Timo Maran

Centre for Semiotic Applications

Centre for Semiotic Applications at the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics in Tartu University was established in June 2022.  

Semiotics, also known as the study of sign processes, can be very beneficial everywhere in society, culture and nature where communication, meaning making and interpretation takes place. Semiotics can give an insight to the causes of misjudgement; provide methods to map contacts and conflicts within cross-species communication in cities; explain how meanings form and change when one cultural text is transformed into another (for example a novel is adopted into a comic book); provide a useful analyse for brand communication by explaining how different audiences interpret cultural signs and symbols.  

As the World is becoming more connected the significance of communication increases. It means the field of subjects where semiotics can be applied is also becoming more and more diversified. Centre for Semiotic Applications aims to promote the research and methods of semiotic applications and their practical use in the society.  
In more detail the centre: 

  • conducts analysis that offer solutions for complex cultural, social and environmental problems, 

  • offers expertise and consultations, 

  • develops learning materials and offers training materials to students and adults, 

  • participates in the work experience program of the Department of Semiotics, 

  • introduces and promotes semiotic applications to public, 

  • aims at visibility and collaboration in the international field of semiotic application.  

The Department of Semiotics has an extensive experience with semiotic application projects. Our semioticians have offered their expertise to Police to determine whether a poster or slogan is intentionally provoking antagonism. The department has collaborated with Estonian Defence Force investigating information manipulation. Our bio semioticians have researched local community's opinions regarding species reintroduction (more specifically European mink) in Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. Transmedia research group has developed digital educational platform for high school students and teachers that is aimed at integrating cultural heritage with every day (digital) cultural experience. In 2016 the department took part in organising Semiofest, the main worldwide conference series and event on commercial semiotics, in Tallinn. 


Tartu Ülikooli semiootika osakonnal on pikk kogemus semiootika rakendusprojektidega. Näiteks on semiootikud aidanud mitmel juhul politseil selgitada, kas mõni loosung või plakat on vaenu õhutav. Samuti on tehtud koostööd Kaitseväega vaenuliku infomõjutustegevuse uurimisel. Semiootikud on uurinud kohalike elanike arvamusi kaitsealuste liikide taasasustamise projektides (euroopa naaritsa näitel). Semiootika osakonna transmeedia uurimisrühm on välja töötanud mitmeid teaduspõhiseid digitaalseid õppevahendeid, mis aitavad kasutada populaarseid Eesti filme koolide õppetöös. 2016. aastal võeti osa rahvusvahelise kommertssemiootika konverentsi “Semiofest” korraldusest Tallinnas. Vastloodud semiootika rakenduskeskus laiendab ja edendab neid semiootika rakenduslikke tegevusi.


Rules of Attraction: A Workshop on Desire and Normativity

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