EE: Minister Jaak Aaviksoo has said that the ministry has not dealt with any other university in recent years as much as with the Estonian Academy of Arts. However, it seems pretty clear today that there is not going to be a new building for the Academy in the coming few years. What are the main reasons why the Academy is still without its own building?
ML: The whole preparatory process for construction relied too much on expectations that failed to meet the real situation; the time scale was far too optimistic, it was hoped that all relevant parties would accept the project, which did not in fact meet the planning criteria, and the financing scheme was not thoroughly considered or covered by the available resources.
EE: Does Estonia’s long-term educational strategy foresee the Academy of Arts as an independent establishment or do the planned reforms intend to join the Academy with Tallinn University and thus keep only two universities in Estonia (in Tartu and Tallinn)?
ML: Adding and subtracting are not really essential in making strategic choices. The Academy of Arts as a separate university must certainly survive, although it is quite clear that in some areas we must find solutions where some activities can be transferred from other universities to the Academy of Arts. However, there are areas where it might be necessary to reach agreements in which the development of a specific field is more secure in another university or in cooperation with it.
EE: In your opinion, is there the political will in today’s Estonia to build a new building for the Academy of Arts?
ML: This will has always existed, although not all plans have been in accordance with real needs and opportunities.
EE: In your personal opinion, does the Estonian Academy of Arts need a new building of its own, should this new building be in its former location, and should it be constructed according to the existing project?
ML: A new building is a must. The project has been considerably altered and, as far as I know, an agreement has been reached that the ‘dirty workshops’ should not be in the very city centre, because sawdust, or any other kind of dust, does not really belong in that environment, and there are ideal alternatives. To find a suitable home is certainly the task of the university itself, but various factors must be considered, such as the size of the group using the building and its income, so that the building will not be too expensive. The Ministry is always ready to help analyse choices.
Featured image: Graphic designer Mikk Heinsoo’s logo as a symbol of the process of the new house of the Academy of Arts, its move and being scattered across town.