Drawing by Lotman


Learning in Transformation 

The 14th Annual Lotman Days at Tallinn University and Tartu Semiotics Summer School celebrate 60 years from the beginning of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics

 28-31 AUGUST 2024, VILJANDI


Registration to the conference is now open! More information of conference webpage: https://tsss.ut.ee/registration-0/


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 congress will take place on 28–31 August in Viljandi, Estonia. 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.



Edna Andrews (Duke University, Durham, North Carolina)

Alexander Etkind (Central European University, Vienna) 

Barend van Heusden (University of Groningen)



We invite proposals for individual presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion). You can submit your abstract HERE.  In case you wish to present in Russian, then please enter your abstract HERE. 


If you are interested in organising a thematic panel involving 3 or 4 presentations, please indicate the title of the panel and the name of the main organizer(s) in the abstract submission form that is linked above. 



Submissions open: 18th of January 2024

Deadline for submissions: 15th of April 2024

Presenters will be informed of the decision by 30th of April 2024

Early registration starts: 1st of May 2024

Early registration ends: 1st of June 2024

Registration closes: 1st of July 2024



The conference fee applies to all participants regardless of whether you attend as a presenter or as a listener. The fee covers participation in the conference programme, coffee breaks, admission to reception and cultural programme. Details about registration and payment will be published on the conference homepage before the 1st of May. 


Early fee until 

Late fee from 

Regular participant 100 eur

Regular participant 130 eur

Student 80 eur

Student 110



In case you have any questions, you can write to conference secretary Maarja Ojamaa semiotics@ut.ee. In case you prefer to write in Russian, then please contact Darja Dorving, darja.dorving@tlu.ee.

For more information, visit our website: http://tsss.ut.ee/

Follow our conference updates also on Facebook


The Conference is organised by the Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu; the School of Humanities, Tallinn University;  Juri Lotman Semiotics Repository, Tallinn University; Tartu University Viljandi Culture Academy; and the Estonian Association of Semiotics.


Organizing Committee:

Darja Dorving (Juri Lotman Semiotics Repository at Tallinn University)

Kristi Jõeste (Tartu University Viljandi Culture Academy)

Tatjana Kuzovkina (Juri Lotman Semiotics Repository at Tallinn University)

Merit Maran (Juri Lotman Semiotics Repository at Tallinn University)

Daniele Monticelli (Tallinn University)

Maarja Ojamaa (University of Tartu)

Tiit Remm (Estonian Association of Semiotics, University of Tartu)

Silvi Salupere (University of Tartu)

Marek Tamm (Tallinn University)

Kadri Tüür (Tartu University Viljandi Culture Academy, Tallinn University)