Master of Arts in Graphic Design
Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn EE
The Master of Arts (MA) in Graphic Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) is a new two year, English language program intended to develop a student’s practice and define their position as a graphic designer. The program takes an expanded view of graphic design, seeing it as a form of knowledge production whose role can be understood as a way of ‘making things public.’ This idea is supported by providing opportunities for students to work through both traditional models of graphic design—books, websites, posters, typefaces, videos—but also to publish texts, organize exhibitions, host lectures, teach workshops, and create other contexts for exchange during their studies.
The program places the interests and concerns of the student at the centre of studies—through the making of a body of work which considers their relationship to form, content, production, and the distribution of information. While this will identify itself differently for each student, what they will share in common is a form of practice which is self-reflective, process oriented, collaborative, and one which consistently holds an honest position in response to the fluctuating conditions of work as a graphic designer. Students will actively question the medium as a whole, consider its ability to engage meaningfully in social and cultural contexts, work collectively with each other, practice new ways of expressing form, and contribute to the contemporary development of the discipline.
The curriculum is structured to provide students the time, space, resources, and conversations in producing a body of work which frames their practice. This work is always supported by a teaching staff of actively practicing designers, and invited guests who give workshops, lectures, and critiques. The first year of the Graphic Design MA is facilitated by prompts which engage students to question and reflect upon their work. The second year asks that students come to define their work and practices as a whole. Students are expected to discuss their progress at the end of each semester, and outline their intentions for how to continue into the next academic term. Parallel to this will include topic specific courses which change each year, investigating and responding to contemporary issues, methods and ideas in graphic design.
In the first year, each student is asked to question their practice, interests, and intentions as a designer through the active process of making new work. This is facilitated by prompts and projects intended to encourage critical investigation, hands-on making, and iterative working. The core course components are:
The program is organized around a studio model wherein practice is developed through formal investigations and applied projects. These can start from a combination of either prompts by the teachers, commissioned projects, or self-initiated work from the students. Regardless of the starting point, the work must be iterative, critical, and contribute towards the forming of a body of work. All work is supervised by weekly meetings either with the staff or visiting critics.
During the second semester for seven weeks, the program will relocate to Berlin, Germany, supported by a teaching staff of local designers. The Erasmus mobility program has approved a stipend for all students to cover travel and accommodation costs.
The theory course will support all practical studio work. Throughout the semester, students will meet with a theory teacher who will assign readings, lead discussions, organize lectures, and host screenings. The role of the theory teacher is to help students contextualize their work, position themselves in the contemporary world, and facilitate research that may eventually lead to their thesis.
As the first year progresses, these course components fold into one another, so that no work is done without the integration and support of the other. The work produced in the first year is intended to be reflected on, and students will be asked to find connections between their projects to serve as a starting point for defining their work in the second year.
In the second year, students will begin to define their own projects and research towards a final thesis, with the ongoing support of a thesis advisor. In the third semester, students are required to choose electives (from the faculties of Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, and Art & Culture) which support this work, while the fourth and final semester is dedicated entirely to completing the thesis submission and graduation exhibition.
The thesis is understood as a cohesive body of work, organized from a collection of projects developed over the two years of study. It will present what your work is about and how you position yourself as a graphic designer. The final submission will take the form of a book, which must include a formal written thesis and the body of work that supports it.
Upon successful completion of the two years of study and submission of a final thesis, students will graduate with a Master of Arts in Graphic Design.
Rosen Eveleigh, Tutor
Sara Kaaman, Tutor
Ott Kagovere, Tutor
Else Lagerspetz, MA Coordinator
Lieven Lahaye, Tutor
Julia Novitch, Tutor
Sandra Nuut, Tutor
Laura Pappa, Tutor
Manuel Raeder, Tutor
Margit Säde, Critic
Ivar Sakk, Critic
Indrek Sirkel, Tutor
Sean Yendrys, Head of MA Curriculum
Visiting teachers 2021–2022
Åbäke, Jungmyung Lee, Josse Pyl, Santiago da Silva, Kaisa Sööt, Linda van Deursen
Invited critics 2021–2022
Linnéa Bake & Donna Donnerberg (soft power), Marc Hollenstein, Valentinas Klimašauskas, Kaisa Lassinaro, Siddhartha Lokanandi, Meg Miller, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Robertas Narkus, Brit Pavelson, Shubhangi Singh, Inga Zimprich
Visiting teachers 2020–2021
Bart de Baets, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, James Langdon, Siddhartha Lokanandi, Hanna Nilsson & Rasmus Svensson (PWR), Julia Novitch
Invited critics 2020–2021
Johannes Breyer, Christoph Knoth, Marc Hollenstein, Kaisa Sööt
First year (2021–2023)
Carlo Canún (MX), Rita Davis (BR), Mark Foss (US), Michael Fowler (CA), Oliver Long (UK), Alexandra Margetic (AU), Gréta Þorkelsdóttir (IS), Patrick Zavadskis (EE)
Second year (2020–2022)
Alejandro Bellón Ample (ES), Louise Borinski (DE), Aleksandrs Breže (LV), Paula Buškevica (LV), Björn Giesecke (DE), Otso Peräsaari (FI), Diandra Rebase (EE), Katarina Sarap (EE)
Each student is given a dedicated workspace located in the MA studio of the Graphic Design department at EKA. The studio is equipped with an A3 black & white laser printer, A3 risograph printer, and high-speed internet. Students are expected to have their own personal computer. Access is given to EKA workshops, including screen printing, letterpress, 3D printing, ceramics, prototyping lab, and a woodshop. The studio and workshops are part of the newly completed (in 2018) Estonian Academy of Arts building, which additionally includes a library and contemporary art gallery. Students have the opportunity to attend public lectures and events organized by other departments and programs in EKA, including from Contemporary Art and Curating, Art History and Visual Culture, Architecture and Urban Studies, and Interaction, Digital and Product Design, among others.
Application candidates for the MA in Graphic Design program are expected to be self-motivated, able to work independently, question and further develop their practice, and show concern for issues and ideas which engage social, cultural and political contexts. Those who have studied a discipline outside of graphic design are encouraged to apply, but are expected to have an aptitude for critical inquiry and the ability to engage with design ideas at a high level. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree.
Application period: 1 February – 1 March 2022
Application deadline: 1 March 2022, midnight EET
Applications will be reviewed in early March, and selected candidates will be invited for an interview with the staff of the Graphic Design department. Interviews will take place on in mid-March, where applicants will have a conversation about their work and expectations of the program. Due to the ongoing pandemic, all interviews will take place online. Each year, 8–10 students will be admitted.
— Must hold a bachelor’s degree
— Be proficient in both spoken and written English: TOEFL ITP 543 points, TOEFL iBT 72 points, IELTS 5,5 points and other tests
— Digital PDF format, maximum 60 Mb
— Include 10–15 projects, with each project supported by a selection of 4–6 images and a 50-word description
— This can include a mix of professional commissions, self-initiated work, BA projects, unrealized and in-progress work, or anything which might be relevant for consideration
— If including video work, use still-frames for the PDF, with an external link to the video
Letter of Motivation
— 500 words
— Include background, interests, influences, and the current direction of your work
— Identify the reasons for pursuing an MA in Graphic Design, expectations of the program, and intended use of the two years of study
— Maximum 2 pages in length
Applications for 2022/23 intake are now closed.
Please check again in the autumn for the next admissions dates.
EKA GD MA tries to make all lectures where possible (and with
permission granted) either streamed live or recorded and archived for
public viewing. This currently takes place through two formats:
The open faculty lectures are organized and hosted in collaboration
with the larger Design Faculty of the Estonian Academy of Arts,
presenting lectures (at an irregular interval) by visiting teaching
staff of the MA in Graphic Design. These are viewable from the
EKA TV website: tv.artun.ee/ekagd.
Graphic Design Confabulations
A series of speakers taking an oblique look onto graphic design and
its outlines in order to re-think, destabilize or decenter its
normative structures and practices. By prioritising that which has
taken place in the margins, ephemerally, despite oppression and in
dissent, we will seek to widen the circumference of design practice.
To see where else design has and can happen; how social and political
movements have manifested in visual cultures; and ultimately to
develop a sense of self-reflexivity toward our own privileges and
Graphic Design Confabulatons is a new free online public lecture series presented by the MA in Graphic Design program at the Estonian Academy of Arts, curated by Rosen Eveleigh, and partly supported by the CIRRUS Nordic-Baltic Network of Art and Design Education and Nordplus. All lectures are streamed on the GD Confabulations page, confabulations.eka-gd-ma.ee.
For more information about applying to the MA in Graphic Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Estonian Academy of Arts
Department of Graphic Design
Põhja pst 7, 10412
Visit: Graphic Design MA at the Estonian Academy of Arts