Absence, Presence, Distance

At the end of January ’14, the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts hosted its fourth international Winter School at Tallinn University. The event, entitled Absence, Presence, Distance: Ways of Seeing the Past, featured such prominent speakers as Zymunt Bauman (Leeds), Mieke Bal (Amsterdam), Victor Buchli (UCL), Francois Hartog (EHESS, Paris), and Miri Rubin (QM London) amongst others.

In addition to public lectures, film screenings and multi-media exhibitions, this winter school included student seminars and workshops, guided visits throughout the city’s medieval and post-industrial landmarks as well as some fine dinning and plenty of drink.

Over 120 postgraduate students were involved in a week’s worth of discussion intended on revisiting the traditional distinction between absence and presence. They discussed and debated how far from an object or event we need to be to see it clearly. And they considered what it actually means for something or someone to be situated in historicity — located, either singularly or simultaneously, in the past, the present and the future.

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