Viljandi Culture Academy as the promoter of the region
Regional institutions of higher education have an important role not only in education and research policy, but also in the social-economic development of the whole region and shaping its long-term strategies.
The impact of the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy on creative specialities is expressed in the use of traditional technologies in national handicraft (textile, wood, metal), in synthesising traditional and rhythm music, implementation of specialised theatre model in performing arts. Culture Academy builds bridges both between the creator and the audience, and the student and the teacher. Viljandi Culture Academy was the first in the Estonian education system to implement compulsory entrepreneurship education in all specialities. Around one third of the students who have passed entrepreneurship education have become entrepreneurs or shareholders in a company after finishing their studies, many are active in NGOs. This is one of the reasons why we can speak about smart specialisation in creative industry in the case of Viljandi.
Estonian Traditional Music Center is probably the greatest and the most unique regional trademark which would not have been born without the synergy created by the Cultural Academy. The most popular event organised by the Centre is Viljandi Folk Music Festival, which is gaining international renown. The University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy has an important role in promoting creative industry and the sphere of culture not only in Viljandimaa, but also in the whole Estonia.
Culture Academy’s direct contribution to the region are its jobs that require high qualification, providing competence in the creative sphere, helping organise cultural events in the region, participating in the preparation of development plans.
Generalising the example of the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy, it may be said that regional universities can be considered units with a significant meaning that have intra-regional and cross-regional mutual interaction and networking which, under skilful administration, bring out the best possibilities for the development of economy, education and, first of all, regional policy.