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Research & Learning

Meeting Margins (2008)

Meeting Margins is a research project funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by Professor Valerie Fraser (School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex) in collaboration with TrAIN (Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation, at the University of the Art London). It proposed a new approach to the study of post-WWII art from Latin America, challenging the role of New York as the dominant force in modern art in this period. Investigation focussed on artistic encounters between Europe and Latin America, as well as intra-Latin American exchanges. Using selected case studies from ESCALA, Meeting Margins ultimately aimed to investigate the artistic exchanges between Latin America and Europe, setting forth a reading of the US as a facilitator (rather than a dominant force) in avant-garde activity of the period from 1950 to 1978.

Meeting Margins 


Arts & Humanities Research Council

The University of Arts, London

Latin American Art and the UK (2007-2008)

Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art and the UK: history, historiography, specificityFunded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this year-long project is a preliminary investigation into the presence and critical reception of art and artists from Latin America in the UK from the 1960s to the present. Through the study of specific UK-based initiatives including exhibitions, publications, and the development of academic courses, the project examines the role of the UK in generating an Anglophone body of knowledge on art from Latin America and identifies local curatorial trends and theoretical particularities in the field.This research project has exposed an unexpectedly rich vein of material relating to the Latin American art in the UK and suggests that what previously appeared to be more or less isolated examples of interest in the field are perhaps be better understood as part of a more sustained and deep-rooted enthusiasm born of shared and often anti-hegemonic concerns.You can find further details about the research project here.


Latin American Art and the UK, 1960s to the present, is the focus for a symposium at the University of Essex on Saturday 26 April, bringing together both emerging and leading scholars in this field. The symposium is the culmination of a research project, Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art and the UK: history, historiography, specificity (LAUK). Speakers include:

Michael Asbury (Senior Research Fellow, University of the Arts London)

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado (Curator, Jersey City Museum)

Isabel Plante (Ph.D. candidate, Universidad de Buenos Aires)

Guy Brett (independent writer and curator)

Joanne Harwood (Assistant Director, University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art)

Oriana Baddeley (Director of Research Camberwell College of Art, Co-Director TrAIN)

Dawn Ades (Professor, University of Essex)

Valerie Fraser (Principal Investigator, Latin American Art in the UK Project)

Isobel Whitelegg and Taína Caragol (Senior Researcher and Research Officer, Latin American Art in the

UK Project)

Jaime Gili, Ana Laura López, Eduardo Padilha, and Ofelia Rodríguez, Latin American artists resident in London

The event will culminate with a reception to launch a limited edition of prints by Jaime Gili, commissioned by the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art (UECLAA). Live music will be provided by London-based, Venezuelan singer Luzmira Zerpa.

This event is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Department of Art History and Theory, the Latin American Centre and the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art.

UECLAA Online (2002 - 2005)

UECLAA Online is an AHRB Resource Enhancement Grant (£330,000) awarded to Professor Valerie Fraser in the Department of Art History and Theory to digitise the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art and create an online catalogue.


Valerie Fraser, Project Director

Joanne Harwood, Senior Research Officer

Elissandro Jordão, Database Developer

Isobel Whitelegg, Bid Developer

Gabriela Salgado, Project Director

Chris Townson, Website Developer

Surrealism and its Legacies (2002 - 2007)

Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies

AHRC research centre grant awarded to co-Directors Professor Dawn Ades (University of Essex), Professor David Lomas (University of Manchester), and Dr Jennifer Mundy (Tate) for an initial five-year period. Today it continues to function owing to its success in attracting competitive research funding. ESCALA worked with Centre and with firstsite on a residency at the University Gallery (now Art Exchange) by Argentinean artist Jorge Macchi and composer Edgardo Rudnitzky. This collaboration led to the creation of two new installations: The Singer’s room and Twilight. The latter was displayed in the University Gallery at University of Essex whilst the former in the Minories Gallery at Colchester Town.

Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies

Journal of Surrealism and the Americas

Centre de Recherches sur le Surréalisme

Jorge Orta: Life Nexus (2001)

A Wellcome Trust funded project awarded to Professor Valerie Fraser, School of Philosophy and Art History, and Professor Nelson Fernández, Department of Biological Sciences, and with the support of the firstsite and Colchester Borough Council.

Life Nexus is an evolving inter-disciplinary project combining art, science and philosophy by process of co-creation on an international scale. It demonstrates Jorge Orta’s belief that art’s relationship with society should be challenged and investigated. He believes that art must serve as a bond and that the artist’s job is to link us together. To this end, this project focuses on the human heart at both a literal and a metaphorical level: as a human organ – raising public awareness of scientific issues such as organ donation and transplantation and as a metaphor – in the caring sense of ‘have a heart’, in relation to empathy and feelings.

The research project was accompanied by the exhibition Life Nexus in the UK: A Question of Heart at the University Gallery, University of Essex from 2 October - 27 October 2001.