporary Gagauzia“. PhD, under supervision.
- Digne Ūdre „Visually interpreted ideologies: ornament as contested cultural heritage in contemporary Latvia“. PhD, under supervision.
- Sohail Arshad „Biradari System: A Dominating Factor in the Politics of Punjab Province“. MA, under supervision.
- Lily Jane Gartland MA (2021)„The Ghostlore Podcast: The Tangible in the Intangible“. Co-supervisor Ülo Valk.
- Paulina Vituščanka MA (2020) „Vernacular Belarusian Writing in the Eastern Provinces of the Second Polish Republic: a Case Study of Narratives from the Lithuanian Central State Archives 368.1.22 and 368.1.49“. Co-supervisor Katre Kikas.
- Yuliya Len MA (2019) „Jewish Community of Berdychiv and the Early Soviet Policies“.
- Mohammad Abu Sayed Toyon MA (2019) „Opportunities and Challenges in Promoting Culture: Empirical Study on Cultural Institutions of Tartu“.
- Michele Tita MA (2019) „Tarantism: from An Ancient Syndrome to a New Form of Heritage in Southern Italy“. Co-supervisor Ülo Valk.
- Lisandra Roosioja MA (2018) „An Ethnographic Exploration of the Phenomenon behind the International Success of Ethno”. Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
UNESCO Cooperation Specialist
Kristiina Porila got her Master’s degree from the University of Kiel (Germany) where she studied ethnology (Europäische Ethnologie/Volkskunde).
Before working for the UNESCO Chair, she has been involved in implementing the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Estonia. For seven years, she worked at the Estonian Folk Culture Centre, where – among other tasks – she was part of the team who conceptualised and started the Estonian inventory for intangible cultural heritage (available only in Estonian) and built up a training programme about intangible heritage.
She also has experience working with the Convention on the international level – e.g. evaluating nominations files for UNESCO’s international lists of intangible heritage (in the Subsidiary and Consultative Bodies) and representing Estonia at international meetings.
Research Project Specialist
Project Manager at the Department of Ethnology
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