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ESCALA acquires 3 artworks by Lucía Pizzani

We are very pleased to say we have acquired three works by Lucía Pizzani from her Impronta Series. Duo#1Duo#2 and Trio#2 are wet collodion photographs on aluminium plates that we first saw at Pinta London where Pizzani participated in Pinta Projects presented by Caracas-based Galería#1.

In recent years we have continued to build up our photograph holdings and to acquire artworks in relation to research and education at the University of Essex. We chose these works not only for what they can teach us about the history of photography but also as a starting point for discussions by staff and students in Anthropology (Sociology), History, Literature and Film Studies.

In December Pizzani won the Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2014 for her series of ink-jet prints derived from the plates. Miranda Gavin, the editor of Hotshoe Magazine described how the work, as “a hybrid of sculpture, performance and photography [and] engages with the idea of the chrysalis on a number of levels, including its physical form through the use of specially-made chrysalis costumes. This series of delicate and slightly bizarre black-and-white images recalls the style of 19th-century Victorian ethnographic portraiture and suggests women on the verge of emerging, as well as ideas of metamorphosis and transformation.”

Some of the Impronta Series is on show at Photofusion in Brixton until 30 January 2015 and you can hear Pizzani talk about the works there on Thursday 15 January 2015 at 7pm. 

Image of Lucia Pizzani's artworkImage of Lucía Pizzani's artworkImage of Lucía Pizzani's artwork

Upcoming Latin American events here at Essex

Image of two IncasHere's an updated list of some of the Latin American related events here at Essex. All are welcome to attend and they're free!

Wednesday 18 February

The Essex Transitional Justice Network, here at the University of Essex, is hosting a lecture on "Transitional Justice in Latin America". The event will take place at the Colchester campus, University of Essex on Wednesday February 18th from 14:00 to 17:00 hours. The speakers will analyse the Transitional Justice processes in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, and Colombia as well as the role of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The lecture is in room 5A.118, Colchester campus. 

Thursday 19 February

As part of the School of Philosophy and Art History seminar series, Dr Sara Gonzalez from the British Academy will speak on 'Inca Caesars: The Eighteenth-Century Inca Revival & Indigenous Political Activism in South America.'  The talk starts at 5pm in room 6.106, Colchester campus.

Wednesday 25 February 

Art Exchange Artist-in-residence Pablo Lugo is hosting printmaking workshops, drawing on Mexico’s long print tradition. During the last decades of the nineteenth century, one of Mexico’s greatest printmakers, José Guadalupe Posada, began to reach a mass audience. During the dictatorship years of Porfirio Díaz’s, Posada’s satirical cartoons appeared in the Mexican popular press, increasing the flow of revolutionary ideas as they revealed discontent with the government of the day. One of his most popular figures were the ‘calaveras’ (skulls) that humorously debunked pomposity while revealing a fractured society. The relation between printing and its distribution to a mass population was an important tool for revolutionary ideals and, of course, a highly successful way of placing art in public spaces. Embedding printmaking in everyday life, join Pablo Lugo and learn how to make prints of your own. Using commonplace objects, Pablo will develop your printmaking skills over three consecutive workshops. The workshop runs from 2.30 - 5.30 and booking in advance is advised. Email to secure your place. 

Ongoing until 21 March

Exhibition at Art Exchange, Colchester campus: Carlos Amorales 'The Man who did all Things'

Exploring questions of concealment and identity, Carlos Amorales works with film, drawing, painting and performance. At Art Exchange we focus on his latest film which follows the contradictory impulses of a man who did all things forbidden. Stylistically strikingly, with strong visual imagery and use of sound, as much is implied as said in this captivating film.

Commissioned for Berlin Biennial 8 in 2014, The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden will be shown for the first time in the UK at Art Exchange.

Carlos Amorales is a Mexican artist who has shown internationally including MUCA in Mexico City, Manifesta 9, Berlin Biennial 8, Tate Modern and Liverpool Biennial.

You can find out more about visiting Art Exchange on their website here.  

CFP: annual University of Essex Art History Graduate conference

Image of baby bottle that says Universal declaration of human rights Social Responsibility and Art Since the 1960s: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Annual Art History Graduate Conference

Dates: Friday 22 May 2015
Location: University of Essex, Colchester campus

Call for papers

This conference seeks to explore artistic and scholarly approaches to social responsibility and the arts since the 1960s. During the 1960s, social responsibility was a pivotal idea in political, social and artistic discussions. The decade was marked by social change. The Civil Rights movement, second-wave feminism, decolonisation, and much civil unrest culminated in the world-wide protests of May 1968, the largest of which occurred in France. In the following decades movements, groups, and artists addressed social responsibility in their practice.

Who is responsible for the content and reaction to art? The artist? The viewer? The sponsor? Social responsibility as an ethical term has routes into the recognition of the world as socially constituted. Aristotle claimed that man was not hermetic, human life is social, political and communication based (Politics, I. §1253a (Lord ed, 2013)). The development of social responsibility can be seen through the impact of ethics in the business world. As a business term, Corporate Social Responsibility is attributed to Howard Bowen who “defined the social responsibilities of ‘businessmen’ as their obligations to ‘pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society’” (Crane et al, 2008: 304; Bowen, 1953: 6).

This conference seeks to consider social responsibility within a wider discourse of art and its role in society. The intention is to challenge singular readings proposing to fix the meaning of social responsibility in art. We welcome papers that consider the following questions: does art need to be accountable to the public? Where does social responsibility for artistic practice lie, with corporations, institutions or artists?

We welcome papers from a wide range of disciplines exploring social responsibility and the arts. We would particularly encourage papers from both within and outside of the traditional canon of art history.

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, we require an abstract not exceeding 300 words and a brief professional biography of 100 words by 16 March 2015. 

Programme and registration

Full details about the programme and registration will be available after the call for papers deadline.

How to get here and accessibility

The conference takes place at our University's campus in Colchester. Colchester is an hour away from London by train. See our information pages for further details about how to get here and campus accessibility:

Image: León Ferrari, Untitled, 2001

Professor Matthias Röhrig Assunção lecture on the Angolan roots of capoeira

Artwork depicting two capoeira dancersProfessor Matthias Röhrig Assunção
The Angolan Roots of Capoeira: Transatlantic Links of a Globalized Performing Art

Monday 9 March 2015, 6.00-7.30pm
Lakeside Theatre (Colchester)

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form practiced around the world combining dance, combat, theatre and music. Professor Assunção explores its Angolan origins, the legendary tale of the Zebra Dance, and the combat games and rituals still found today in Southern Angola, despite the devastation caused by forty years of civil war. What can they teach us about martial arts and cultures of the Black Atlantic?

This lecture is part of the University’s Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series, a programme of special events throughout the year celebrating excellence in research undertaken by our recently appointed professors. Themes explored in this year’s series include literature and media change; social inequality, morbidity and mortality; and the maths of cows (and other animals).

Free admission and open to all. Booking is advised and this can be done through

Image courtesy of Matthias Röhrig

Art based enquiry field trips: visit to Fernando Montes' studio

Image of four people around a table looking at books in an art studioFernando Montes (1930 - 2007), a Bolivian artist from La Paz, donated his painting of the monumental gate of the pre-Inca ruins of Tiahuanaco Sombra de la Luna (Shadow of the Moon) [1998] to ESCALA in 1999. Since then, the Montes family has established a collaborative relationship with the Collection and, by extension, with the University. His widow, Marcela Montes donated, in 2008, two more pieces both titled Family (Familia) [1976-7].

One is a small pencil on paper drawing and the other, a painting on a large canvas. Together, these read as Montes’ creative process from sketch pencil drawing to finalised egg tempera composition. In the last few years, this relationship has strengthened thanks to the work of Teresa Torres, Lecturer from Language and Linguistics, who has been using the collection in her class ‘Spanish and Latin American Art, Film and Music’ (LA457).

Teresa’s students learn Spanish language through studying different aspects of Hispanic culture. One of the projects features an artist from ESCALA, and these last three years the chosen artist has been Fernando Montes. With the help of Dr Joanne Harwood (ESCALA Director) and Dr Sarah Demelo (ESCALA Collections Assistant), Teresa was able to access to material related to his work and to contact Marcela. She was very happy to hear that a group of students from Essex were engaging with Montes’ pieces and was more than happy to answer any question they had regarding her late husband’s work. On Saturday 31 January, Marcela invited Teresa’s students to her house in Wimbledon, London where Montes’ studio has been left intact and many of his early works can be found. Three lucky students, Teresa, and I were welcomed into Marcela’s home. That morning, Juan Enrique Montes, her son, joined us. Over tea and croissants, we had a very absorbing conversation filled with insights of his works global appeal from Paris to Tokyo, his universalist philosophy, and fascination with Andean culture.

All throughout the conversation, Marcela and Juan Enrique stressed the universalist philosophy that underlies Montes’ work. However, we were also revealed that Evo Morales’ (the current president of Bolivia) has an affinity for Montes’ works. In her last visit to Bolivia, Marcela was surprised to find one of her husband’s paintings in Morales’ office. Whilst she highlighted that Montes never had a specific political inclination, she confessed that whilst she did not agree completely with Evo’s policies she cannot deny the incredible cultural shift after Evo’s rise to power. Juan Enrique said, speaking as a London-born individual of Bolivian heritage, that Evo needs to be commended for challenging the power structures in Bolivian society. Marcela agreed elaborating that, no longer is ‘indigenous’ a taboo word, foreign to political discussions, but has entered international preoccupation. Having witnessed the prejudices and discrimination which anyone and anything associated to the ‘indigenous’ faces (both in Andean areas of Bolivia and Peru) I sympathised with what Juan Enrique and Marcela declared.

It was indeed an erudite conversation which, inked by the Montes family humbleness and incredible curiosity for a diverse range of cultures, propelled students to approach different cultures with great carefulness, always recognising our personal biases and limitations.

We would like to thank once again Marcela for welcoming us into her home and Juan Enrique for the engaging guide through his father’s oeuvre. It was a day to remember.

Carlos Amorales in conversation with Dawn Ades

Professor Dawn Ades will join Mexican artist Carlos Amorales in conversation on Wednesday 11 March from 6-7:30pm in the Hexagon, University of Essex, Colchester campus.

Together they will expand on themes raised in his captivating and thought-provoking film, ‘The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden’, currently on show at Art Exchange, while situating the film in the context of Amorales’s wide and varied production.

Please join us for a drink and conversation between an internationally recognised artist with University of Essex Emeritus Professor, Dawn Ades.

Admission Free. Visitor information here

Talk and exhibition organised by Art Exchange.


Carlos Amorales: The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden
Tuesday 10 February 2015 - Saturday 21 March 2015

Exploring questions of concealment and identity, Carlos Amorales works with film, drawing, painting and performance. At Art Exchange we focus on his latest film which follows the contradictory impulses of a man who did all things forbidden. Stylistically strikingly, with strong visual imagery and use of sound, as much is implied as said in this captivating film.

Commissioned for Berlin Biennial 8 in 2014, The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden will be shown for the first time in the UK at Art Exchange.

Carlos Amorales is a Mexican artist who has shown internationally including MUCA in Mexico City, Manifesta 9, Berlin Biennial 8, Tate Modern and Liverpool Biennial.

For more information about visiting Art Exchange, please see their website.

Image: Still from Carlos Amorales' The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden

CFP: Tragic(al) Realism: Contemporary Afterlives of Magical Surrealism at the CAA 2016

Image of Macchi's untitled artwork, a pillowOur former Curatorial Assistant, Dr Andrés Montenegro Rosero, is chairing a panel at the 2016 College Art Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 

The short call reads:

Tragic(al) Realism: Contemporary afterlives of Magical (sur)Realism.

This session investigates how the spectres of surrealism and Magical Realism haunt the production, circulation, and interpretation of contemporary art and visual culture from Latin America. Almost twenty years ago, Gerardo Mosquera’s “Beyond the Fantastic: Contemporary Art Criticism from Latin America” rejected the prevalent understanding of art and culture from Latin America as exotic, magical realist, fantastic and surreal. The edited volume critiqued these tropes as reductive and reflective of Western expectations of how art from Latin America should look like, which role should play in its immediate context, and the terms for its transnational circulation. However, after almost two decades of relative absence, in the last five years there has been a return of these two highly contested methodological frameworks. We invite papers that re-consider the continuities and ruptures between surrealism and Magical Realism in Latin America, while exploring how, and if, they inform contemporary artistic practices from the region.

Please send a preliminary abstract (1-2 double spaced, typed pages), a Letter of Interest, and current CV to:
Dr Andrés David Montenegro Rosero, University College London
Deadline: May 8, 2015

Image: Jorge Macchi, Untitled, 1993

Video with Dr Joanne Harwood talking about what we do

The University of Essex has produced a video with us celebrating our twenty years of collecting artworks and working with staff and students. Dr Joanne Harwood, our Director, talks about our recent exhibition Connecting through Collecting and how ESCALA helps researchers and students from all disciplines at Essex.

Art for everyone at the University of Essex from University of Essex on Vimeo.

CFP: Latin American panels at the College Art Association annual conference

Image of Daniel Senise's artworkWe've compiled a list of the Latin American art focussed sessions at the 2016 College Art Association annual conference.  Proposals are due to the individual session chairs by 8 May 2015.  

Proposals for participation in sessions should be sent directly to the appropriate session chair(s). If a session is cochaired, a copy should be sent to each chair, unless otherwise indicated. Every proposal should include the following five items:
1. Completed session participation proposal form, located at the end of this pdf, or an email with the requested information.
2. Preliminary abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages.
3. Letter explaining speaker’s interest, expertise in the topic, and CAA membership status.
4. CV with home and office mailing addresses, email address, and phone and fax numbers. Include summer address and telephone number, if applicable.
5. Documentation of work when appropriate, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own work.


Jens Baumgarten, Federal University of São Paulo; and Tristan Weddigen, Universität Zürich.
Email: jens.baumgarten@ and

The session addresses the question of colonial art and its appropriation in modernism and contemporary visual culture. Colonial art histories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries largely follow both traditional historiographical and colonial schemes. This session will elucidate specific case studies that can shape new approaches to an iconological analysis of colonial art and its ongoing appropriation. To focus the discussion, the session concentrates on the early modern period in Latin America and its modern and postmodern manifestations and on the topic of sensorial regimes. We call for papers with a transcultural approach that explore the intercultural and local differentiations of the forms and meanings of the Baroque. How are emotions and the sacred interwoven in sensorial regimes? How can transcultural approaches engage with political, religious, gendered, or material aspects of the artifact and its relations to the senses? We also invite methodological and historiographical analyses. The panel is supported by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative.


Helen Ellis, University of California, Los Angeles,

By 1492 Mesoamericans had domesticated maize and many other plants unknown in Europe. Throughout the Age of Exploration Europeans obtained a vast amount of botanical information from Amerindians, ushering in the rise in scientific inquiry and the concomitant development of the natural sciences. A few preliminary questions emerge: Does Precolumbian plant imagery express scientific information? How does sixteenth-century European plant imagery reflect newly obtained knowledge? This session explores how representations of plants in Precolumbian, early modern European, and/or colonial Latin American art express botanical, scientific, and other related knowledge. One goal is to showcase innovative methodological and theoretical approaches to plant imagery study, including those that take a comparative and/or multidisciplinary approach, present little-explored archival research, or examine how materiality (including analysis of pigments, media, or artistic techniques) yields information. Contributions can focus on how those in one society represented plant knowledge or pursue underexplored comparisons between regions or periods.


Ana M. Franco, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá; and Mariola V. Alvarez, Washington College.
Email: and

Since 2001 the development of geometric abstraction in Latin America, especially from Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil, has been the subject of much research in the discipline of art history and of several exhibitions across the United States, Europe, and South America. This tendency, focused on concrete, rational, or scientifically oriented approaches to abstraction, has overlooked abstract art produced in other parts of the region, including Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and the more expressionistic or spiritual variants of postwar abstraction. This session proposes an alternative history of Latin American postwar art by investigating abstraction in understudied countries such as Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, and Cuba and the development of marginal forms of geometric and informal abstraction. We invite papers that address the transnational encounter of artists with French art informel, Spanish Tachismo, American Abstract Expressionism, or their engagement with “primitive” and Precolumbian art.


John F. López, University of Chicago; and Lisa Trever, University of California, Berkeley.
Email: and Ltrever@

The term “Precolumbian,” which describes the periods of the Americas prior to European arrival in the New World, first appeared in academic discourse in the mid-nineteenth century. Alongside the emerging concept of “Latin America,” it was imbued with modern sensibilities of independence, nationalism, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism that bind the ancient New World to the social, political, and cultural theories and events of the Americas and Europe in the nineteenth century. This session will examine the reception and historiography of ancient American forms and subjects in artistic and scientific projects beyond the traditional realms of archaeology and antiquarianism. Topics may include but are not limited to the fine arts, theater, music, fashion, photography, lithography, travelers’ accounts, medical or naturalist inquiry, politics, pedagogy, or world expositions. We invite proposals for papers that address how and why things Precolumbian functioned within visual practices of the nineteenth century.


Katherine Manthorne, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,

Drawing upon inter-American studies, this session examines the cultural presence of Latin Americans in the US from Independence through the Columbian Exposition. It challenges the accepted wisdom that North and South American cultures took their cues from Europe, not from each other. As an art student at Mexico’s Academy of San Carlos, Felipe Santiago Gutiérrez transported lessons from the New World’s oldest academy to San Francisco and New York. Residing in New York City in the 1880s and 1890s, the Cuban poet José Martí impacted US politicians, writers, and artists. The venerable landscapist José María Velasco supervised Mexico’s display in Chicago in 1893. Papers might explore such individual figures; art schools as nexus for hemispheric interactions; artists on US–Latin American scientific surveys; or theoretical implications of Martí’s “Our America.” Collectively they undergird a more nuanced history of art of the Americas and argue that Latin Americans in major US cities provided conduits of aesthetic knowledge that informed and enriched their host’s embryonic art worlds.


Fabiola Martinez, Saint Louis University; and Breanne Robertson, independent scholar.
Email: and breanne@

This panel probes the efficacy of hemispheric ontologies in the study of twentieth-century Latin/American art. Can inter-American perspectives adequately address the power dynamics of a continent marked by racial diversity, and where competing claims of belonging have given shape to national histories? What are the ideological and political implications of an expanded geographical approach? Where and when in the Americas is the discourse of modernism being shaped? Papers may consider any aspect of twentieth-century art in the Western Hemisphere but should aim to highlight underlying conceptual, methodological, or institutional problems that relate to transnational approaches in the study of Latin/American art. Possible topics may include inter-American cultural exchange and appropriation; debates surrounding figuration and abstraction; art-historical periodization and geographical frameworks; the potential for postcolonial and decolonization theory to forge a scholarly discourse beyond value-laden notions like modernism and modernity; and the challenge of uniting novel methodologies with close object-based analysis.


Ilenia Colón Mendoza, University of Central Florida,

This panel focuses on aspects of polychrome sculpture produced in Iberia and Colonial Latin America from 1200 to 1800 that are specifically related to writing and literature. Of interest is the production and technique of polychrome sculpture in wood, wax, and mixed media through the study of treatises and their relationship to the production of sculpture. Research related to primary-source documentation of contracts and patronage is also welcome. Papers may address how mystical writings and liturgical practices influenced image making and how these images were understood in the context of religious pageantry and procession. Contemporary accounts describing sculpture in literature and plays that reveal the social and cultural status of sculpture are also relevant.


Andrés David Montenegro Rosero, University College London,

This session investigates how the specters of Surrealism and Magical Realism haunt the production, circulation, and interpretation of contemporary art and visual culture from Latin America. Almost twenty years ago Gerardo Mosquera’s Beyond the Fantastic: Contemporary Art Criticism from Latin America rejected the prevalent understanding of art and culture from Latin America as exotic, Magical Realist, fantastic, and surreal. The edited volume critiqued these tropes as reductive and reflective of Western expectations of how art from Latin America should look like, which role should play in its immediate context, and the terms for its transnational circulation. However, after almost two decades of relative absence, in the last five years there has been a return of these two highly contested methodological frameworks. We invite papers that reconsider the continuities and ruptures between Surrealism and Magical Realism in Latin America, while exploring how, and if, they inform contemporary artistic practices from the region.

Image: Daniel Senise, Tres Caminos, 1995

Thank you to our interns!

Five people shoulder to shoulder smiling at the camera in front of an artworkOur amazing interns Hannah, Gisselle, Jasmine and Seb have now finished their current projects with ESCALA (although they are still finishing their MA dissertations) and so we asked them what had been the highlights of their internship and how their work with us had helped them with their future career plans. This is what they said:


The highlight of my time with ESCALA has been the opportunity to do what I hope to be doing as a career, working on education initiatives in a museum-setting. I enjoyed having the freedom to research Object-Based Learning and build upon my previous experience working in Education and Curatorial departments in art institutions in the United States. I was happy to be able to lay down part of the foundation from which ESCALA will be able to continue to build. My internship helped solidify my future career plans. 


One highlight of my internship was discovering a number of archive items. In the audio-visual material there was an interview with the argentine artist León Ferrari with former ESCALA curator Gabriela Salgado. This item gives unique insight into the artist’s practice and career. Researchers and those interested in the artist are now able to view this work on the collection’s Vimeo page. Another item, a video, from the Continuum exhibition, showcases work by the leading figures in Brazilian avant-garde and was a really a unique item to have come across in the archive.

Another highlight was visiting the former studio of Colombian artist Ofelia Rodríguez. It was a fascinating experience to see the space in which the artist had worked for many years. I was able to take some photographs of the space which are held in the collection’s archive for the purposes of research. I think that the strengths of the collection has been the collaboration with artists over the years all of which reinforced links between artists, audiences and ESCALA. Ofelia Rodríguez’s work holds an important place in the collection and I felt privileged to have been able to see many of her works first-hand and the space she had worked in over many years.

I now have experience of digitising archival material. Getting an insight into ESCALA’s collection made me realise that many collections hold archives with unique material that need to be preserved for future generations. This made me realise that caring and providing access to archives is incredibly important part of any art collection. I learnt good practice for working in archives such as taking care of individual items and taking the upmost care when handling these items. I am keen to find work where I can continue developing these skills. It was appropriate that I was interning in the ESCALA archive at a time when I was writing and researching on archives and art. I hope to combine my interest in photography, archives and the arts by trying to find work in a photographic archive. 


The highlight of my internship experience has been working with ESCALA’s website, uploading catalogue scans and videos that were found in the archive and linking exhibition information to object pages. I enjoy being a part of providing further research information on the collection for visitors of the website.

My internship with ESCALA has provided me with experience working with a new collections management system MI+ and has allowed me to continue developing my collections management skills. Working with ESCALA was a amazing opportunity for me to gain experience in my field while completing my studies at Essex. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and thanks to my internship with ESCALA I know that continuing to pursue a career in collections management is the right choice for me. 


One of the highlights of my internship has been the multiple field trips to London, all part of the research and delivering of OBL (Object-Based Learning) sessions. Each deserves mention: This year Jasmine and I were in charge of further developing and strengthening the OBL program by liaising with the Human Rights Centre and the Language and Linguistics department. I continued the work which I had carried out last year as a frontrunner by working alongside Teresa Torres and Lexa Olivera-Smith (from Language and Linguistics). This year Teresa chose to continue working with the Bolivian artist, Fernando Montes’ drawings and has opted to implement Peruvian artist Warmi's (Susie Goulder) Chuwas in her teaching for the upcoming academic year. As part of the OBL sessions carried out with Teresa’s intermediate Spanish language class of 2014-15, Teresa, her students and I were able to visit Marcela Montes at her house in Wimbledon. We were joined by Fernando’s son Luis Enrique, who together introduced us to Fernando’s studio, which has been kept intact since his death in 2007 and is now an incredibly enlightening source of knowledge which helps us in the better understanding of his artistic practice. On the other hand, as part of the research carried out for Teresa’s classes next year, I was able to meet Susie Goulder, who goes under the artistic name of ‘Warmi’ meaning ‘woman’ in Quechua, the native Andean language used in South America. Warmi lives with her husband, scholar and specialist in Andean Languages, Paul Goulder. We had a very interesting conversation about the future of art education and culture revaluation in Lima, Peru. I was also able to meet the OBL specialist team at UCL (University College London) and we had the opportunity to talk about the different approaches to OBL in Essex and UCL. Thomas Kador and George Richards welcomed us into the wonderful space of UCL´s art museum which is fundamentally set-up as a space for OBL sessions.

Last but not least, I have to admit that one of the highlights of the year has also been working with the other interns. Hannah, Seb and most especially Jasmine have been a pleasure to work with. Jasmine brought really fresh ideas to the table thanks to her background in the education department of the Getty and the MoCA. I am sure that the incredible work she has produced in order to document our OBL sessions will be incredibly useful for ESCALA for many years to come. I have learnt ever so much from each of them and that ought to be recognised.

The internship has helped me to think more carefully in which section(s) of museums or galleries I feel the most comfortable in. I hope to take my learnings of OBL at ESCALA in a future job with the education team in a museum or gallery based in Lima, Peru, where I come from. If anything, the internship has allowed me to think of art as fundamentally a vital educational tool and source of exchanges of different associations and interpretations of the world as we know it. 

We wish them well on the next stage of their journey and look forward to Hannah and Seb returning in new roles as Documentation Assistant and Curatorial Assistant. 

Display of Mexican prints at Flipside Festival

David Murrieta Flores, a University of Essex Art History PhD student, has curated a small display of Mexican prints from our Collection at FlipSide Festival from 2 - 4 October 2015.

This selection of ESCALA’s wide collection of Mexican artworks intends to sketch one of the country’s most vital, persistent issues: its nationalism. Born in the late 19th century with the drive to modernize Mexico, its ‘outer life’ is commonly known in a static manner through the Revolutionary murals of artists like Diego Rivera, but it is the activity of the country’s ‘inner life’ that comes to the fore in these works, which were possibly made in closer contact with the everyday and therefore represent a mass-communicated myth that is not easily dispelled.

The thread that connects prints from Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary times, to contemporary works, is one that aims to present Mexican nationalism’s mutability – a top-to-bottom cultural device, a historical monolith, a pavement stone thrown at a police barricade, a signal of diversity… the certainty of the country’s nationalist values perhaps holding the key to their precarious status in contemporary Mexican society.

For more information about visiting FlipSide, please see their website here:

Loan of Jorge Macchi's 'Vidas Paralelas' to Berlin

Image of Macchi's artwork, broken glassWe've loaned Jorge Macchi's Vidas paralelas to the exhibition Mirror Images in Art and Medicine at the Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité. Due to the fragility of the artwork, our Collections Assistant, Dr Sarah Demelo, travelled to Berlin to install the artwork in the exhibition.  

The exhibiton is curated by Alessandra Pace, who previously borrowed Macchi's work for her exhibition The Glass Delusion (2011) at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, UK. Pace writes that the exhibition  'showcases artworks, scientific experiments and curiosities related to mirrors, reflecting surfaces, photography and moving images, by means of which artists and neuroscientists alike—each with the instruments of their own discipline — investigate and challenge our sense of location in space and the outer limits of our body.'  Other artists in the exhibition include Carla Guagliardi and Cildo Meireles, who are also in the ESCALA Collection, and Vito Acconci, William Anastasi, Christian Andersson, John Baldessari, Attila Csörgõ, Marta dell’Angelo, Annika Eriksson, Thomas Florschuetz, Adib Fricke, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Dan Graham, Sabina Grasso, Dalibor Martinis, Bjørn Melhus, Richard Rigg, Otavio Schipper/Sergio Krakowski, Vedova Mazzei.

The exhibition opens 13 November 2015 and runs until 3 April 2016. You can find out more about the exhibition on their website here which includes a downloadable leaflet.

Image: Jorge Macchi, Vidas Paralelas, 1993

Two internships for University of Essex students

Person pointing up at an outdoor sculpture, talking to a group of peopleWe're looking for two University of Essex students to work with us through the Frontrunner internship scheme. The two internships are:

Collections Care

The frontrunner will work alongside the Collections Assistant in ESCALA’s main office when training on our digital museum documentation system, MuseumIndex+, and in our new teaching and research space in the Constable Building when training in caring for and documenting artworks in order to upload information to MuseumIndex+. 

Object-Based Learning 

The frontrunner will be able to work alongside the Curatorial Assistant in ESCALA’s archive space and also in the Collection’s new purpose-designed research and teaching space in the Constable Building. Based in the archive, the Frontrunner will have the opportunity to learn how to organise this kind of material, how to research it and how to use it in support of object-based learning.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, please see the Frontrunners website.

The deadline for applications is 23 November at noon.   

Image: Former intern Gisselle discussing Elisa Bracher's untitled sculpture with Essex alumni

ESCALA and Curatorial Studies at the University of Essex

Interested in a career in museums or galleries? We play an important role in the Centre for Curatorial Studies modules here at the University of Essex. Working closely with the students, we share our knowledge of working for a Collection helping them to gain practical experience, employability skills so they can fulfil their future career goals.

We lecture on the modules on such topics as collections care, loans and transport, and project management using our experience of organising exhibitions, from small scale displays to comprehensive surveys such as our recent Connecting through Collecting: 20 Years of Latin American Art at the University of Essex at the Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend.

As part of the MA in Curating, our Collections Assistant supports the students in the organisation of their end of year exhibition through weekly surgeries and practical support during the installation and de-installation. We often loan artworks to the MA students’ end of year exhibitions including the recent:

Milagros de la Torre Under the Black Sun (1993) to Abject Subject (2015)

Aruma-Sandra de Berduccy Efectivo (2010) / Luis Camnitzer Untitled (2004) / Renata Padovan Laic III (2002) to Refractive Distance (2013)

Carla Guagliardi Untitled (1990) to TimeFrame (2011)

León Ferrari Rua (1980-2000) to Structurescapes (2010)

Eduardo Padilha Self-Portrait (1995) to Neopangea (2010)

You can watch a video with the two modules Directors, Dr Gavin Grindon and Dr Michael Tymkiw, speaking about how Essex and ESCALA offer research led teaching and hands on experience when studying Curatorial Studies.

Discover Curatorial Studies at the University of Essex:

Giving Tuesday - Elisa Bracher sculpture

Dr Joanne Harwood’s blog (Director)

We are delighted to celebrate our beautiful and well-loved sculpture by Elisa Bracher today on Giving Tuesday. This untitled work has stood in Wivenhoe Park since 2001 when it was donated to the University by the artist and Galeria Marilia Razuk in São Paulo. Bracher’s untitled sculpture, made from an ethically sourced Brazilian hardwood called ‘angelim,’ has given students, staff and visitors to our Colchester Campus an enormous amount of pleasure over the years as you can see from our Flickr album. Like all artworks in ESCALA, Elisa’s sculpture not only enriches our educational environment, but it also provides opportunities to research, discuss and debate about the role of art and of artists in contemporary society. For example, few would imagine that as well as forging a successful career as a successful artist, Bracher is also Director of Instituto Acaia, a prize-winning charitable organisation in São Paulo that offers socio-educational activities to children, adolescents and families to support their learning and psychological well-being. This project started in 1997 when Bracher invited seven children to her studio to learn joinery and which was formalised as an organisation in 2001. We wish Bracher well with Instituto Acaia and thank her and Galeria Marilia Razuk for giving our staff and students an opportunity to learn about her work.

Dr Sarah Demelo’s blog (Collections Assistant)

The Bracher sculpture requires very little in terms of conservation. We aim to clean it every year by washing it every year with a very mild soap and soft brush. Bracher has stated that the sculpture could either be left in a raw state with a bit of cleaning, which is what we do, or it could be scrapped down and varnished every two years. In fact, the varnish that the artist recommends is usually used on yachts! We found a number of photographs of its original installation (here in a Flickr album) which required a very large crane to install up on the hill beside the (now) Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall. I wasn’t here at the time of its original installation but I would have loved to seen it happen!

Sebastian Bustamante’s blog (Curatorial Assistant)

Elisa Bracher’s Untitled (1999-2000) sculpture towers high: it is ESCALA’s largest, tallest and heaviest work. The monolithic structure complements the brutalist student accommodation towers which mark the landscape of our Colchester Campus. The visual impact of this work makes it a highlight of our guided sculpture tours, which always give us the opportunity to add to our research. Gisselle Giron, an MA student and ESCALA intern, recipient of an Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA)-Silberrad scholarship, and Jasmine Magaña, another of our former interns, led a successful tour in May 2015 for alumni of the School of Philosophy and Art History, adding to our research and making our art accessible to wider audiences. Object-based learning for all who are interested lies at the heart of our work and of our new space, opening in January 2016. This approach combines learning and seeing, as onlookers expand their horizons through use of our artworks, archive, research and expertise. On this ‘Giving Tuesday’ we are thankful to all our supporters, artists, students and colleagues and we remind those with the remotest intrigue in the art which surrounds them on Colchester campus that we can give back by providing unparalleled access to art from Latin America for the community here art Essex and wider community for research, education and innovation.

ESCALA Teaching and Research Space

Picture of the ESCALA Teaching and research space with tables, chairs and artworks in the backgroundSome exciting news from us including details about our new Teaching and Research Space, our new gallery space in the Silberrad Student Centre, Colchester campus, and our Arts Council Accreditation.

ESCALA Teaching and Research Space 

Earlier this year we began a project to create a unique purpose-designed facility for our Collection at the University’s Colchester Campus. Our new ESCALA Teaching and Research Space, in the Constable Building next to Wivenhoe House Hotel, combines a secure, glass-fronted storage space for all of our artworks with a creative space in which students, staff, and members of the public can undertake research and learn about our artworks and our museum work.

We have already tested the space with students from Art History, Philosophy, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities and they are very excited by the facilities, which will be open to all every Wednesday from 13 January 2016 (12 – 4pm, with 2-4 for appointments only).

Our Teaching and Research Space promotes excellence in these areas for all students, staff, and members of the public with an interest in learning about and through our broad and diverse collection of art from Latin America. To help facilitate access to the Collection for audiences of all disciplines and backgrounds, we now have a Curatorial Assistant, who is developing our programme of object-based learning, inspired by research into this area at University College London Museums &Collections.

If you'd like to view photographs of the move and new space, you can view the Flickr album here.

ESCALA Gallery Space

In addition, students, staff and visitors can now also view a selection of artworks in the ESCALA Gallery, in the University’s celebrated new Silberrad Student Centre. The selection links to our teaching on art from Latin America in the School of Philosophy and Art History, where we also contribute to teaching and research by the Centre for Curatorial Studies, especially in the area of collection care and exhibition organisation.

Arts Council Accreditation

Finally we are pleased to announce that Arts Council England have again awarded ESCALA full accredited status. The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for UK museums, including university museums and collections. To qualify, we must meet standards on how we are managed, for the services we offer and on how we care for collection. For our accreditation return we submitted a Forward Plan for 2015-2018 which restates our mission to give unparalleled access to art from Latin America for our students, our staff and the wider community, for research, education and innovation.Our vision, as an international art collection and a unique, interdisciplinary resource, is to continue to develop and support the University’s research profile and distinctive educational offer. By connecting members of our global community with creative environments and with each other, we aim to continue to challenge and expand our understanding of the world.