4 Jul 2023 17:30 - 19:00 The Chapel, Churchill College, Storey's Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DS



The Multidimensional Dialogues Research Network and Americas Archaeology Group


  • Camila Alday Mamani (Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
  • Oliver Antczak (PhD candidate, Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
  •  Joshua Fitzgerald (Rubinoff Junior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge)
  • Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas (Senior Curator, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
  • Chike Pilgrim (PhD candidate, Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
  • Jasmine Vieri (Archaeology, University of Cambridge)


  • Armandina Almanza Gutierrez (President, Cambridge University Mexican Society)
  • Sarah-Jane Harknett  ((External) Head of Public Engagement, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
  • Paola Rabelo ((External) Director, Escuelita Cambridge)
  • Valerie Ross (Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College)

Event speaker/performer

  • Christopher García (composer/educator)


The Multicoloured and Melodious Dimensions of the Americas: Music, Colour and Craft Playshop July 2023 welcomes internationally recognised artist and ethnomusicologist Christopher García for a moving workshop featuring instruments and musical performances resonating with Mexico’s heritage. A life-long advocate for musicology about Mesoamerica and Indigenous traditions, García will introduce participants to several instruments to incite interest in the history of art, archaeology, and ethnolinguistics of the Americas. The workshop is part of the Multidimensional Dialogues research network programming with Cambridge Research Arts Social Studies and Humanities (CRASSH).

The event is free and open to the public and will take place at Churchill College in the Chapel.

Please register now, spaces are limited.

Supported by:

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


The presentation will be mostly in English, with some portions in Spanish and Nahuatl. 


Welcome and introductions 


Presentation begins 


• Takeawat: every person, every place, every thought, every thing has a resonance 

Xopan Cuicatl 

• Spoken word poem From Cantares Mexicanos (16th cent. Nahuatl songbook) 

“I am playing my huehuetl, 

Estoy tocando mi huehuetl, 

I who hunt for songs to awaken and fire our friends 

whose hearts lie listless, 

Yo, que cazo canciones para despertar e inspirar a nuestros amigos 

cuyos corazones yacen apáticos, 

for whom the day does not yet breathe 

Para quienes el día aún no respira, 

for those who sleep in comas, 

para aquellos que duermen en coma, 

for those who glory in gloomy night when 

the flowering dawn already sings her song 

para aquellos que se glorían en la noche sombría, 

cuando el amanecer floreciente ya canta su canción, 

and when once again morn lightens the place 

where the huehuetls play……….”’ 

y cuando una vez más la mañana ilumina el lugar 

donde tocan los huehuetls ……… .. ” 


• Tlapan Huehuetl Solo 


• Traditional music 

A Scattering Of Jades 

• Poem 

• Song 

Mayan Childrens Song 

• Song 


• The Percussion Instruments 

• Ayacaxtli 

• Ayotapalkatl 

• Chililitli 

• Tlapan 

• Tepo 

• Tetl 


Flor Cancion De Mexica 

El Vientre De La Tierra 

Ruminiation En La Casa De Negrida 


• The Breath Instruments 

• Atecocolli 

• Chichtli 

• Huilacapiztli 

• Tlapitzalli 


The Universal Pulse 

Yo Soy 


Question and answer session 


Closing reception on the Green 




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 world-renowned ethnomusicologist and 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