Women and Independence in Latin America: A New Multimedia Community-Contributed and Community-Driven Online Resource

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Stu


The project aims to stimulate debate and research on women and Independence in Latin America by building on public interest in women's involvement in the Independence Wars, triggered by the bicentenaries, and women's unprecedented presence in Latin American politics today. To do this, an existing static, read-only web site will be developed into an interactive, commmunity-driven and commmunity-contributed resource which will encourage participation and ownership by Latin American women themselves.

The existing web site www.genderlatam.org.uk, resulting from the AHRC-funded project 'Gendering Latin American Independence' (2001-2006), consists of a wealth of data (2300 people, 3900 events, 330 images) which provides an important research tool. Since 2006 it has been widely disseminated across the UK and abroad, mainly in the context of the bicentenaries of Latin American Independence, to academic and general audiences with funds made available by the AHRC (pilot dissemination) and the University of Nottingham (Centre of Advanced Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures). However the web site was built in the early 2000s using the technology available then and, as such, is limited in coverage and above all functionality. The follow-on funding will enable a second stage of development with new technologies to provide new faciltilies to encourage public engagement thus radically strengthening knowledge exchange. The aim is to empower Latin American women so that eventually they can take ownership of the resource thus ensuring long-term sustainability.

To this end target users have been identified in the UK and in Latin America who will work closely with the project team to develop the resource by providing input, testing funcionality, experimenting and piloting. These users are a) Latin American women migrants in the UK who will be actively involved in the project by means of collaboration with the project partner, Latin American Women's Rights Service (London) and b) Latin American women in selected locations in Latin America who will be actively involved by means of collaboration with the second partner, the Women's Museums Network (www.womeninmuseum.net), principally in Buenos Aires. The expectation is to make this a three-way collaboration with LAWRS and the Museums, focusing on the theme of women and Independence in Latin America past and present. The target users sourced by the project partners wil be given password protected access to the developing web resource which will enable them to input, manipulate and interpret data in new ways. They will work with the team members to select and edit materials. The project team will establish a set of community editors (on the Wiki model) and opportunities for contributors to be promoted to editors within their ranks to support the site in future. A flagged and patrolled revisions system will be implemented to oversee the Facebook facility enabling unknown contributors to also participate.

It is enormously important that the activities relating to the development of the new digital resource feed into the educational programmes offered by LAWRS and the museums network which are specially designed to engage with and empower Latin American women. The project activities planned with LAWRS and the museums will form part of a larger framework already in place in the partner organizations which aims to promote debate on gender issues, improve women's rights and opportunities, and encourage learning about opportunities, aspirations and autonomy. The aim is to raise women's awareness of the contribution women made to nation building in Latin America, and the potential for women's political leadership in Latin America today. The users will be given scope to develop the resource in ways that are meaningful to them and will receive training in web skills from the project team. The joint project with LAWRS, entitled Libertadoras, will be captured in a photographic exhibition.

Planned Impact

The potential for global impact of the new online resource (database and website) is immense and will be beneficial in particular to the UK knowledge economy and society. Beneficiaries include academia, third sector and the wider public, but also government agencies such as the diplomatic corps, local authorities in London (eg Brixton and Southwark with large Latin American communitites), the FCO, and other government departments that promote education and international understanding.

The interactive community-driven and community-led mode makes possible academic innovation in the sourcing, accessing and interpretation of knowledge and the framing of different kinds of research questions such as what do Latin American women today know about the Wars of Independence, how can they relate to those events, to what extent might they identify with the women who led the Independence campaigns, how can they recover and express this cultural memory? The resource will be of direct benefit to international and UK researchers and postgraduate across the disciplines, and will enhance academic collaboration with academic, non-academic and community-based partners. This collaboration can be further developed across the UK in future projects supported by Horizon.

The project strongly promotes user engagement through its strategic partnerships with LAWRS and the Women's Museum Network, which will each and jointly encourage user contribution to research activities (knowledge production, debate, comments) and user participation in events (educational, training, skills based and participatory). The resource is a powerful tool that promotes peer networks, sharing, and self-organization among target users such as the LAWRS and Museum participating groups of volunteers. It represents innovation in the dissemination and open-sourcing of materials, and develops new methods to identify research challenges, engage with others, stimulate creativity and dialogue and innovate across boundaries. The activities organized with the project team in LAWRS and the Museo, and the post-award photographic and video exhibition, will provide the main focus of impact generation during the nine months of the award. The collaboration of volunteers, their leadership and stake in the ownership of the resource, will enhance the capacity and sustainability of the digital tool which will continue to create impact in the foreseeable future. This will be measured by Googleanalytics, as it has been to date.

In terms of social benefits, through its public engagement the project will provide cultural enrichment especially for Latin American women migrants in the UK as a group and as individuals around issues of identity, inclusion, well-being and quality of life. It will directly contribute to their education, web skills and research skills training. The exhibition of photographs and videos made around their work during the project will be of direct benefit to the social cohesiveness of these groups and their understanding of the historical significance of Independence. The project will make possible close collaboration between women's groups in the UK and in Latin America leading to cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

The exhibition will engage with Latin American Women in the UK and explore the roles they play within their communities. Through the production of photographic portraits it will address women through the concept of the 'Latin American Libertadoras'. The settings in which each portrait will be taken are the choice of each woman to be photographed and should be a place that has strong meaning and relevance to the concept of 'Women and Liberty'. A short piece of text will accompany the photographs explaining their connection with the location the women selected, which Latin American 'Libertadora' figure inspired them the most and why? The women will discuss what they have gained from their involvement in the project.
Title Empowerment through Art: Photography and Latin American Migrant Girls in London, 2 
Description This is an exhibition of photographic portraits of young Latin American women whose families are migrants living in London. There are 11 portraits and ten accompanying photographs selected from the work of the girls themselves. The exhibition was created, This is an exhibition of photographic portraits of young Latin American women whose families are migrants living in London. There are 11 portraits and ten accompanying photographs selected from the work of the girls themselves. The exhibition was created by Mexican- British photographer Pablo Allison. It is the outcome of collaboration between the University of Nottingham and the Latin American Women's Rights Service (LAWRS). LAWRS is a charity dedicated to helping Latin American women in the UK 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Showing of the exhibition at City Hall London during world cup 2014 with a launch reception of 200 people and an introduction by the Deputy Mayor. Subsequent interest for showings in Nottingham and Oxford and at the El Salvador Embassy, London. 
Description Findings from an AHRC academic research project can inform social & cultural policy, support cultural organizations, charities and local government, and learn from them in turn. The project can have beneficial impact for many people outside academia in ways that were unforeseen at the time of application. It can also lead to spin-offs in other fields of research, notably digital technology. It can be very satisfying but takes a lot of time and effort to bring to fruition.
Exploitation Route The findings have been taken forward by the creative economy sector, in the form of photographic exhibitions in London and Manchester, and by the digital economy sector, in the form of a new app and other digital projects with NFT. They have also benefited a local council.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.genderlatam.org.uk
Description They have been used in work with the charity Latin American Women's Rights Service leading to a project with young women of Latin American migrant families in London involving photography and drama workshops; three photography exhibitions in Manchester, Southwark Council offices and City Hall London, and scheduled for showings in Nottingham, London and Oxford; digital technology experimentation with NFC and a new app; work with school children using the app and the webpage; translations workshops with students in Argentina; collaboration with the Women's Museum in Argentina on the topic of women and Independence in Latin America; work with Southwark Council involving the Latin American community and council employees; collaboration with Latin American embassies and diplomatic missions in UK. The placement at Southwark resulting from the award has been continued in a one year PT placement with the Southwark Community Engagement team starting April 2018 until April 2019. This placement to work with the Latin American communities in the borough is funded by the AHRC OWRI CLDRC project which builds on the contacts made in the earlier award.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

Description Southwark
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Better understanding of Latin American community in London and better liaison between council and community.
Description Women and Independence in Latin America. A new multimedia community-conrtibuted and community-driven online resource
Amount £94,000 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/J013757/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 02/2013
Title Database and image bank providing brief biographical details of Latin American women who undertook pro-independence activities during the period 1790-1850 
Description Women and Latin American Independence: 2300 people, 3900 events, 330 images, 300 locations, with details of individual women, biographies, writings, public and private culture, social neytworks, group activities, associated places, commemorations. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2006 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The database has been used as to create an app developed by the Horizon Digital Economy Institute at Nottingham University which has been trialled in several locations by Dr Laura Carletti, including among school children and as part of a larger research project at Nottingham on the visualization of data. 
URL http://www.genderlatam.org.uk
Description Collaboration with Latin American Women's Rights Service 
Organisation Latin American Women's Rights Service
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A long and fruitful collaboration with LAWRS in the form of: photographic and drama workshops for young Latin American women of migrant families in London; photographic and video exhibition of portraits of the women and of their won photographs; training and skills workshops (IT expertise, photography, drama and research); the creation and staging of a play 'Razones por las que luchar' (at LAWRS AGM and at the Institute for the Americas, UCL) based on research into Latin American independence. Also visit of the girls and their youth worker to Nottingham University as part of the Widening participation programme. In addition, English language classes for older migrant women and discussions of Latin American history; visit to Parliament for migrant women.
Start Year 2012
Description Collaboration with Womens Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Organisation Museum of Women
Country Mexico 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Intensive two-month on-site collaboration in the form of a programme of events and activities hosted at the Museum on the theme of Latin American Independence and women's independence. The programme consisted of: workshops, 2 plays by semi professional actors, an exhibition by local artists, an international conference, talks and guided visits. These were attended by local women, students, professionals and academics.
Start Year 2012
Description Southwark Council 
Organisation Southwark Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A new partnership between Southwark Council, the University of Nottingham Horizon Hub and the School of Cultures Languages and Area Studies. The partnership involved: Southwark hosting a photographic exhibition Empowerment through Art. Photography and Latin American Migrant Girls in London at its offices in Tooley Street, and Nottingham academic Maria Thomas (RA) organized with Southwark Council's Community Involvement Project Worker, Helen Laker, a series of Language Exchange meetings between local community groups, Latin Americans and council workers. Southwark will also be involved in the piloting of the app designed by the Horizon Hub,
Start Year 2012
Description 'The role of women in the independence movements'. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact FCO Seminar Bolivar in London 1810: A Celebration of Simon Bolivar's mission in Britain.

Continued collaboration with conference speakers and with FCO.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
Description Gendering Latin America website and database 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact British Library Presentation to ACLAIIR of Gendering Latin America website and database.

A presentation to librarians in ACLAIIR at the BL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
URL http://www.genderlatam.org.uk
Description Retratos de Independencia, Portraits of Independence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Documentary Photography Exhibition at New Art Exchange Nottingham attended by varied public over four week period.

Launch attended by Peruvian Ambassador and varied public from cultural organizations and academic institutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
Description Social Media 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact There are currently 192 'friends' on the Facebook page which consist mainly of women's organizations across the world. The twitter and pinterest accounts have also been of use. Two exceptional categories of users have come to the fore unexpectedly: volunteer translators from the across the world, mainly high school students from Argentina, who have translated and corrected the database entries from English into Spanish (prizes were awarded to the most active); volunteers who have actively participated in the project's online activities such as the poetry competition on the theme of Women and Latin American Independence (prizes were awarded to the three best poems as judged by a panel).

The social media has created widespread global interest in the project. PI was contacted from many countries, mainly in Latin America, and google analytics show intense interest in USA, Europe and Latin America.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
URL http://www.genderlatam.org.uk