International Conference "Learning in Transformation"

Tartu Semiotics Summer School and 14th Annual Lotman Days (Tallinn University), celebrate 60 years from the beginning of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics.


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2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the First Summer School of Secondary Modelling Systems – an event out of which the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics emerged. Juri Lotman has described the atmosphere at the Summer School gatherings as dense with ‘fruitful contradictions’ and characterised by the diversity of interests, differences in mentality and overall dissimilarity in everything, which led to a continuous and productive dialogue between the participants (Lotman [1990] 1998: 85).

In this way, these gatherings were a living example of one of the central postulates of Lotmanian semiotics, namely that a new understanding of the world can arise only in conditions of partial incompatibility. That is, in situations where misunderstandings between the dialogue partners become a catalyst for creativity.

While creativity is primarily associated with unpredictability and the strive to transgress pregiven boundaries in culture, from the Lotmanian perspective, the process of creating new knowledge is always simultaneously deeply rooted in cultural memory and guided by existing cultural models. Such a view of the creative mechanism of culture provides valuable insight into the question of how semiotic systems learn regardless of whether we observe the process of learning on the level of an individual mind or on the level of culture as a collective intellect.

In the context of social acceleration, the escalation of political conflicts, global crises, cultural fragmentation, and the growing impact of artificial intelligence, our understanding of what it means to learn in this changing world is going through a rapid transformation.

We invite theoretical explorations, historical inquiries and specific case studies that would help to illuminate the nature of these transformations in various areas of life.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Culture as education: perspectives on acquiring culture in the contemporary world;
- The prospects (hopes and threats) of artificial intelligence (and digital technology more broadly) in teaching humanities;
- The role of arts and artistic models of the world in the curriculum;
- The Summer School of Secondary Modelling Systems as a model for inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration;
- Edusemiotics and semiotic theory of learning;
- History of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics;
- The role of schools of thought / art / science in cultural dynamics;
- Representation of the topic of schools and education in artistic texts;
- Creative research methods and learning;
- Nature as a teacher: Ecological approaches to education;
- Educational futures.

The official languages of the congress are English and Russian. All participants are expected to be present on-site, as the conference will not have the option of online participation.

Conference "Learning in Transformation"