28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals

20 July 2017

The 28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals will take place in Tartu (Estonia) from 20 to 22 October 2017. This meeting is organized by the European network of cultural journals Eurozine in cooperation with Eurozine partner journal Vikerkaar, the Institute of Social Studies at the University of Tartu and the Estonian cultural organisation SA Kultuurileht. The event is sponsored by the European Union (Creative Europe), Eesti Kultuurkapital, the National Endowment for Democracy, the City of Tartu and the Open Society Initiative for Europe.

More than 100 editors and intellectuals from Europe’s leading cultural journals will participate in the event. Please use the hashtag #eurozineconference2017 when posting to social media about the conference.



Democracy delivered?
Europe between digital salvation and post-truth resignation

Since Eurozine partner journals last met in Estonia, in 2004, to consider the implications of digital technology on politics, society and the media, new internet giants have emerged, and reshaped the communication landscape almost beyond recognition.

This revolution has had a devastating effect on the advertising revenues that once funded journalism and has come to pose unexpected challenges to democracy itself. The new social media companies consciously avoid any commitment to a democratic function – or any of the rules that bind their traditional media forebears. ‘Fake news’ and disinformation are nothing new, but the internet has facilitated their spread: in the ‘click economy’, facts and ethical journalism become anachronisms once publics reject established media – and the journalistic standards they represent – as ‘elitist’ and biased towards the ‘liberal establishment’. Social media platforms and the data harvesting they allow have served to create a new political campaigning tool, one that operates largely beyond regulatory control and has unpredictable impacts on democratic outcomes. In this ‘post-truth’ media environment, the popular response is all too often resignation.

Conversely, the digital revolution also offers new possibilities for the more active involvement of citizens in their societies and democracies, with both governments and civil society becoming increasingly interested in the possibilities of e-government and civic tech. In the media, too, the digital revolution has provided fantastic opportunities for collaboration among media outlets – including journals like those in the Eurozine network – even if much discussion of culture and politics remains stubbornly confined to national silos.

So as Eurozine returns to Estonia for the 28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals in 2017, how do we assess the democratic pros and contras of the digital revolution: does it represent democracy’s salvation or has it delivered up democracy to  the forces of illiberalism? Technology cannot be blamed for all democracy’s ills, for sure, but can it provide the solutions to them? Can the internet be used to foster a European public sphere, and help independent media outlets across Europe raise critical awareness of disinformation and antidemocratic narratives? And what is the role of cultural journals in this European movement: can we use digital media to revive the time-honoured project of a ‘Republic of Letters’? The panels and workshops will seek to answer these questions from a range of theoretical and practical perspectives.


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The Estonian National Museum

The Estonian National Museum Source: Wikimedia

The Estonian National Museum, founded in 1909 in Tartu, displays Estonian ethnography and folk art. The first items for the museum were originally collected in the latter part of the 19th century. The museum shows the history, life and traditions of the Estonian people, presents the culture and history of other Finno-Ugric people and the minorities in Estonia. It has a comprehensive display of traditional Estonian national costumes from all regions.

University of Tartu

The University of Tartu Source: Wikimedia

The University of Tartu was founded in 1632 by the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. It was initially called Academia Dorpatensis. It was modelled on the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and was intended to pursue research and advance learning in a wide variety of disciplines. The University of Tartu (UT) has continued to adhere to this approach throughout the centuries, and remains today the only classical university in Estonia. Research at the university focuses on subjects as diverse as medicine and philosophy, genetics and computer science.



Tartu is a charming small northern European city with quaint restaurants and museums, the university, shopping opportunities, hotels and parks all located within the old city centre.

It is the second largest city of Estonia, following Estonia’s political and financial capital Tallinn, and is often considered the intellectual centre of the country, especially since it is home to the nation’s oldest and most renowned university. The city also houses the Supreme Court of Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Estonian National Museum. It is the birthplace of the Estonian Song Festivals.

Situated 186 km southeast of Tallinn and 245 km northeast of Riga, Tartu lies on the Emajõgi (“Mother river”), which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia. The city is served by Tartu Airport.

You can find a range of practical information on the Tartu tourist information website and the Like A Local Guide. A city map of Tartu can be found here.

Public bus transport in Tartu

You can buy single tickets  for €1.50 from the bus driver directly, or you can buy an electronic pass from a kiosk for €2, which you then load with credit.  The cards automatically give you the cheapest rate: for a single ride (€0.83), a 1-hour ticket (€0.96), a 1-day ticket (€2.11) or a 10-day ticket (€7.03). Be sure to validate your pass once you board the bus.



If there are no direct flights from your destination to Tartu than its best to fly to Tallin and than take the bus to Tartu, it takes about 2,5 hours (detailed information below). Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport is served by Estonian Air, Aeroflot, Air Baltic, Avies, EasyJet, Finnair, FlyBe, Lufthansa, Lot Polish Airlines, Norwegian, Ryanair, UTair, etc.

Another option is to arrive via Riga Airport, which takes about 4,5 hours. The Riga airport is served by Aeroflot, Air Baltic, AMC Airlines, Belavia, Finnair, Lauda Air, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Ryanair, SmartLynx/Latcharter, Transaero, Turkish Airlines, UTair, Uzbekistan Airways, Wizz Air etc. A LuxExpress bus departs from Riga Airport to Tartu at 17:45 and an Ecolines bus at 18:20.

There is also an airport near Tartu (11 km) which is served by FlyBe and Finnair. At the moment, there are regular flights between Helsinki and Tartu six times a week (flight time: 50 minutes). The easiest way to get from Tartu Airport to the centre of Tartu is to use the Airport Shuttle. 



Directly from Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport to Tartu Coach Terminal: 
Buses from Tallinn Airport to Tartu leave hourly, it takes ca. 2,5 hours from Tallin Airport to Tartu bus station. The bus station in Tartu is only walking distance from Hotel Tartu. You can check the schedule and buy tickets online here.

Bus stops are located on floor 0 of the Tallin airport; long-distance buses depart from and arrive at stop 2. Tickets cost approximately €11.00 and can be purchased from a ticket machine in the terminal or from the driver (on the bus, cash only!).

Tartu Taxi numbers:
Tartu Linna Takso: +372 7366 666
Takso 1: +372 7420 000
Rivaal: +372 7422 222
SV Takso: +372 7343 333
Vatex: +372 7366 566
Mercedes Takso: +372 7333 666
Tartu Taksopark: +372 7300 200
Minu Takso: +372 7333 333

Tallinn Taxi numbers:
Linnatakso:      +372 6442 442
Sõbra Takso:   +372 621 5080
Viiking Takso:  +372 6 014 333
Viiking Takso:  +372 6014333

Link to UBER in Tallinn, there is no UBER service in Tartu.


Online registration

While the 28 European Meeting of Cultural Journals is open to the public, it is necessary to register before the end of August 2017 if you intend to attend. Please note that the number of participants at some events (workshops and barcamp) will be limited, so we encourage you to register early if you intend to participate (we will operate a ‘first come, first served’ system, with priority given to network members).

If you are not part of the Eurozine network, please use this form to register.

Eurozine partner journals and associates please register here . 


Nationals of European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) member states, and any third-country national who is a holder of a residence permit of a Schengen state do not need a visa to enter Estonia. If this does not apply to you, please check the website of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about possible restrictions and visa regulations. If you need to apply for a visa and need any help with your application, including an invitation letter, please contact Melina Koumides at m.koumides@eurozine.com who will be happy to provide with whatever documentary support you need to attend the conference.


Hotel Tartu

Address: Soola 3, 51013 Tartu

Tel: +372 731 4300
Email: sales@tartuhotell.ee


We will launch a focal point on the topic of the meeting. Should you want to contribute to this focal point, please contact the Eurozine editors. Contributions may be recently written articles already published in your journal.