February 11, 2022

Master of Urban Studies

Estonian Academy of Arts

Photo: Joosep Kivimäe.*

Photo: Joosep Kivimäe.*

Photo: Mattias Malk.

The Master of Urban Studies is a two-year, English-language program focused on contemporary urbanism. The program combines history, theory and practice to rethink prevailing understandings of urbanization, and to contribute to building more equitable urbanisms than the current ones. The main premise of the program is that the subject of urban studies is irreducible to the “city”: the global urban arena today, more than ever before, is where struggles over our collective future play out.

This transdisciplinary program builds on insights from critical urban geography, urban planning and architectural history. Urbanism is seen through the conceptual lenses of socio-spatial dialectics and uneven urban development. Themes addressed in the program include housing and gentrification; urban nature and ecology; infrastructure and global networks. Urban Studies will introduce you to the basics of urban design and planning, as well as to a range of skills such as how to conduct a field work and write critically about urbanism. The art school/architectural department where you will study provide a great environment to combine critical thought and creative imagination.

The core of the Urban Studies curriculum is our signature urban research studio, in which students analyze and participate in actual urban situations through a combination of desk research, field work and multi-sited interventions. The research studio allows for different outcome formats, such as essays/written reports, documentary videos and urban interventions. Recent or ongoing student projects focused on sites in Estonia, Poland, US, Chile and Pakistan (among other places), to explore, across a range of scales, topics such as gentrification, socio-environmental justice and care, and the role of ecological and digital imaginaries in contemporary urbanism, along with many other issues pertaining to how cities are shaped by relations of power. Visit here to see a sample of our projects. Additionally the curriculum consists of lecture courses, seminars, thematic workshops and skill-based training sessions, as well as experimental teaching methods such as collective reading retreats.

Academic staff and guests
The program is coordinated by Keiti Kljavin, Kaija-Luisa Kurik and Maroš Krivý. Tutors include Andra Aaloe, Hanna Husberg, Jussi Jauhiainen, Tahl Kaminer, Flo Kaserau, Leonard Ma, Kristi Grišakov, Mattias Malk, Agáta Marzec, Chiara Rabbiosi, Karlis Ratnieks, Helen Runting, Paco Ulman and Sean Tyler. Past guest speakers and critics include: Ross Exo Adams, Sandra Jasper, SECRETARY: Office for Architecture, SELIM, Helena Mattson and Tuomas Toivonen.

How to apply
Apply by March 1. Admission requirements are available here. For more information contact admissions [​at​]

About Estonian Academy of Arts
Established in 1914, the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in fine arts, design, architecture, media, visual studies, art culture, and conservation. In 2018, EKA moved to its new premises in the Kalamaja district in Tallinn, Estonia.

*Images above: (1) Paljassaare through time capsules. First year research studio course project by Luca Liese Ritter, 2021. (2) Paljassaare through time capsules. First year research studio course project by Nabeel Imtiaz, 2021.

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