Multidimensional Dialogues: Entangling the Americas’ Pasts, Presents and Futures CRASSH Research Network 2022-2023 seeking to introduce a set of topical and thematic approaches to Archaeology by targeting Science, Technology, and the Arts programming. Our trans-hemispheric framework will enable increased diversity of opinions, widen participation, and help discussants rethink studies of the Americas’ past, present and future.
Cambridge researchers have an invested interest in all geographic reaches of the Americas with many temporal foci that matter beyond a particular space-time. Our distinct interdisciplinary approach fosters original thinking about North and South America, two macro-geographic and conceptual places that are too often divided or distanced from one another, and we launch this research network at an unparalleled time in the study of the Americas with increasing calls for more accurate and responsive analyses of non-European epistemologies that come from the descendants of Indigenous and mixed-heritage communities.
We envision that Multidimensional Dialogues will help lead academics and museum professionals in a productive discourse that engages in disrupting colonial and neo-colonial legacies that linger in the present, re-writing narratives, rethinking the roots of imperialism, slavery and economic inequalities on a global scale.
To this regard, we promote critical thinking about three grand dimensions of Americas research: the Past, Present and Future, but critically add a fourth framing dimension called ‘Action’. Highlighting this last dimension will open up conversations on the realm of advocacy and impact. Our encourages an engagement with descendant communities, Heritage research, and public education. In doing so, we expect to provide spaces for the sharing and discussion of insights and ideas pertaining to legacies and lessons from the Americas’ pre-colonial, early-modern pasts and up to the present day, as well as environmental and cultural legacies across times and geographies.
The Multidimensional Dialogues Research Network will be an exciting expansion of Americas-based scholarly endeavours in Cambridge. We welcome anyone interested in these topics to join us this year in dialoguing about all aspects of the Americas’ past, presents and futures.
We will hold a series of speaker presentations, art exhibitions and cultural events throughout the 2022-23. Please contact Camila Alday with questions.
You can also learn more about our events via the Programme 2022-23 Multidimensional Dialogues tab, connecting with us via our Twitter page, or learning more from the Cambridge Archaeology department’s website.
- Camila Alday (PhD Student, Department of Archaeology)
- Oliver Antczak (PhD Student, Department of Archaeology)
- Joshua Fitzgerald (Rubinoff JRF, Churchill College, Department of History/Art History)
- Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas (Senior Curator of World Archeology at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology)
- Jasmine Vieri (PhD Student, Department of Archaeology)
Camila Alday is an archaeologist specialising in bast fibres and weaving technologies of Pre-Columbian South America. Camila is also interested in understanding how containers – mostly made of plants, and basketry were critical material culture for past human societies. Camila has received her BA in Anthropology with a major in Archaeology at University of Tarapaca, in northern Chile. She recently finished her PhD at Cambridge University. In her doctoral research, she studied bast fibre materials to understand how the production of nets, looped bags, mats and other fibre materials underpinned maritime subsistence strategies during the Andean Preceramic Period (10,000 – 3,500 BP).
Oliver Antczak is a Venezuelan and Polish anthropologist and archaeologist interested in the intersection between heritage and identity, particularly in the Caribbean. He received his B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Leiden University College (2016) and an MPhil in Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies, at the University of Cambridge (2018). His current PhD research, supported by the ESRC and Gates Cambridge, focuses on understanding how heritage is used in the resurgence and maintenance of Indigenous identities in the Southern Caribbean, and his work is currently focusing on a collaborative and comparative approach to Trinidad, Margarita, and Bonaire.
Joshua Fitzgerald is the 2020-24 Rubinoff Junior Research Fellow in ‘art as a source of knowledge’ (Churchill College) researching the material culture of Mexico. As a trained ethnohistorian in Nahuatl Studies, Joshua has expertise in the archaeology, art and architecture, and cultural history of Mesoamerica. In 2019, he received his PhD (History) and Museum Studies certification from the University of Oregon, and has contributed as a content specialist with several museums, including the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Getty Research Institute. His research has been sponsored by several foundations in the U.S., Mexico and U.K., and, in Cambridge, he has enjoyed educating about all aspects of Mesoamerican and Colonial Latin American culture, from the Spanish Conquest in video games to Nahua sacred food-art. Joshua hopes his research projects and supervisions with Cambridge students will help foster the recovery of neglected voices and perspectives from the past to better our future.
Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas is Senior Curator of World Archeology at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. She has a BA in Anthropology and History from the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia and a MA in History from the same university. She completed her PhD at the University of Bristol and before coming to Cambridge, she was a Lecturer and Curator of Archeology at the Museum Centre of the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia. She is interested in working with material culture from historical periods in Spanish America looking at the interaction between indigenous people, Africans and Europeans. Her research spans the history and archeology of colonialism, practices of resistance, the continuity and change of pre-Columbian technological traditions, postcolonial theory, and sensory responses to the Encounter. More recently, her research has focused on the study of metallurgy in the Americas during the colonial period. She has also worked extensively on museums and cultural heritage. She is particularly interested in giving source communities a leading voice within the narratives that are created for displays and learning experiences. She is interested in research projects that address issues on the histories of collections, past technologies, provenance, the life of objects and repatriation.
Jasmine Vieri is a PhD student at the Department of Archaeology in Cambridge. Her research interests include materials science and computational analysis in archaeology, particularly in relation to examining relationships between humans, their environments, material culture, and technologies – as well as the development of sustainable approaches to re-using legacy data in archaeology to produce large-scale, cross-comparative analysis. Her PhD research, funded by the AHRC, focuses on collating and synthesising the chemical compositions of pre-Columbian gold and copper alloys, with a focus on present-day Colombia, but extending into the area encompassing the Southern Central Andes to present-day Mexico. In order to seek and explain temporal and regional patterning in metallurgical practices, her work explores the role of culture, environmental constraints/affordances, and the selection of technological performance properties in alloy selection.
- Elizabeth DeMarrais (Associate Professor in Archaeology; Senior Postgraduate Tutor, Churchill College; Director of Studies, Churchill and Murray Edwards Colleges, University of Cambridge)
- Hank Gonzalez (Assistant Professor in Caribbean History; Department of History; Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge)
Programme 2022 - 2023
Michaelmas Term 2022
Theme: Ecologies, environments and the eco-relationships: lessons from the Americas
| Palaeoecologies, past, environments and nature: pre-Columbian South America|
4 Oct 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Jose Iriarte (Exeter), David Beresford-Jones (Cambridge)
| POSTPONED: Indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge|
18 Oct 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Federico Navarrete (Cambridge), Narciso Barrera-Bassols (México)
| POSTPONED Looking at the future: what we can learn from the Americas|
1 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Nataly Cañales (Copenhagen), Joy Porter (Hull)
| Indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge|
8 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Federico Navarrete (Cambridge), Narciso Barrera-Bassols (México)
| Art exhibition | Entangled in art-ecologies: environmental aesthetics of the Americas|
29 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
| Looking at the future: what we can learn from the Americas|
6 Dec 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Nataly Cañales (Copenhagen), Joy Porter (Hull)
Lent Term 2023
Theme: Sensory Overload: Soundscapes, Scents, and Visions that Criss-Crossed the Americas
| Seminar I: Induction|
18 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, McDonald Institute, Seminar room, Dept. of Archaeology
Members of the network
| Seminar II: Past. Echoes of the Past|
31 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Seminar room S1, first floor, ARB, 7 West Road
Dianne Scullin (Bristol), Miriam A. Kolar (Stanford)
| Seminar III: Present. Recovering scents and lingering tastes|
15 Feb 2023 16:30 - 18:30, McDonald Institute, Seminar room, Dept. of Archaeology
Celine Erauw (Bruxelles), Christina Gish Hill (Iowa)
| Seminar IV: Future. Archaeologies in sight|
28 Feb 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Seminar room S1, first floor, ARB, 7 West Road
Élodie Dupey García (México)
| Seminar V: Action. Articulating the senses|
15 Mar 2023 16:30 - 18:30, McDonald Institute, Seminar room, Dept. of Archaeology
Elizabeth DeMarrais (Cambridge), Elizabeth Baquedano (UCL), John Robb (Cambridge)
Call for art
Entangled in art-ecologies: environmental aesthetics of the Americas
Dear Artists and Creatives!
We are excited to extend the deadline for our Call for Artists for the Multidimensional Dialogues Art Exhibition: ‘Entangled in Art-Ecologies: Environmental Aesthetics of the Americas.’ Please see the attached description and submit your work of art by November 21 to be featured on our CRASSH site and enter the running for the Community Choice Award!
Some of our applicants have been asked to open or log into their Google account to participate in the process, which is unavoidable when uploading files. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. Should you prefer to avoid this step, please fill out the attached .PDF of our submission form and send it and an attached image of your artwork directly to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to follow all listed guidelines, thank you.
We look forward to seeing your creations!
Once submitted, please join us on November 29 for the Art Exhibition open night. We will be joined in-person by Dr Sarah Demelo Curator of Art and Special Collections for the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), who will showcase the work of Carolina Caycedo, namely her reflections on the crucial connection between resources and communities of Colombian, Brazilian, and Mexican in her Serpent River Book (2017). Helping us explore the themes of this term’s meetings, the 72-page, accordion-folding artbook combines the artist’s interpretation of archival images, literature, poetry, geography and her own images and texts about riverine biodiversity and cross-cultural experiences. This is a unique, hands-on encounter with the Serpent River Book for our participants, but the meeting will be livestreamed in a hybrid format. Please register for the Zoom or join us at the Alison Richards Building at 17:00 on Tuesday 29 November.
Come be a part of the dialogue!
The theme of the exhibition is:
Ecologies, environments and eco-relationships: lessons from the Americas
It is relevant to today’s concerns to reflect on the ways that humans have been and will continue to dialogue with natural and cultural landscapes. Through a digital exhibition, the MD team seeks to encourage our audience to think of art as a means to re-create and re-write alternative worlds as a powerful pathway to rethinking the Americas’ pasts, presents, and futures. Featured artworks will bridge eco-relationships and deeply-rooted knowledges about the environment to help our audience better understand how art defies traditional narratives of the Americas, their past and present people and how artistry strengthens connections between scientific and Indigenous knowledges.
The exhibition will highlight themes entangled in but not limited to the following questions:
- How can art help to identify the ways that pre-industrial, precolonial, colonial, and modern communities of the Americas have affected and transformed their surroundings?
- Can artists translate heritage and archaeology to help address the present concerns over the forests, waterways, and soil of the Americas?
- What ecological futures or dystopias might creatives envision when reflecting on ancient cultivates, cultivators, and exploiters of the Americas?
Deadline for proposals: Monday 21 November 2022
As well as the launch the online exhibition, there will be an installation and audience ‘hands-on’ encounter with Carolina Caycedo’s Serpent River Book (2017) in the atrium of the Alison Richard Building.
Invited speaker Sarah Demelo (Curator: ESCALA, Art and Special Collections; University of Essex) will provide comments on the work.