23 Apr 2023 10:00 - 13:00 Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ


This April event is only for Escuelita children and their educators.


The Multidimensional Dialogues Research Network and Americas Archaeology Group


At no point in our history has it been so important to learn from the Americas’ past because of how its traditions play a part in diversifying our future. Seeking to inspire the study of art, music, and craft production from the ancient past up to the present, the 2023 Multicoloured and Melodious Dimensions of the Americas: Music, Colour and Craft Playshop encourages playful discovery and immersive learning opportunities for an underserved community in Cambridge: Escuelita Cambridge. Drawing together archaeologists, historians, linguists, and Heritage Studies specialists alongside developing Spanish-language learners from Escuelita, this two-part workshop will feature, first, a hands-on study of objects, Indigenous colours, and traditional instruments from the collections of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which will highlight the significance of senses and phenomenology for the students. Then, for part two in June, co-convenors welcome a public performance sponsored by CRASSH, Language Science Public Engagement to feature a world-renowned ethnomusicologists and musicians who will explore themes from archaeology and living traditions of the Americas.

Aims of the event

The combined aim of the two-parts of the workshop will help demonstrate:

  • How archaeology, art history, and history are informed by language
  • Experiential learning as a gateway to developing future researcher
  • The value of public cultural programming and academic research in sensorial studies of the Americas

Long-term goals

  • Setting the stage for an annual engagement/outreach event
  • Fostering participation between CRASSH, CLAS, MAA and McDonald Institute members with the wider community
  • Inspiring cultural heritage studies of Latin America
  • Furthering the academic priorities of CRASSH


  • Part one: Event report, photographs, student artwork and experience survey comments featured on the CRASSH website
  • Part two: Musical performance to inspire and educate budding musicians, archaeologists, and historians

Supported by:

CRASSH grey logo

If you have specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.


Today, Spanish-language learners in Cambridge have surprisingly few academic activities that highlight archaeology, history, and art history of the Americas. The proposed “playshop,” or play- and performance-based workshop, seeks to broaden public engagement and diversify educational opportunities by catalysing sense-based studies of Latin America through linguistics and archaeology. It targets learners with Escuelita Cambridge, a language retention and development group for Spanish learners. The co-convenors consist of a team of researchers—founders of the Multidimensional Dialogues (MD) CRASSH research network—based in departments across the University: History, Archaeology, and Art History and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). Seeking to bridge our latest findings with language studies and future researchers, we take this first step in public engagement to serve an underserved group in the community. We will incite participants to deepen their study of language through musical, visual, and material heritage of the Americas because we feel active learning helps concepts resonate in participants’ memories. We are supported by several external partners.

The Multicoloured and Melodious Dimensions of the Americas: Music, Colour, and Craft Playshop will excite interest in Americas research and Spanish-language by collaborating with Escuelita Cambridge, a community of Spanish language learners in Cambridge. It features a playful workshop in Spanish filled with Latin American heritage studies relating to the senses, co-convened by the interdisciplinary Multidimensional Dialogues research network which is invested in the study of archaeology, history, and art history. Our hands-on guided activities and live musical performance will stimulate young learners and their curricula to enliven linguistics and to catalyse new educational outcomes.

Our project introduces Latin-American traditional musical instruments (objects in the MAA Teaching Series collection), colour terminologies, and performances by a Chilean world-renowned musician to Escuelita Spanish learners. It will enliven learning and language acquisition via uniquely fun and stimulating activities. Escuelita Cambridge educators will expand and reinforce their curricular units. Their students will encounter new Spanish terms and concepts, explore Latin-American objects and archaeology, and discuss artwork and music from across the Americas. Leveraging the leading research on colours, sounds, and craft, co-convenors will teach in Spanish with hands-on experiences to encourage creation of participant artwork and written reflections.

Co-convenors will use participant observation throughout to help collect student reactions during activities. A survey will be carried out at the end of the playshop. Children will be encouraged to express their conclusions in the form of a poem, paint or draw an image, or otherwise describe the 3D objects, colours and sounds they will encounter. These creations will be shared at Escuelita and featured on the CRASSH Workshop website. Collected response data and two follow-up meetings with Escuelita’s educators will help us track Spanish acquisition and effectiveness of the session for curricular design.

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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk