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Celebrating Latin America in Bristol

'Making music in Cuba': Holly Holden (UK) and Alain García Artola (Cuba) in conversation on Thursday 14 March as part of Semana Cultural

'Making music in Cuba': Holly Holden (UK) and Alain García Artola (Cuba) in conversation on Thursday 14 March as part of Semana Cultural

Press release issued: 4 March 2013

A three-month celebration of Latin American culture in Bristol, organised by the University of Bristol, begins next Thursday [7 March] with a week of artistic events open to the public.

Semana Cultural (Cultural Week) will feature performances, talks and dance workshops from an eclectic selection of resident Bristol artists, writers, activists and academics.  These include singers in indigenous Andean languages, esteemed Argentine and Chilean poets who have considerable reputations in their home countries and are now writing from Bristol, and classical musicians interpreting Latin American musical styles such as tango, bossa nova and samba.

There will also be talks by experienced NGO workers who have worked with marginalized communities in Latin America, and by Michael Jacobs, author of The Robber of Memories, tales of his adventures travelling along the Río Magdalena in Colombia.

The events are run by Bristol's Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies as part of a project which aims to strengthen cross-cultural links among Latin Americans in Bristol and stimulate a deeper awareness of Latin American culture within the city's already diverse population.

The number of Latin Americans in Bristol has grown in recent years and the researchers see a need to respond by launching an initiative that promotes knowledge and understanding of the diversity of Latin American culture within the city.

They will create a website where Latin Americans can recount their personal testimonies and provide details of their businesses, art courses, workshops, concerts and any other areas of interest.  They will also be holding meetings across Bristol with interest groups and organising a festival of Latin American culture.

In addition, the researchers will curate collections of Latin American travel writing, literature and history for Bristol's cultural centres and exhibit the findings of the project through events at Stanfords Travel and Maps, one of Bristol's few bookshops with a specific Latin American section, and as part of a national Latin American Culture month later in the year.  The history of travel routes between Bristol and Latin America is an underlying theme of the project which further supports the Department's general academic interests, for example, in the making of the modern world and British-Latin American relations.  The researchers also hope to engage with some of the evolving environmental concerns throughout the continent such as tropical deglaciation and deforestation.

The project is supported by the University of Bristol, the Arts & Humanities Research Council's 'Cultural Engagement Fund', Stanfords Travel and Maps and Bristol City Council.

The AHRC’s Cultural Engagement Fund helps recently completed PhD students in the arts and humanities undertake three-month projects which not only support valuable collaboration between universities and cultural organisations, but also provide early career researchers with opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, particularly in relation to supporting the wider impact of arts and humanities research.

'Semana Cultural' runs from Thursday 7 March to Friday 15 March at the University of Bristol, 15 - 17 Woodland Road.  Public access is via 3-5 Woodland Road, then follow the signs. Further information on events.

Michael Jacobs presents his book, The Robber of Memories on Thursday 21 March at 7pm, at Stanfords, 29 Corn Street.  Event includes music, food & wine.

Further information

Please contact Rupert Medd for further information.
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