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Rait Rosin

  • Art and Design
  • PHD
  • Social Art as the Source for Changing Social Norms: Artists’ and Art Viewers’ Expectations in Estonian Small Towns
  • Tutor: Raivo Kelomees PhD, Margus Vihalem PhD
  • 230 pp. : ill. : 24 cm

The increasing interest in Estonian art scenes outside of Tallinn necessitates careful and critical discussion. Rait Rosin’s PhD dissertation investigates regional gallery spaces and local people attitudes toward art activities in their communities. The reader will have a better grasp of Estonia’s diversified creative scene and society-driven cultural shifts. The comparison provides an overview of the precision of the regional differentiations of the six Estonian small towns: Paldiski, Haapsalu, Valga, Võru, Rapla, and Rakvere by comparing the various regional characters and as well six local art galleries. In comparison, the audience of town galleries and artist interviews demonstrate how each party sees local art. The research looks into Estonian small-town initiatives to communicate with small towns, parallels and examples of artists activities, who had exhibitions in local galleries during the years 2010–2017.

The author of the thesis interprets the artistic expressions of the participants as acts of cultural communication of the centre and the periphery polarities. Nonetheless, because the expectations of small towns have to implement for their organised events, the contribution of artists is calculated based on their effect on the surrounding areas. On the one hand, the dissertation is a reflection of Rait Rosin’s own artistic practice while he depict themes for the artworks, while also analysing his own position as artist researcher. Dissertation In the other hand, is classified as discourse, with engaged art as one of the socially active solutions. According to the philosophers such as John Dewey, Jacques Rancière and others, local interest and activity-binding solutions may assist artists. As a result, the local cultural scene may have established a field of meaning construction that aids to integrate various groups into the community. The PhD thesis focuses on local people waiting for artists and visiting artists’ assessments of Estonian small-towns in creative chores and art creation, often due to a lack of expert criticism and the location of the art.

Interventsionist street action series “Swerve!” in Paldiski, in Valga and in Rapla

Interventionist street action on Paldiski streets in 2017
Video of the interventionist street action on Valga streets “Swerve in Valgka!”, 2018
Video of the interventionist street action on Rapla streets “Swerving on the High Speed Train”, 2019

Exhibition views and artworks

Painting “The Northern Port” 180 cm x 135 cm, oil on linen, 2017 (Exhibition “The Undeveloped Gallery”, Valga Museum Gallery, 2017
View of the exhibition “The Undeveloped Gallery”, Valga Museum Gallery, 2017
Photo print on acrylic “The Bordertown Valgka” 95 cm 140 cm, 2018 (Exhibition “Small Town as an Event vol 1”, Valga Museum Gallery, 2018
View of the exhibition “Small Town as an Event vol 1”, Valga Museum Gallery, 2018
Painting “Home alone” 140 cm x 182 cm, oil on linen, 2019 (Exhibition “Small Town as Identity vol 1”)
View of the exhibition “Small Town as Identity vol 1”, The Rapla Country Centre for Contemporary Art, 2019
Still images of the first video documentary on interviews with artists “The Undeveloped Gallery”

Links to the web resources for more info

  1. Artists interviews video documentary “The Undeveloped Gallery” on Youtube:
  2. Artists interviews video documentary “Small Town as an Event” on Youtube:
  3. Artists interviews video documentary “Small Town as Identity” on Youtube:

More info about the series “Swerve!” you may find on artist’ website:

Interventionist street action in Paldiski was part of the festival “Apocalypse Now”. More info about the festival is on website:

More detailled inroduction of the artistic research:

The announcement in Estonian Research Information System (18.01.2022, ETIS):