'Great Latin American Women'. Follow-on Funding for 'The Billiken Magazine Centenary Project'

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Sch of Language and Culture

Abstract

The Great Latin American Women project follows on from The Billiken Magazine Centenary Project: Children's Literature and Childhood in Argentina, 1919-2019 (AHRC Leadership Fellowship with Billiken's publisher, Editorial Atlántida, as project partner). Billiken has been published continuously in Argentina for a hundred years and had historic circulation in many Latin American countries. A pioneer of what is now called 'edutainment', for decades it influenced Argentine schooling as teachers would set homework based on the magazine's educational content. The research findings of the original archival project included an analysis of the traditional representations of gender roles throughout the history of the magazine, coupled with the long-standing focus on Great Men (independence heroes, politicians, scientists) as role models for boy readers (the magazine's 'men of tomorrow'). In response to this, the PI worked alongside Billiken, leading an international team of creative industries professionals, to create the illustrated children's book, 100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas [100 Great Latin American Women], as the flagship commemorative product for the Billiken centenary, signalling a new era for the magazine with a new, more inclusive, narrative. This book showcases the diversity of experience of Latin America's leading women from the pre-conquest to the present day, and their contributions to fields including politics, human rights, sport, the arts, science, engineering and conservation. The Follow-on project will extend the reach and impact of this book by supporting the development of freely available audio-visual and digital educational resources based on the lives and achievements of the women featured in the book, for use both inside and outside of the classroom. The educational resources will promote knowledge of historical women who played key roles in nation-building and subsequent political events to encourage greater integration of these women's histories into national curricula. The visibility of today's leading women will be increased by developing material in line with the contemporary Great Women's diverse spheres of influence. The short animated films developed as part of this project will tell twenty of the Great Women's stories in a fun way as the entertainment-focussed companion to the educational resources. The funding will also support engagement activities with key stakeholders in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay: teachers, through training workshops and children, through 'Great Latin American Women' art workshops. The project coincides with Billiken entering a new phase as it consolidates its identity as a multiplatform children's content producer. The support of the Follow-on Funding will ensure that the Great Women project takes centre stage in this new era. In the long-term, the project is a pathway to impact on national curricula throughout Latin America with the ultimate goal of contributing to the advancement of gender equality in the region.

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