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Virtual CECT : About CECT

The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory is an EU Regional Development Fund project, with a planned working period of 2008-2015. The activities that develop the relationships and synergies between the different disciplines in the Centre of Excellence are based on a tradition of cooperation between Human and Social Sciences. By supporting cultural research in different fields, the Centre of Excellence fosters the conditions necessary to create convergence points and heuristic moments through collaborative work.

The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory is made up of eight research groups which work at both Tartu and Tallinn universities, thus supporting inter-university cooperation. The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory contributes to raising both the methodological and theoretical levels in cultural research, and the sustainability of cultural research in Estonia. By juxtaposing and comparing data, theories and analytical methods, and through the creation of an interdisciplinary environment, the development of cooperation, and by becoming acquainted with other spheres of research, the Centre of Excellence strives towards significant changes in both the self-understanding of the disciplinary fields it encompases and the understanding of general theoretical models.

The leader of the Centre of Excellence is Professor Valter Lang; however, decisions relating to the Centre of Excellence involve the leaders of all research groups. Research personnel, graduate students and supporting personnel belonging to the different research groups are all members of the Centre of Excellence.

The broader aims of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory are:
- To promote cultural research in Estonia
- To collect and store empirical data and to devise databases
- To foster an environment that promotes the creation of more flexible and dynamic theories of culture
- To create a methodology for research into cultural systems and processes, to unite different fields and to permit the attainment of a more comprehensive understanding of culture.

The research groups in the Centre of Excellence are united by the general concepts of memory and identity. These concepts are defined as changing, context-based phenomena that cover a diverse background, and include the differences between the disciplinary histories.

The main publications of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory are the Approaches to Culture Theory book series and special issues in academic journals and book series for school teachers. The main events organised by the Centre of Excellence include: an annual international autumn conference, focusing on different general theoretical subjects; theoretical seminars that take place regularly as an on-going theoretical and methodological discussion uniting the research groups; activities for graduate students within the framework of the European Social Fund’s Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts project.